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The Good Boy by Theresa Schwegel
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The Good Boy

by Theresa Schwegel

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I had to read some of the other reviews first---as a CD this moved right along but yes, it was frustrating to hear Pete being so overwhelmed --- in a search for his missing son and dog, but with his life. Joel and Butch were wonderful---but in some ways not nearly smart enough for living in Chicago to go on a "walk" to find the judge. Understandably, he felt he had no alternatives. I felt horrible for both of them and the circumstances they found themselves in---especially near the end where I really wanted to know that there was going to be a followup for the "other" dogs to be rescued. ( )
  nyiper | Aug 21, 2017 |
Book was ARC copy given by publisher through the GoodReads FirstReads program. Thanks for the book!

Joel's and Butchie's relationship is what first drew me to this book. I'm a huge dog lover and finding a book chronicling a boy's and dog's journey through the rough streets of Chicago instantly pinged my "want to read!" monitor. That relationship was one of the things that kept me reading throughout. The attraction between these two characters shone with strength and love. The lengths that this kid was willing to go for his furry friend brought tears to my eyes at such devotion. I can only hope I'd go through the same lengths for my two fuzzy buds.

The character of Joel really made the book for me along with his relationship with his dog. The smarts and observational skills he possessed boggles my mind at times; I think I can safely say we have another Sherlock Holmes or Alexander the Great, another world class detective or military genius, on our hands. I don't think too many other 11 year olds could have survived navigating the crime-ridden streets of Chicago quite as well, even with a furry partner along. And yet, for all that smarts, Joel is still underneath it all, a kid. His innocence shines through in his vivid imagination of a industrial complex being a fortress, his belief that one individual can solve his entire situation, and his unwavering view of his dad as a hero. The author was able to balance the innocence and intelligence beautifully so that Joel shone as a well-rounded character that I came to adore.

While Joel's and Butchie's journey was the main reason I kept reading and was my main point of love for this book, the other elements were hit or miss for me. The parts with his dad Pete tracking him over Chicago's streets and the crime-solving parts, while interesting, also bored me a bit. They almost felt a bit too rational when compared with Joel's and Butchie's emotional story. I know they were told from the POV of an experienced cop with a lot of issues so they'd be more rational. But it was that very rational mode of thinking, that bitterness of life's experiences, that turned me off from Pete. His dedication as a father inspired me, but I just found him a tad too boring.

The streets of Chicago came alive in this author's hands. I felt like I was walking the streets with our heroes, digging in the trash with them, feeling the cold rain on my cheek, and sneaking under porches and behind bins with them as they hid from the "bad guys". The book illustrates the author's very intimate knowledge of Chicago with very specific locales, street layouts, and way of life on those streets. I enjoyed that vividness of setting and made me picture everything in my head perfectly.

The other parts with Joel's family, the parts with McKenna and Sarah, were intriguing. The journey of this family from loving and settled to broken and dysfunctional fascinated me to a degree as I was able to see how so much had gone wrong so quickly. Both ladies were real people with all the foibles of the regular jo-smo on the street and all the issues today's world can throw at ya. Together with Joel and Pete, they're a family with some serious issues that aren't all solved by the end of the book, but I can see a very definitive strength-ing starting to develop.

