cover image The Rescue

The Rescue

T. Jefferson Parker. Forge, $28.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-79356-0

Much of this quirky standalone from bestseller Parker (A Thousand Steps) is told from the viewpoint of Joe, a dog trained by the DEA to sniff out drugs but later retired from the agency. Joe is now in Tijuana, Mexico, with “the Roman,” who uses the animal’s incredible nose to help one cartel rob another. In a heist gone wrong, Joe is shot, rescued by a Tijuana kid, and healed by a local vet. Joe is adopted by Bettina Blazak, an American reporter in Laguna Beach, Calif., who writes a story about the dog that goes viral, attracting all kinds of attention. Teddy Delgado, a San Diego boy who raised Joe as a puppy, wants him back, as does the Roman. The robbed cartel wants to steal him—and the DEA wants to use Bettina and Joe to attack the cartels. The tough, stubborn Bettina is determined to keep Joe, though bargaining with a Mexican cartel seems like a fool’s errand. Readers will delight in the highly anthropomorphized Joe, but some may find the marriage of “dog lit” and violent thriller to be a bit awkward. Fans of Spencer Quinn’s Chet and Bernie mysteries will want to check this out. (Apr.)