Verdict: New Leash on Life is a fun, action-packed story with twists that will appeal to an audience of ten to fourteen-year olds, especially if they love dogs.
New Leash on Life is the tale of Lieutenant Spencer Watley, a good, albeit cranky cop who, after a surveillance case that goes awry, ends up reincarnated as his police dog. His new assignment is fourteen-year old Justin Andrews, who is recovering from an accident caused by the car chase events that ended Spencer’s life. Now the two, with the help from some old and new friends, must bring the case to a close.
Along the way, both Justin and Spencer discover that they aren’t the only two
with painful memories and regret in their lives. They also realize that they
aren’t the only ones who have been given second chances.
Author Erna Mueller has written a touching and humorous mystery with themes of family, forgiveness and redemption. Though the story wanes at times, there are several well-written action scenes and confrontations in which tough cop Spencer spouts some facetious and funny comebacks as a cop and a dog. The relationship between Spencer and Justin is also well portrayed, revealing how the growing bond between them also heals their wounds, bringing Spencer to empathic and Justin to move forward after his mother’s death. Though most of these themes are effectively conveyed, at times the messages are a little too obvious or cliché and detract from the overall tone of the story; for example when Spencer’s father is talking to him: “Words are as strong as Swords… knives that stab at the heart. How cruel we can sometimes be.”
Though the inconsistent editing to show the shift in time and place can be confusing at times, for the most part the writing is clean and tight. Mueller’s does a fine job of weaving together the stories of the two characters, and presents nice twists along the way. Mueller’s descriptions are fresh: “Pine cleaner pristine and bleached sterile, the place was as comforting as a root canal.”
New Leash on Life is a fun, action-packed story with twists that will appeal to an audience of ten to fourteen-year olds, especially if they love dogs.
Reviewed by Maya Fleischmann for IndieReader
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