It's election time in Spencer, Maryland, and the race for mayor is not a pretty one. In recent years, the small resort town has become divided between the year-round residents who enjoy their rural way of life and the city dwellers who are moving into mansions, taking over the town council, and proceeding to turn Deep Creek Lake into a closed-gate community - complete with a host of regulations for everything from speed limits to clotheslines.
When the political parties force-feed two unsavory mayoral nominees to the town's residents, David O'Callaghan, the chief of police, decides to make a statement - by nominating Gnarly, Mac Faraday's German shepherd, to run for mayor of Spencer!
What starts out as a joke turns into a disaster when overnight, Gnarly becomes the frontrunner, and his political opponents proceed to dig into the canine's past. When one of the mayoral candidates ends up dead, it becomes apparent that slinging mud is not enough for someone with a stake in this election.
With murder on the ballot, Mac Faraday and the gang - including old friends from past cases - dive in to clear Gnarly's name, catch a killer, and save Spencer!
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American politics goes to the dogs.
This is not a book which could be easily summerised. Nor even simple to categorise. It is a a sprightly written and amusing tale of domestic relationships, a political satire, containing more than one murder mystery, spies. And dogs. Filled with great characters, this lovely book's stories dart like coloured fishes through different scenarios - and they all seem to make perfect sense. It was a sheer joy.
The pleasure is increased by the narration of C.J.McCallister who breathes even more life into all of the protagonists with his varied and clearly differentiated voicings, including a marvellous Texan drawl for an investigative journalist named Dallas. And a personal favourite, Nigel, an AI butler who certainly pulls out all the stops to care for his people, is once again featured. I am a relative newcomer to the books of Lauren Carr - this is only my second - but I am already beginning to feel that I know some of these people personally. At number twelve in the series it might have been difficult to enter into this world, but it isn't: part of the joy is meeting the folks as the story unfolds.
This is a delectably delicious story of deception, death and dogs - amusing and easy listening with plenty of twists and turns and thrills of the chase.. Definitely recommended.
- Norma Miles