Verdict: K-9 COP is creatively imaginative and different, and an atypical police detective tale which high-lights themes of friendship, trust, adventure and the bonds of family in a fun, mystery setting.
Bright and inquisitive Justin Andrews and his sister Vicky still grieve for their mother after her untimely death, and having an absentee, workaholic father makes their adjustment more difficult. When Justin receives a dog for his birthday, he soon realizes his dog is anything but ordinary and their connection is anything but explainable: Justin can hear his dog’s thoughts, and his dog is trying to solve a police case.
Police detective Spencer Watley and his K-9 companion Pepper are repeatedly foiled in their attempts to crack the Cyber Killers case. Meanwhile, a Seattle-based toymaker is about to release its newest toy, Robo Pooch, a robotic dog, but Spencer learns it is equipped with a device which will zap the buyers’ money out of their account and into an off-shore bank. Spencer never gets a chance to make an arrest and at the same time, across town, Justin and his family are in a car accident. With Justin’s ability to walk impaired and the gift of a new dog from his distant father “talking” to him about Robo Pooch and an unresolved case, Justin must decide whether to trust his instincts and assist his K-9 companion get to the bottom of the toymaker’s case or keep the peace with his father and say goodbye to the pet his father is allergic to.
K-9 COP is a fun, energetic adventure that is full of surprises. Justin’s character progression throughout the story is a highpoint of this book, and watching him develop from an awkward, grieving, intelligent teen into a young man who trusts his gut to show him the way is realistic and heartwarming. Elements of humor and quirky characters keep K-9 COP upbeat and light, and engaging dialogue between vividly-sketched characters draws the story forward at a fast clip. Though the plot sputters to a slow pace at times, it picks up speed again quickly. The interesting premise of the relationship between Justin and his new pet are of sufficient pull to patch over the slow sections. The subject matter (reincarnation), pop culture references (Exxon Valdez, Las Vegas strip, Bill Gates), and characters’ discussion topics (“bullet bra,” “compromising positions,” smoking) are eyebrow-raising and seemed ill-fitting for a story involving a 14-year-old protagonist and an audience of a similar age, and some of the references may completely escape the understanding of a younger audience.
K-9 COP is creatively imaginative and different, and an atypical police detective tale which highlights themes of friendship, trust, adventure and the bonds of family in a fun, mystery setting.