For the most part, this book was a real page-turner. The mean streets of Chicago came to intense life as Joel and Butchie journeyed their way to the one person they believe could help them in a setting so vivid I could smell the concrete. The journey of a dysfunctional family to the start of a healing process touched the heart strings and made me shakily smile. And while the crime-solving bits with Pete bored me at times, I stilled was kept interested enough to keep reading and find out what happened. This book touches the heart and makes me think at the same time. Definitely a great one of you're in the mood for great characters, a touching story, and a fascinating plot. ( )
  Sarah_Gruwell | Jan 11, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I tried three times to really get into this book. Normally I like police procedurals, but the story felt contrived, the characters not real, and I couldn't find anybody except the dog to root for. Not a bad book, but not one I'll be pulling off the shelf and shoving at someone else. I barely made it through about 75%. ( )
  tututhefirst | Jul 27, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Good Boy by Theresa Schwegel is the story of a dysfunctional family who are all going their own way, caught up in their own dramas and not paying attention to each other at all. Father Pete Murphy is a K-9 cop, demoted and unhappy. Mother Sarah Murphy is busy wallowing in alcohol and self-pity, on the telephone complaining to her family and friends. Teenage daughter McKenna has grown sullen and secretive, leaving the youngest child Joel lonely and ignored. Joel, though, still feels protective of his sister and when he learns that she is sneaking out to go to a forbidden party, he follows her and brings Butchie, his father's police dog. The story follows Joel and Butchie's journey on the run after things go incredibly wrong at the party. Pete is in a race to find his son and his canine partner before something terrible happens to them. I found the plot to be a bit unbelievable in places and it moved a little slower than I would have liked but overall I enjoyed the book. I would say that The Good Boy is less a thriller and more the story of a dysfunctional family coming together to save on of their own.

(Review based on complimentary Advance Reader copy.) ( )
  wcath | May 29, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I didn't really care for this book. The dialogue is good, the characters are real enough, and most descriptions are clear. Sometimes the story details got a bit vague, and characters make choices that only make sense as a way to advance the plot.

The story is from two perspectives: the father, Pete Murphy, and his son, Joel Murphy. Set up like a chase, the perspective switches between the two as Pete races to find Joel, who is on the run. Normally that's fine, one character pursuing the other. Unfortunately, I found Joel's perspective to be padded and uninteresting, as he went from place to place and slept a lot. Pete's pursuit of his son was more interesting, but seemed to meander.

I did like the dog.

I can't say I would recommend this book. ( )
  cdhtenn2k10 | Feb 13, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 125000179X, Hardcover)

Edgar award winner Theresa Schwegel returns with The Good Boy, her most dramatic and emotional novel to date, a family epic that combines the hard-boiled grit of her acclaimed police thrillers with an intimate portrait of a young boy trying to follow his heart in an often heartless city.

For Officer Pete Murphy, K9 duty is as much a punishment as a promotion. When a shaky arrest reignites a recent scandal and triggers a multimillion-dollar lawsuit, all eyes are on Pete as the department braces for another media firestorm.

Meanwhile, Pete's eleven-year-old son Joel feels invisible. His parents hardly notice him—unless they're arguing about his “behavioral problems”—and his older sister, McKenna, has lately disappeared into the strange and frightening world of teenagerdom. About the only friend Joel has left is Butchie, his father's furry “partner.”

When Joel and Butchie follow McKenna to a neighborhood bully’s party, illegal activity kicks the dog's police training into overdrive, and soon the duo are on the run, navigating the streets of Chicago as they try to stay one step ahead of the bad guys—bad guys who may have a very personal interest in getting some payback on Officer Pete Murphy.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:08 -0400)

"Edgar award winner Theresa Schwegel returns with her most dramatic and emotional novel to date, a family epic that combines the hard-boiled grit of her acclaimed police thrillers with an intimate portrait of a young boy trying to follow his heart in an often heartless city. For Officer Pete Murphy, K9 duty is as much a punishment as a promotion. When a shaky arrest reignites a recent scandal and triggers a multimillion-dollar lawsuit, all eyes are on Pete as the department braces for another media firestorm. Meanwhile, Pete's eleven-year-old son Joel feels invisible. His parents hardly notice him--unless they're arguing about his 'behavioral problems'--and his older sister, McKenna, has lately disappeared into the strange and frightening world of teenagerdom. About the only friend Joel has left is Butchie, his father's furry 'partner.' When Joel and Butchie follow McKenna to a neighborhood bully's party, illegal activity kicks the dog's police training into overdrive, and soon the duo are on the run, navigating the streets of Chicago as they try to stay one step ahead of the bad guys--bad guys who may have a very personal interest in getting some payback on Officer Pete Murphy"--… (more)

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