Bartender Jeri Halston starts getting witty letters from an anonymous man, each one sent from a new country and signed “Don’t order dog.” At first they seem like an innocent prank, perhaps an elaborate secret admirer. But Jeri and her coworkers/friends are soon drawn into an international mystery. Wente has a strong handle on plot and pacing, and the novel trots along smoothly. There were some nice unexpected twists and enough suspense to keep me engaged.
But Wente’s characterization is nothing special, relying mostly on tropes, wedged-in backstory, and competent physical descriptions. Jeri herself is quite dull. Wente shills her brains, by having her read about economics (…isn’t economics too hard for YOUNG, BEAUTIFUL WOMEN?!) or telling us she “should be killing it on Wall Street.” But nothing she actually knows, says, or does ever indicates that I should be stunned by Jeri’s intellect.
Moreover, the book is self-published, seemingly without a copy-editor. While the writing quality is fine, every author makes mistakes, and I found the surface errors distracting. Wente could benefit substantially from a comparatively small amount of revision.
If Don’t Order Dog falls into your hands, sure, give it a read. Take it to the beach or on a plane. A decent piece of storytelling, but nothing exceptional in either direction.
The 214 in 2014 series chronicles every book I read in 2014. Each review contains exactly 214 words, because 2014 words is too long and 2014 characters is too dang short.