There Are Good Dogs and There are Bad Dogs



The Hand That Feeds You opens with a scene so grisly and disturbing that the rest of the book hangs under its shadow . . . and the fact that dogs might be responsible-- and good dogs at that-- makes it even worse . . . but this is one of those psychological thrillers where nothing is at it seems, and I highly recommend it if you are looking for one last fast summer read; even the author-- A.J. Rich-- is a facade for something more complicated . . . I learned the story in this New York Times review: the name is a pseudonym, and the book was collaboratively written by acclaimed short-story writer Amy Hempel and her friend, novelist Jill Ciment . . . that's the "A" and the "J" in the pseudonym, and the name "Rich" is in honor of their friend Katherine Russell Rich, who had an idea for a thriller based on what happened with a man she had been dating who proposed to her . . . she grew suspicious of him, paid someone to hack his e-mail, and she found out that he had several other lives-- he was living with another woman, and seeing several others on the side . . . so she broke up with him and started a novel with a similarly deceptive sociopath as the main character, but never got past the first chapter, she died of breast cancer soon after . . . so Amy Hempel and Jill Ciment took the ball and ran with it, and the result is a crisp, taut, disturbing story that may or may not be something dog lovers would enjoy, but the lesson is this, which the band Camper van Beethoven pointed out many years ago: there are good guys and there are bad guys/ and there are crooks and criminals/ and there are doctors and there are lawyers/ and there are folks like you and me . . . and the same goes for dogs.



3 comments:

zman said...

That back story is sufficiently interesting for me to read the book, despite the fact that the reviewer's favorite novel is Moby Dick.

Clarence said...

I can recommend the Camper Van Beethoven song.

Slouching Beast said...

zman, what's your beef with moby dick? whales, cannibals, harpoons, peg-legs . . . what's not to love?

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