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The Squirrel on the Train
Oberon's Meaty Mysteries
by Kevin Hearne
Subterranean Press, $25.00, 114 pp
Published: November 2017

If you are a fan of Hearn’s Iron Druid series, then you are familiar with the faithful Irish Wolfhound, Oberon.  According to the author, Oberon is nearly as popular with fans as the main character, Atticus. I suspect that is what prompted this charming little series with the point-of-view from Oberon.  This is the second of the Meaty Mysteries series, click for the review of The Purloined Poodle at the end of this review.

This delightful tale involves more than just Atticus and Oberon but also Granuaile’s new companion, Orlaith and the Boston Terrier, Starbuck.  Granuaile doesn’t appear in this story as she’s off in Poland doing new druid stuff and since Orlaith is pregnant, she’s not allowed to shift.  So when Atticus decides to take all three hounds to Portland to sniff stuff, they have to get there the old-fashioned way:  train.  While boarding the train, the dogs are alarmed to see a squirrel perched on the top of the train.  While trying to impart to Atticus the seriousness of the situation – squirrels are insidious and dangerous – Atticus assures them that physics – and a stiff wind – will solve the problem.  All of them are astonished to find the squirrel hale and hearty at their arrival in Portland.  This cannot go unanswered so all three hounds take off through the train station in pursuit.  Imagine their confusion when the chase leads them to a crime scene with none other than Detective Ibarra of the previous book and a dead body that looks exactly like Atticus!  And now the game is afoot…

The dogs’ mighty noses discover an odd scent at the crime scene…something human mixed with bear.  Trailing the scent, they find an old acquaintance of Atticus, sitting in a park and bemoaning his apparent death.  Atticus is determined to find the killer and learn both who the victim was and whether it was a case of mistaken identity – were they really after Atticus?  After much sniffing and to-and-froing, the gang discovers much more about the motives than they expected.  And due to the hounds’ cleverness and diligence, there are many promises of special meat and gravy.

And lest we forget the erstwhile squirrel’s ability to defy physics – it turns out the dogs are not entirely wrong…

Again, this was six kinds of fun…squirrelly-fun, one might even say. Hearne has a gift in giving us a clear voice of Oberon and his wry and ironic observations are worth more than one chuckle.  And the epilogue is not to be missed – it was a complete hoot.

One might argue that a mere 114 pages are not worth the $25 pricetag; but compare it to the cost of a 2-hour movie – and my promise that this story is a great deal of fun for an Iron Druid follower.  Since we’ve gotten two in this new series, I have to assume there will be more…I just have to!  Check out Subterranean Press’ website; although I can’t promise that they still have any copies.  If not, check with an indie bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona – the Poisoned Pen bookstore.  ~~ Catherine Book

For other boks in the Oberon's Meaty Mysteries series click here

For other books by Kevin Hearne click here

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