Shoot the Dog by Brad Smith

A Mystery Fiction Pick by Jean-Louis

shoot the dog
(Scribner, 2013)

Brad Smith’s latest book, Shoot the Dog, is a Virgil Cain mystery. Unlike in many mysteries, our hero Virgil Cain is not a policeman, nor a detective, nor a forensics specialist–he is a farmer, horse lover, and a regular guy who just happens to date a cop.

In this novel, Virgil is minding his own business hitching up his team of Percheron workhorses Bob and Nelly to a wagon when he gets offered money to have the horses be part of a movie shooting near his farm. As he is hard-up for ready cash and his tax bill is looming, Virgil accepts and is plunged into the madness of the movie world. And this is where the drama ensues.

Movie producers, directors, starlets, rich investors and a few child actors provide the drama. Virgil is happy to accept the $500 per day for the horse and even squeezes out a few dollars for himself as horse wrangler but he is keen to keep his distance from the movie shenanigans. Despite his best instincts Virgil gets drawn into the action as the star of the movie winds up dead and a young child actress appears vulnerable.

Smith delivers the novel with a light hand and a sense of humour. If you are looking for a quick read, try out this novel or one of his seven earlier novels. Brad Smith is a Canadian mystery writer who is making his mark on the mystery world. His novel Red Means Run, the first in the Virgil Cain series, was named among the Best Crime Novels of 2012 by the influential trade magazine Booklist

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