Intelligently written and as fast as a Greyhound chasing Rusty, the electronic pace-rabbit at the Kennel Club Dog Track, author Anne Gilbert takes her readers by the collar and pulls them quickly into a story of retribution, revenge and reprisal in her novelette, Mayor of the Dog Park.
A vacant lot reclaimed by a city in Palm Beach County, Florida, the dog park named “Faux Paws” became a daily routine for designer dogs, pedigrees, hounds, mutts and their owners of various “human-breeds” as well. Animally bonded, the K-9s and their respective 401K owners all seem to be appropriately matched in temperament, personality and intelligence. With names like Moe & Lucky, Gimp & Muffle, Ramon & Lolita, and of course the mayor Eddie, and his dog won from a church prize, Bingo, these duos split each afternoon to go to their separate respective areas within Faux Paws; some go to the big dog area, others to the small dog section, while the owners pack in to a gazebo to talk.
I must admit, as a disclaimer, I am a dog lover extraordinaire, so reading this book was like rolling on my back having my tummy scratched. As much as I have come to love and understand the wonders of “Man’s best friend,” I too become emotionally outraged when hearing about animal cruelty; especially when intentionally done. Therefore I could relate to the emotions and motivations of the human characters in Mayor of the Dog Park; to me the events seem as logical as a border collie retrieving a tennis ball. However for the sake of maintaining the impact of this story, I shall not tell any more about the circumstances that reveal themselves in Chapter 3.
There is a clever foreshadowing with respect to Eddie’s house, being a lavishly designed home built by one of South Florida’s prominent architects. “The three story great room was dominated by a massive Gothic style fireplace and walnut paneling. Probably its most interesting aspect was the ceiling with a myriad of stars painted on the ceiling,” author Anne Gilbert wrote. The room was specified by Eddie’s recollection of, when on a trip to London, he saw a drawing of the actual “Star Chamber” used in 15th Century England.
The Mayor of the Dog Park is a mature reading escape, enabling for quick character development of the “Snow-bird” community of transplants from Chicago and other Northern cities of the US, as they conspire to do what every dog lover thinks of doing regarding animal abuse. Anne Gilbert is obviously a dog owner and judging by her writing quickness, agility, discombobulated machinations at times, and sense of humor, I’d bet she owns a type of terrier, like maybe a Jack Russell. Whatever breed she owns, her dog has found a human that can be trained, that’s for sure, trained to write.
Reviewed by: Gary Sorkin, Pacific Book Review