Dog Will Have His Day,
by Fred Vargas (Harvill Secker, RRP $37):
Former special investigator Louis Kehlweiler has to find new ways to fill in his days now that he no longer works for the Parisian police force.
Kehlweiler gathers information, takes care of his toad (yes, he has a pet toad), and patiently digs away at crime and corruption.
He’s keeping watch on the flat of the nephew of a prominent politician when something unusual catches his eye.
A dog has left a deposit near a tree, but that’s not what catches’ Kehlweiler eye – it’s the human bone protruding from the excrement.
Calling on the aid of acquaintances Matthias and Marc, Kehlweiler embarks on an investigation that leads the Three Evangelists (this is the second novel in the Evangelist series) to a small seaside town and a whole host of secrets.
Dog Will Have His Day is a thriller, but not necessarily as we know it. Kehlweiler is quirky and stubborn, and of course very smart, but he also comes off as abrupt and somewhat unlikable, which is a flaw that he shares with many of the characters.
The mystery itself is interesting enough to keep a reader engaged, but the quirks sometimes outweigh the story itself, making it a somewhat unbalanced read.