Monday, December 26, 2011

Book thirty: Metzger's Dog by Thomas Perry

A few years ago, an NPR story introduced me to a book called Metzger's Dog by Thomas Perry. Alas the book wasn't available for the Kindle.  So I clicked the tell-the-publisher-I'd-like-to-read-this-book button, added it to my wish list, and picked something else to read.

A few months ago, I was cleaning out my wish list and ran into this book again.  And now, it was available for Kindle so I decided to read it.  I'm glad I did.  This book is pure, crime-caper fun complete with crafty criminals, bumbling thugs, and clueless officials.

Metzger's Dog is the story of Chinese Gordon, a two-bit criminal with big ideas.  After learning a large stash of pure cocaine resides at a local university for research purposes, he devised a plan to steal it.  During the heist, he overhears a conversation that leads him to believe there is something valuable in a nearby office.  So he steals the only thing in a locked file cabinet drawer, a pile of papers.

The papers just happen to include information on some sensitive government experiments and soon Ben Porterfield, a friendly CIA agent is involved trying to thwart an international incident. With neither party really knowing what the other is up to, this book creates the perfect balance of wacky adventures and clever fun.

There are a bunch of other characters who make this book delightful including Chinese's sidekicks and his perfectly lovable girlfriend, Margaret.  And maybe my favorite character is Dr. Henry Metzger, Chinese Gordon's indifferent cat and namesake of the book.  In one brilliant moment, after some burglars have nearly stolen from his home, Chinese seals his house to ensure that nothing and no one can enter.  Maddeningly, Dr. Henry Metzger enters and exits at will, no matter what steps Chinese takes to stop the sly cat.

You know those caper films of the 60s and 70s that you can't help but love?  Well, Metzger's dog provides the exact same engaging pleasure.  And with an ending that I can't quite call happy but that delivers a great big bundle of rewarding reading fun, this book is a must read.

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