Spencer Quinn’s Chet and Bernie series is the book release I look forward to all year long. From the moment I finish one book, I’m nearly desperate to lay my hands on the next one. You can read my reviews of Quinn’s previous titles in this series here, here, and here.
The thirteenth installment in the fabulous and famous Chet and Bernie series is Bark to the Future, and it does not disappoint.
When Bernie stumbles upon an old teammate panhandling by the roadside, he’s determined to help him– despite the man outright refusing Bernie’s money. Chet isn’t quite sure what to think, as Bernie’s former teammate, Rocket, acts a bit erratically and Chet wonders if he’ll eventually be grabbing him by the pant leg (that’s Chet’s specialty, in case you’re new here). But when Bernie returns the following day to try and help Rocket further, Rocket has disappeared. Bernie, determined to help and maybe even figure out where it all went wrong for his old acquaintance, sets out to discover why Rocket is running, and who Rocket is running from.
As with every Chet and Bernie book, Bark to the Future is the perfect blend of mystery balanced with humor. There are plenty of little Easter eggs for longtime Chet and Bernie fans, while succinct explanations of regular characters allow even new readers to begin with the most recent release (though all 13 are so enjoyable to read, why deny yourself the pleasure of starting with Dog On It?!)
Chet is the most fabulous narrator, which plays a significant role in the humor aspect (though Chet would be the first to point out that Bernie is also quite funny). With the ever changing landscape of Bernie’s life, new(ish) arrivals Weatherly and Trixie make for new complications (according to Chet, at least). The interactions between Chet and Trixie, Weatherly’s dog who may or may not be related to Chet (he doesn’t want to talk about it nor does he see the resemblance thank you very much), add another layer of depth and humor to the story.
The setting is always a crucial aspect to any Chet and Bernie story, and the slot canyons and desert take center stage in the most breathtaking of ways. From its beauty to its danger, the natural world is a character unto itself in these novels.
The exceptionally well developed secondary characters almost steal the show, further developing the story into the rich tapestry that it is. Bernie’s interviews take a more personal turn this round, as he has a personal connection to the case. Hearing about Bernie as a high schooler, including directly from his former classmates, is a real treat.
Once again, Chet will awe readers with his humor and intelligence while Bernie makes the so-therefores. To borrow from Bernie, so therefore any reader, new to the series and devoted fans alike, should find joy in Bark the Future. Furthermore, readers may find themselves pondering how our past informs our present and our future, too.
Thank you to Spencer Quinn, MacMillan Publishers, Forge Books and NetGalley for an advanced copy such that I could share my honest opinions.
Bark to the Future will be available August 9, 2022.