THE DOG WALKER

Leslie Schnur, Author
Leslie Schnur, Author . Atria $25 (312p) ISBN 978-0-7434-8207-3
Reviewed on: 06/14/2004
Release date: 07/01/2004
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4165-0363-7
Hardcover - 409 pages - 978-0-7862-6952-5
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-7434-8950-8
Hardcover - 978-1-84395-890-1
Paperback - 312 pages - 978-0-7434-8208-0
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4711-0544-9
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As Schnur's titular protagonist is well aware, being dragged at the end of a leash is hard work. Readers will find this labored first novel equally tough going, despite its cute premise and full complement of romantic comedy tropes. Nina Shepard's life isn't proceesing quite as planned. After leaving a thankless publishing job, she takes up what she intends to be a temporary dog-walking gig catering to rich and busy New York dog owners, feeling clueless about the direction of her life and even who she is: "When, at the age of thirty-five, you find out you've been wearing the wrong-sized bra for how many years, you realize one thing: you don't know much about anything." Given the keys to her trusting clients' homes, she develops a serious snooping habit. Of particular interest is 32-year-old Daniel Maguire, a hot lawyer, or so she thinks. When she finally meets him, he's not at all what she expected (in fact, he's Daniel's twin brother, Billy), but she falls head over heels anyway. Billy likes her, too, but will they be able to forgive each other's secrets? Former Delacorte editor-in-chief Schnur strives for breeziness but belabors the obvious ("then she chewed a nourishing breakfast"), and the twins plot device is creaky and superfluous. The dog-walking conceit will appeal to dog owners and city dwellers, but the novel lacks bite. Agent, Richard Pine. 6-city author tour. (July)

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