Thursday 2 July 2015

Monty and Me by Louisa Bennet Chapter 1 plus review!

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Today I am luck enough to be part of the Monty and Me Blog Tour. Not only do I have a review for you, but I also have an extract from the first chapter! Here's the blurb...

The first book introducing loveable dog detective Monty!

You might think that dogs can’t understand us…but you’d be wrong. Apart from an obsession with cheese, Monty is a perfectly rational animal. So when his beloved master is stabbed to death, Monty decides to use his formidable nose to track the killer down.

Luckily he manages to find a home with Rose Sidebottom, the young policewoman who’s investigating the case. But with her colleagues turning against her, and the wrong man collared, she’s going to need a little help…

And now, for your delectation, the exclusive extract! My review is below if you want to see what I thought!

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Chapter One
bound from the car and, nose to the ground, zig-zag around the front lawn of my new home. I hoover up downy feathers that stick to my wet nose and I sneeze, sending the feathers flying. As a pup, I once tore a cushion to shreds searching for the duck inside. I found loads of feathers but never found the duck. I’m still searching. Can’t be that many naked ducks about.
‘So, what do you think?’ Rose asks, smiling.
What do I think? I think those bitter white tablets the vet gave me were worth it after all. I can’t feel my stitches and my paws seem to float above the grass as if I’m dreaming. I run over to Rose, tail wagging like windscreen wipers in a downpour, and lick her hand. After being cooped up in a cage at the vet’s, I need the wind in my fur, big time. So I charge up and down, leaning into each turn like a motorcycle at Brands Hatch, almost tripping over a faded wooden sign on the over-grown grass that once welcomed visitors to Duckdown Cottage. It even has a white duck painted on it.
I bolt down the side of the house to where the duck droppings are so potent it’s like fireworks going off in my head.
Monty!’ she calls. ‘Leave the ducks alone.’
She can’t be serious! Duck and pheasant retrieval is what I’m bred for. It’s a calling.
I go into selective hearing mode and charge for the pond, revelling in the glorious combination of mud, poultry poo and stagnant water. It’s the canine equivalent of Chanel No. 5. Most of the quack-pack sit serenely in the shade of a willow. A matronly mallard leads them in meditation.
‘Om shanti,’ the mallard intones.
‘Om shanti,’ they reply.
The others snooze, plump bodies balanced on one of their twig-like legs, eyes closed. It’s too much. I can’t resist. Time for a bit of duck toppling!
I charge at them, plumed tail held high like the battle flag of an invading army, and bark with excitement. The ducks panic, running around in circles, then scatter. Some head for the water, others bolt across the lawn, wings back. Before Rose can grab my collar, I dive for the pond, water splashing over me, cool and exhilarating.
Monty, stop! Your stitches!’
Mouth open, I pounce on a black and white tufted dowager and come up with her in my jaws.
‘Get off me, you slobbering fur-ball!’ she quacks and kicks me in the muzzle.
I can’t tell this squirming mass of feathers and webbed feet that I’m not going to hurt her, because I’ll drop her if I do. Sodden but proud, I trot out of the pond and deposit the ruffled bird, unhurt, at Rose’s feet. A gift. I am expecting praise, ears up, long pink tongue dangling, mouth turned up in what the big’uns – that’s our term for people – often think of as a smile.
‘Bad dog!’ she scolds, trying to catch her breath.
The duck quacks out ‘Tosser!’ as she waddles off, a little wobbly.
I watch her go, my ears flat, head lowered, tail tucked in, confused by Rose’s reaction. Not the duck’s. They never take it well.
‘This isn’t going to work if you eat the ducks. You have to leave them alone, Monty,’ she says, wagging her finger.

Review: This book was something totally unique for me! It felt like a children's book about talking animals and a police detective/mystery book for adults has been thrown into a blender together and this is what came out. I wasn't sure if I was going to like it at first but once i got through the first little chunk, I think I did like it! If you really can't suspend you disbelief that animals can talk and think and read and generally behave like humans, then this book definitely won't be for you. If you do think that your pets genuinely know what you're saying though, then you'll definitely get as into it as I did. 

I was worried that the mystery aspect of this book would be a little too much for me. I don't read a lot of crime fiction or mystery novels because I normally struggle to follow them, but because this book had sections told from the point of view of the police office (Rose) and then sections told from the dog's (Monty) perspective, it broke it up nicely and wasn't too mystery mystery or too much about he world of crime. I really liked the way the book was broke up in this way and, as well as the crime solving that went on, there were some really funny moments in the book too!

I liked the character of Rose, she is fairly insecure but trying to make it in her dream job, held back slightly by the fact that it is a man's world and also by the fact that she has family in the force, therefore she is thought to have got the job through nepotism! I defy anybody not to like Monty, he is just an ace character to read about and some of the moments with him are really touching as well as being totally believable and funny!

This is definitely a unique book, at some points where the dog was having a conversation with a lady bird or managing to break into someone's laptop, I did struggle a little bit to take it all in and remind myself that I was reading an adult book and not a children's book but I think the fact that I do read a bit of YA and middle grade because of my job really helped there. I think this is a nice, light hearted read which would be great for those transitioning from YA to adult books or those wanting to read something from the crime genre that is not too intense. 

Thanks again to Louisa for stopping by the blog today and sharing chapter one with all your lovely readers!

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