Dizzy, I admit, is not the world's smartest dog. He has some important dog skills, such as keeping track of how many biscuits I have in my pocket, and detecting feral cat poop at 20 yards. He can also hear (or smell) a peanut butter jar opening from about half a mile away. But he is not a problem-solver, his vocabulary is fairly small, and when the apocalypse comes, I fear I will not be able to rely on him to hunt for us.
So when I left him with family for more than a month, I was not sure he'd remember me when I got back -- or that he would remember me as his owner, and want to go away with me. Dogs don't wear watches or keep track of calendars; what's their sense of time?
I need not have worried. Dizzy was very glad to see me, and did not leave my side once I'd gotten to the Beas'. (He cries when I leave the room, even to go to the bathroom. My sister Peggy says that if he were a child, he'd need to be in therapy -- and that's probably true, but it's also very flattering to be the center of another creature's existence.
Dizzy wasn't glad to leave the Beas', though, and didn't want to get into the Beetle once I'd packed it up. He loves short car rides, as they're usually to the river, the park or to visit friends; suitcases mean a long trip, where I yell at traffic, and he hates that.
I got him from people who found him on a highway shoulder, so that may have something to do with it, too; he is afraid of car headlights at night, teenaged boys, skateboarders, umbrellas, and clowns. He used to be afraid of men with beards, but seems to be over that. He was about five months old when I got him, and when he has nightmares, I wonder what he's remembering.
He remembered Gardiner. About 20 miles from home, he started to get very excited, and he was thrilled when we pulled into our parking lot. Since we got home he has had joyful reunions with his two best dog friends in the neighborhood, and now it's just as if we had never left at all.
But I still wonder if he thinks about Clancy and Patches and the Beas, and he must miss their backyard, with all the squirrels.
What I Read This Week
This is actually what I read last week, because I've read almost nothing not work-related since Bouchercon began. (Declan Hughes made the comment on a Sunday morning panel -- how ironic it is that during a conference devoted to books, one has no time for reading.)
Frankie Y. Bailey, YOU SHOULD HAVE DIED ON MONDAY. Frankie was one of the panelists at the session I moderated -- on social issues in crime fiction -- and I'm so glad, because otherwise I never would have discovered this series. Criminal justice professor Lizzie Stuart searches for her mother, who abandoned her as an infant, and finds a tangled history of violence and murder in 1960s Chicago. Emotionally complex without a trace of sentiment; if anything, I'd have liked it to be longer.
Mark T. Sullivan, TRIPLE CROSS. I got a very early copy of this thriller, which won't be out until next year. At an exclusive Montana ski resort, the world's wealthiest people gather to celebrate New Year's Eve. A group of commandos takes over the compound and starts putting the business titans on trial for crimes against humanity. The head of security, badly wounded, makes it out alive - but his three children are still in the compound, hiding from the invaders. This is going to be a huge movie for someone.
Stuart Archer Cohen, THE ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC. A political thriller set in the very near future, in which a small group of radical patriots determine to take government back from corrupt corporate overlords by any means necessary. This book is at least 75 pages too long and annoyed me more than once, but the power of the story is undeniable, and I finished the book thinking of at least half a dozen people I'd recommend it to.