Books by Jon Katz

Released: May 23, 2017

"Animal lovers with a bent for the woo-woo will enjoy this well-intended but often cloying book."
Forget about ordering your dog to sit. Instead, breathe, imagine, visualize. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 7, 2014

"A heartwarming tale of rescue and redemption."
Another chapter in the life of Bedlam Farm. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 5, 2013

"Bittersweet in its telling, Katz reminds readers of the importance of human and animal connections."
Best-selling author Katz (Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die, 2012, etc.) brings readers the intimate story of falling in love with a woman and her extremely protective pet dog. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 25, 2012

"A tissue-box-worthy collection of animal tales."
For fans of man's best friend, a collection of insightful, moving and often unforgiving stories about dogs, cats and their people. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 4, 2012

"Bedlam Farm seems an idyllic spot with a natural appeal to children, who are likely to ask for more about Lenore. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8)"
Lenore the black Lab befriends a cranky ram named Brutus in another entry in the popular streak of recent stories focusing on unlikely animal pals. Read full book review >
GOING HOME by Jon Katz
Released: Sept. 27, 2011

"Not without its sappy moments, but readers will find this book refreshing in its honest depiction of grief over pet loss."
The latest by Katz (Soul of a Dog: Reflections on the Spirits of the Animals of Bedlam Farm, 2009, etc.) continues his popular line of books regarding man's best friend, this time focusing on how readers should cope with the loss of a pet. Read full book review >
Released: April 26, 2011

Katz has written several well-received books for adults about his working dogs and their life together at Bedlam Farm in upstate New York (Dog Days, 2007, etc.). In his first book for children, he introduces four of his canine companions and describes their personalities, specific jobs and interactions. Rose is a border collie whose job is herding sheep on the farm. Izzy is another border collie, a rescue dog who is now a therapy dog visiting patients in hospitals, and Frieda is a large, mixed-breed dog who guards the farm. Lenore is a black lab who appears throughout the story, along with the repeating refrain, "But what is Lenore's job?" The concluding pages present Lenore as the guiding spirit of the dog pack, a playful, friendly dog who keeps the whole group happy. Her job is "loving and accepting and having patience." The not-so-subtle message is that each individual contributes to a successful group in ways that are not always immediately apparent. The simple, informative story is illustrated with high-quality photographs of the dogs in action, using a wide variety of shots and settings that add visual interest. Young dog lovers will enjoy this, particularly those who own border collies or black labs. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 12, 2010

"A tidy crossover tale likely to warm many predisposed hearts."
Rose (Dog Days, 2007, etc.) pens a simple novel of super-canine loyalty and heroism. Read full book review >
DOG DAYS by Jon Katz
Released: June 26, 2007

"An appealing text showing off an author who's found his perfect genre. Readers can only hope these appealing and thoughtful dispatches will continue."
A fourth installment from journalist Katz (A Good Dog, 2006, etc.) about his life and canine loves in upstate New York. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 3, 2006

"A heartbreaking memoir of love, friendship and responsibility."
Katz concludes the canine love story he began in A Dog Year (2002). Read full book review >
Released: May 13, 2003

"A thoughtful and balanced look at what people require of their pets."
Journalist and novelist Katz (The Father's Club, 1996, etc.) delves further into the canine territory he first explored in A Dog Year (2002). Read full book review >
A DOG YEAR by Jon Katz
Released: March 12, 2002

"A surfeit of tail-wagging, face-licking love."
Journalist Katz, creator of suburban detective novels (Death Row, 1998, etc.) and introspective nonfiction (Running to the Mountain, 1999, etc.), goes completely and passionately to the dogs. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 18, 2000

This story of a gritty computer nerd who makes the break from desperate circumstances takes readers— emotions off guard, first disarming and then touching them. Jesse Dailey may be a computer geek, but a geek in the right time and place. If it isn—t already evident, Katz (Virtuous Reality, 1996, etc.) makes it so: Computer geeks are indispensable. Once alienated, resentful, and on the outs, now they are players, their magpie sensibilities and intelligence not just tolerated but encouraged. Katz enters Jesse's life (and that of his friend Eric, a much less important figure) the year after Jesse graduates high school in southern Idaho, when he responds to one of Katz's online articles about geeks. Katz, recognizing a peculiar chemistry, asks if he might visit. Jesse has his computer, but little else: few friends, a tattered family, a lousy job, zero social skills, a squalid apartment in a sorry burg not a stone's throw from his high school. He does, however, have plenty of cheek, considerable native intelligence, and pride. When Katz suggests he get the hell out, that he has marketable skills, he and Eric do just that. After consulting the Internet (what else?) they head to Chicago—Katz following protectively—get jobs, and soon realize they will need college to get the type of free-wheeling, revolutionary positions they want and need to snap their computer-entrenched inwardness. Jesse, with help from Katz (helped in turn with his own writing on computers by Jesse), overcomes wildly improbably odds to attend the University of Chicago. Along the way there are spirited discussions aplenty of intellectual property rights, the geek take on Columbine, the geek role in building a world that makes possible the invasive information-gathering geeks detest. And there is Jesse and Katz's evolving relationship, a rare and heart-gladdening thing. Geeks rule in the Internet future, but what we have here is a love story, and a fine one. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1999

