THE LURCHER by Frank Walker


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Favored by poachers, a lurcher is a crossbred dog trained to hunt. In this likable import, Juttle is a suddenly abandoned lurcher, the lone companion of an aged, uncommunicative caravan gypsy who dies, leaving the dog to fend for himself. Unlike the usual canine coper, Juttle, a greyhound-collie cross, is neither endearingly adorable nor an uncommonly quick study: unaccustomed to people, he's wary, fierce, easily provoked, and his subsequent adventures are exceedingly trying--and wholly believable. Several men attempt to catch him--an angry local farmer, a sympathetic RSPCA man--but only Pecker the poacher, who sees his potential, succeeds and begins training. The poacher makes some inroads but at the first unlocked gate Juttle takes off. This time, wounded and desperate, he abandons his gypsy's rules and savages a lamb, arousing the local farmers who scour the plain of York for the culprit. Newspapers take up the cause; then he attacks a deer on national park land and public opinion turns against him. He seems a goner but the last page finds him alive and well and living--believably again--in a distant location. Not strong enough to catch all comers, but for the genre, The Lurcher has a sense of proportion and steady pacing.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1978
Publisher: Delacorte