What's not to love about a mystery story narrated by an intelligent Irish wolfhound? Add in the enticements of humor, great references to pop culture (of all ages), and the presence of the coolest druid ever and it's a shoe-in. Oberon is the canine companion of Atticus, the Iron Druid. Because of the skills he has perfected over the last 2,000 years, Atticus has been able to bond his mind and Oberon's so that they can communicate telepathically. Oberon is incredibly smart and loves to have Atticus tell him stories, discuss the plots of books he has read, or for the two of them to watch movies and television together. The result of all this exposure to human culture is that Oberon can make great references to books and videos. For instance, he shares, "Whenever I walk into a park all the other dogs are like hobbits saying, "It comes in pints?" because they have never seen a hound as big as me before."
On this particular visit to the local dog park, Oberon and Atticus learn that there has been a crime spree of sorts in the Pacific Northwest. Grand Champion dogs of all breeds have been abducted and other dogs in those homes tranquilized with spiked treats or with a dart gun. Oberon convinces Atticus that they should look into the matter and tells him, "The game is afoot, Atticus!" Of course they have lots of funny dialogue that no one else can hear, but which made me laugh out loud frequently while reading. Oberon throws out references to Gandhi, Jack Nicholson, Sherlock, Lord of the Rings, The Great Gatsby and even Battlestar Galactica. At one point they have to do a stakeout and wait for some suspected bad guys to show up. Oberon says, "I hate waiting. I'm like Inigo Montoya that way."
Fans of the Iron Druid series will love this latest addition to the world that Kevin Hearne has created. For first-timers just encountering Atticus and Oberon, this is self-contained enough that it can be read on its own - but they should be warned that it will probably whet their appetites and pull them into the series (sort of like promising Oberon a sirloin). Seeing Atticus use his druidry for the good of dognap victims rather than fighting evil vampires or enraged trolls is a nice change of pace.
Highly recommended for current fans, urban fantasy readers, and those looking for a new series with magic, mayhem, and a handsome hound. I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.