Length: 316 Pages
Please note that the book cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book
What they say:Set in Northamptonshire, England… Henry, a talking Jack Russell, is part of a small team researching a cure for Multiple Sclerosis. He is the target of several dognappers but can he use his wit or guile to outwit them and, with the help of forty-year-old laboratory assistant Gwynne Davies, find the proof needed to convict the criminals. Thus begins a series of adventures for the unlikely pair. There have been amateur sleuths, there have been talking animals – Henry is both. This is Family Guy’s Brian meets Poirot meets My Fair Lady.Tagline: Henry, a nineteen-month-old Jack Russell, has been given the ability to talk and now they can’t shut him up! Family Guy’s Brian with just as much attitude but better sleuthing skills.USP: There have been amateur sleuths, there have been talking animals – Henry is both.‘Oh, Henry’ may look like a young adult or children’s novel but the main human character is a woman in her early forties so a more general appeal. ‘For the young in all of us’.
The Review: It is indeed for the young in all of us! This is the story of Henry, a Jack Russell who has spent his 19 months to date as a happy enough participant in a laboratory. As a result of the experiment, Henry can speak and is navigating a human’s world; trying to figure out what people mean by certain sayings, sarcasm etc.
So from the start the book kind of reminded me of my favourite character-Johnny 5 from Short Circuit, with his witticisms and attempts at humour. I also felt like saying (in the manner of Stephanie from Johnny 5) : ‘Stop it, he’s alive!’ (Yes dogs have rights and should be treated as close to humans as possible, but I felt that it was even more of an affront to him that he was told that dogs are below humans and that he knew his place in the world).
There were some great characters in this, the person who is at the forefront and who you really felt for as you heard their inner musings (the book moves form character to character), the lovely Gwynne, but so many others too (special mention for a night time visitor!). There were some moments that broke my heart, in particular when he wondered if they might miss him as they might actually, possibly love him and hoped it was so. I also felt for the staff who, although they looked after him, knew he deserved to be a dog. There were references to everything and anything Bruce Forsyth to the Fantastic Four to Stranger Than Fiction to Kiss and all of these kind of sealed the deal for me. A lovely read which so many will love for its light, easy going enjoyment. I’ll admit it seems to be more of a lead into the series, getting to know Henry, and it was only the last 30-40% that gave us detective work, but it most definitely did the job and I look forward to the next in the series.