Katz, a much-published writer of mystery novels and nonfiction (Virtuous Reality, 1997, etc.), prematurely assays the genre of spiritual autobiography. In the spring of 1997, the author purchased a mountain cabin in the upstate New York town of Cambridge and lived there for six months. His purpose was, in the relative solitude of rural New York state, to uncover new goals and meanings for his life, which had become stultifyingly routine in his (unspecified) suburban New Jersey town. An understanding wife and daughter consent to the temporary separation, though the three remain in close touch throughout by phone. The spiritual guide for this mountain sojourn is Thomas Merton, who supplies, in Katz's interpretations, a sometimes sad, middle-aged wisdom and with whom the author carries on imaginary conversations. (Katz's original intention had been to write a Merton biography.) Merton's counsel, to seek the spiritual in life's small everyday details, informs these pages, which counterpose accounts of cabin renovation, mouse removal, and well-digging with autobiographical reflections on childhood, family, career, friendship, and solitude. Katz is at his wry and winsome best on the material side of rural life, such as the critical home services provided by "big men in big trucks," or learning to turn on the new well. But both Merton and the reader might wonder what constitutes the oft-cited spirituality of these reflections. Katz offers several definitions of the spiritual life—human-relatedness, happiness, self-discovery, openness to change—that seem more new-age than anything a Trappist monk might recognize, and that never wholly solidify. Accordingly, the authorial self that emerges as having attained to spiritual life is unfocused, awkwardly striding the never-resolved contradictions between responsibility and freedom, familial love and self-love, humility and self-praise. This suburbanite author's self-deflecting appreciations of rural life appeal, but his spiritual ruminations should have been allowed quietly to mature a few years before finding their way to print. (First printing of 35,000) Read full book review >
DEATH ROW by Jon Katz
Released: Aug. 1, 1998

Lethal nursing homes are the latest snakes in the Eden of Kit DeLeeuw, the Suburban Detective (The Father's Club, 1996, etc.) - as Kit discovers when he storms the battlements of Elston Manor to liberate his stricken friend Benchley Carrolton, only to have Benchley die at home, his blood pumped full of a villainous new drug, leaving Kit himself under suspicion. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 1997

A preachy, uninspired tract on the technological, moral, and media changes in America, by Wired magazine's media critic. In his 1995 bestseller, Being Digital, Nicholas Negroponte established a difficult precedent: He showed that a writer for the hip magazine Wired could publish a forward-looking sermon on the digital revolution, and that people would care. Unfortunately, Katz fails in a similar endeavor. His exhortation on media old and new, and the backlash by conservatives against their purportedly nefarious impact on our culture, is redundant, dull, and, in parts, mean-spirited. Early on, Katz identifies his enemy as the Mediaphobe, the conservative moral hand-wringer who fears the changes brought by new technologies. From there, Katz moves briskly through discussions of paranoia about online sexual content, violence in the mass media, the Simpson trial, and the decline of the old media. Along the way, lots of obvious truths are served up as novel insights. For instance, the author presents all of the familiar figures and trends that signify the decline of newspapers. Since there's nothing really new here, Katz has to sharpen his rhetorical sword. The victim is William Bennett, ``King of the Mediaphobes,'' whom he devotes an entire chapter to trashing. Without explaining the mystifying popularity of tomes such as The Book of Virtues, Katz writes that ``it's hard to think of more irrelevant exercises for hard-pressed contemporary children . . . than these bloated collections of clichÇs.'' The rest of the chapter is just as ruthless, accusing Bennett of moral intimidation and hypocrisy. To be fair, there are some interesting points tucked into Katz's book, like a short discussion of pioneer journalist Thomas Paine and how he might view the Internet were he alive today. Katz also makes good (but not very original) suggestions to the mainstream media on how it can reform itself. But most of Virtuous Reality comes off as old material repackaged and peppered with some vituperative commentary. (illustrations, not seen) Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 1996

``I secretly think of much of my work as family-saving,'' says Kit Deleeuw, the American Way Mall detective (The Last Housewife, 1995, etc.). But it's too late for him to save Linda Lewis and the ex who's stopped phoning the kids or sending support: When Kit goes after Dale Lewis, he finds him dead, followed shortly by Linda herself, killed in an apparent carjacking. The cops accept the coincidence, but Kit—convinced, quite without reason, that the key to Dale's murder lies in the men's support group he attended—sets about infiltrating the group, using as a pretext the true-enough fact that his son Ben's just been suspended for smoking pot in school. Kit, overwhelmed by his infatuation with Linda and his bewilderment over Ben, reacts by dispensing fatherly advice to every other grownup in sight, including the reader (``Hitting is out. Nurturing is in'')—until Katz, suddenly remembering that his hero's supposed to be conducting a murder investigation, rushes to tie Dale's land-development schemes in to a Jersey City mobster, rattle the Fathers' Club cages for skeletons, and produce a sensitive, deeply unsatisfying solution. As casually plotted as the Suburban Detective's first three adventures, but without the edge that made their exotic New Jersey fauna so compelling. This time, Kit's homiletics come across as just plain gassy. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1995

