Dave Bartok is not having the best of years. His mother has just died, he is an addicted poker player, and (hugely in debt), his real estate business is sinking, and he doesn't really like his longtime girlfriend. When he gets saddled with an abandoned dog, he doesn't think things can get worse. And then Reg the dog starts talking --and only Dave can hear him.
At first Dave thinks he's gone crazy, but he soon realizes he's found his soul mate. Dave and Reg start off on a madcap adventure that will find them tangled up with the mob, involved in an illegal real estate deal, cleaning up at the poker table, and stumbling toward true love.
The wisdom of Reg the dog:
On couches being chewable because they are actually sausages
"It's got a skin, it's got stuffing, what am I not getting here?"
On entering a dangerous establishment
"Actually, I've changed my mind. There's no atmosphere so menacing it can't be banished by a ham sandwich."
On Dave's awful girlfriend
"She wants so to be pack leader. She acts as if she's in control when you're there, you defer to her all the time. Would it not be better if she were allowed to go and form her own pack?"
"Every time you put it on you end up going somewhere you don't want to. That's what I call a leash."
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MARK BARROWCLIFFE is the bestselling British author of Girlfriend 44 and Infidelity for First-Time Fathers. He lives in Brighton, England with his dog.From Publishers Weekly:
Barrowcliffe's third novel (Infidelity for First-Time Fathers) is another exercise in deadpan drollery with a hapless everyman at its center-but an ambitious strain of fantasy sets it apart, bringing him out of Nick Hornby's shadow and into John Irving territory. The hero this time out is thirtysomething single Dave Barker, who narrates. Emotionally stunted Dave has spent the last decade caring for his terminally ill mother and marking time at his failing real estate office with tart assistant Lucy. When mom dies, Dave thinks his adult life might finally begin, and that he might even take the next step, with Lyndsey, his girlfriend of four years. But then Gilbert and Reg walk into Dave's office-man and dog, respectively. Gilbert and has a heart attack, and Dave inherits Reg who, it turns out, has the gift of speech, but can only be understood by Dave; others hear it as excessive barking. Lyndsey, needless to say, is not enamored of Reg, and the quest to unload him leads Dave to a talking cat named Michael, his pig sidekick who also talks (but more tersely) and temporary wealth via a lucrative poker game. More comic complications follow, including an accidental killing, a hilarious funeral and a sticky real estate scam. Barrowcliffe's winning style and light comic touch make this a twisty page-turner of a different breed.
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