Saturday, September 13, 2014
Review: In the Doghouse by Chris Quinton
I wanted to give a solid shout out to Chris today. She's been my friend and mentor for a number of years and I've been super lucky to have her cheering me on not just because she's a fantastic person and wonderful friend but because she's a creative, amazing writer and author. So, today, I'd like to take a moment to talk about her recent story "In the Doghouse", which came out as part of the Dreamspinner Press' Not Quite Shakespeare Anthology. "In the Doghouse" is the adventure of Jerry Thorne trying to keep a beloved racing greyhound out of unkind, nefarious hands while hiding out in the only safe place he can find—that of a friend and longtime crush, Mike Brown. Of Chris' many talents, perhaps the one I most admire (and yes, covet!) is her ability to write sharp, brilliant dialogue. When the characters speak, you really hear them in your head, and their words are vibrant and descriptive. "In the Doghouse" is written in the first person, which plays to Chris' strength because it is basically the main protagonist bringing the reader along on an adventure. You read everything through Jerry Thorne's perspective, with all the missteps and emotions that make up his history. When he doubts, you know why, and when he grows bold, you urge him on. It's a short story, but it is densely packed with adventure and drama, a villain that makes you want to hiss and boo, and emotions that swing the gamut to end at a satisfying conclusion. Along the way, Chris hits that sweet spot for romantic erotica, with that perfect blend of emotion and grit. Not to be forgotten, of course, the story features a swift and soft-eared greyhound named Spot. I'm a soft-touch for dog stories, and it is obvious Chris knows her details when it comes to the characterization of dogs. Spot is adorable and very real, and I want to take him home with me.