The shooting of middle-school principal Nancy Rainier-Gault brings Kit Deleeuw, the Suburban Detective (Family Stalker, 1994, etc.), out for another walk on the wild side of his New Jersey town—this time in defense of police suspect Shelly Bloomfield. Kit can't believe that Shelly, who calls herself the Last Housewife because of her impatience with career mothers and her consuming devotion to her family, would go as far as murder to keep the principal from expelling her son Jason for sexual harassment. But neither Jason nor his father seems very interested in helping Shelly; the evidence against her is damning; and Kit's inquiries at the school almost land him in jail for propositioning the monstrous, unnervingly convincing kid who threatens him with a lawsuit that'll stop him dead in his tracks. While other detectives would be out gathering information, Kit's busy trying to avoid the angry political fallout that begins in feminist rhetoric but ends, as usual with Katz, in a full-scale debate over the values of the all-too- American family. Katz may never get the hang of plotting a whodunit, but the readers whose buttons he's so alarmingly skilled in pushing will hardly notice, much less care. (Author tour) Read full book review >
Released: March 4, 1994

A bizarre case for mall detective Kit Deleeuw (Death by Station Wagon, 1993): his client, lawyer Marianne Dow, is convinced that Andrea Lucca, her friend from Buns of Steel, is determined to break up her family—not simply because she has designs on Marianne's Wall Street husband Gil, but because she likes breaking up families. And a quick check with other Buns of Steel alumnae confirms that Andrea has indeed pulled the same stunt with them, befriending the women, sleeping with their husbands, and then moving on. But Kit can't talk to Andrea—she's disappeared—and suddenly, with the murders of Gil Dow (brained as he sat in his bathtub with Marianne just a few yards away) and aerobics instructor Roberta Bingham, Kit finds himself in his Volvo chasing leads all over the New Jersey interstates and uncovering an abused childhood that leaves him wondering whether there's anything Andrea wouldn't do. The final solution, though eminently guessable, is startling confirmation of how deep into the suburbs the mean streets reach. Especially recommended for anybody considering moving out of the city. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 9, 1993

Meet Christopher ``Kit'' Deleeuw, who's backed into tracking down vanished kids and delinquent dads when the FBI runs him off Wall Street to Rochambeau, New Jersey, for refusing to peach on his insider-trading colleagues. Kit has a social-worker wife, two kids, a dog, alertly observed suburban neighbors, and an unlikely client: a group of high-school kids who can't believe that Ken Dale, captain of the soccer team, strangled his girlfriend Carol Lombardi and then killed himself. A little snooping around among the politely hostile police, the suspicious parents of Rochambeau teens, and Carol's come- hither best friend Judy Cole persuades Kit that the killings are part of a larger pattern of violence echoing a century-old series of local murders. But what's the pattern supposed to express—or conceal? Sloppy plotting—featuring several malefactors ignorant of each other, a lot of strained deductions, and an unbelievably extended epilogue—but the suburban trimmings, from Kit's aging Volvo to his office at the American Way Mall, are a joy. Katz (Sign Off, 1991) owes his hero a mystery as good as he is. Read full book review >
SIGN OFF by Jon Katz
Released: Jan. 15, 1990

From a former producer for CBS Morning News, a first novel, superbly told, about United States Broadcasting's takeover by pirates—a rich tale that spells out what happens when a network yields to takeovers. USB News is a great cultural institution, and anchor Jack Thomas's face on the box is as well-known as Washington's on the dollar bill. No reader can avoid seeing Dan Rather whenever the lovingly drawn Thomas appears or speaks one of his phony folksaws ("I learned when I was a little boy that promises are like the fall harvest—you don't spend the money unless you see the corn"), which always pop up slightly askew of the situation but give a face-saving grandeur. The story opens with a marvelous reenactment of USB News team's white-hot coverage of the sinking of the U.S.S.R. Providence when a boiler explodes in waters off Lisbon, with a "quote—heavy—unquote, loss of life. . ." Producer Peter Herbert supervises the surreal scramble that gets USB's exclusive on-the-spot footage on air. Between this episode and Herbert's second peak story, which reveals a senator's involvement in the bombing of abortion clinics, Katz weaves wonders presenting full-bodied characters and their blood-ties of camaraderie as newsgatherers, while the Chairman (read the late William Paley) looms unapproachably above them. Alas, when the network caves in to a stock grab by takeover pirate David Nab, the USB News brotherhood is gone with the wind (Jack Thomas, with a vast salary boost, stays). Herbert, who makes $175,000 a year, plus huge perks, is not fired in the great bloodletting that follows, but he must personally behead 22 staff members. And he's demoted from the morning news to a gooey nostalgia show. Maybe his age, his family and mortgage preclude quitting, but Herbert strikes back ingeniously, mischievously, then like a bloody owl. And when he must face up to his soul-saving actions. . . .? Great verve, towering newsfolk full of smart talk, many smashing females, and no cheap plot tricks. Four-star entertainment. Read full book review >