That Dog Won't Hunt

  • Pages:128
  • Publisher:Orca Book Publishers
  • Themes:hunting, dogs, murder, violence, thriller
  • Available:10/01/2010
  • Age Groups:Adult Fiction
  • Reading Level:2.8
  • Lexile:HL430L
  • ATOS:3.4
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Cowboy drifter Rick Cooper is on the run in the California desert when he meets Gladys Ryan, an eccentric widow who offers him a ride in her classic 1970 Mustang. Before long she convinces him to accompany her to Northern Ontario to help refurbish her hunting lodge, promising him a share of the upcoming season's profits and hinting at more. The offer is too good to pass up. Rick takes to life in the bush, working hard to make the lodge successful. In his free hours he hunts birds, reluctantly taking Bucky, Gladys' ancient golden retriever along with him.

But when the lucrative season comes to an end, Gladys refuses to share the profits, instead offering the hired man a few thousand dollars in wages. In the middle of a drinking bout, an argument ensues. Rick shoves Gladys and she falls and hits her head and dies. He takes her body into the remote bush and disposes of her trademark Mustang, telling anyone who asks that she has gone off on her annual snowbird vacation. No one seems suspicious and it looks like the perfect crime. Rick seems to have it all figured out...except what to do with Bucky...
"Cooper is a thoroughly unlikable narrator, but readers comfortable with antiheroes may find his unabashed opportunism intriguing, and the grisly conclusion to this tense thriller brings a satisfying comeuppance...With rare voices and taut suspense, these titles provide accessible choices for struggling and strong readers alike."
– Booklist
"The ranching, automotive, carpentry, and hunting references, as well as the references to drinking and women, will interest readers who are often overlooked by writers. The first person narrator is clearly a "bad boy," yet the reader both identifies with him and hopes for his success even while yearning for the universe to be just. The suspense is gripping...A very compelling and well-written read...Highly Recommended."
– CM Magazine
"The characters are strongly portrayed and the book is compelling and gripping."
– Quill & Quire
"Should entertain both the emerging reader…and the more sophisticated reader who is looking for a quick reading escape…A clever tale that offers enough intrigue to hold a reader until its ironic conclusion."
– ForeWord Reviews
"[Allin] unveils a noir staccato to bring this little story to life. It really works... Since the classic noir voice is long on pathos but short on syllables, Allin's simply told tale works well in the Rapid Reads format. Though it's not a long journey, you don't get the feeling that anything is lost. Nor is Allin talking down to her readers…That Dog Won't Hunt is good storytelling in a tiny package."
– January Magazine

Download the That Dog Won't Hunt Reading Guide.