GUARD DOG by Joe  Hajduk

GUARD DOG

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In first-time novelist Hajduk’s supernatural tale, a man uses newfound, unusual powers to thwart a sinister plan unfolding at the company where he’s employed.

Thirty-two-year-old Gus Shepard is intelligent but has no ambition, content with his job at a biotech company. This changes when a strange man at a flea market gives him a “god dog,” which Gus mishears as guard dog. The dog and Gus are in a car accident, after which the former inexplicably vanishes. But Gus’ parents have previously encountered a god dog; this one, according to his mom, has transferred its energy into Gus. Though already skilled in martial arts, Gus has picked up a few abilities, like “super-enhanced vision” and a keen sense of smell. He uses these skills to rescue a young boy walking into oncoming traffic and a Chihuahua from heartless gangsters. But Gus’ dad, formerly special forces, surmises a war of good vs. evil is imminent and sends his son to an old friend for weapons training. It turns out there’s something nefarious underway at Gus’ workplace, which has a link to his love interest, the enigmatic Lisa. Gus concocts a plan to foil the diabolical scheme. Hajduk gives his protagonist a curious backstory: Years ago, his father smuggled his mother out of North Korea. And Gus’ accompanying canine traits—he tracks someone by scent like “a trained hound dog”—make him an atypical hero. The narrative is initially composed of seemingly unrelated events: Early on, Gus has a run-in with Mexican thugs and plots revenge against an ex who helped herself to his bank account. However, most of these events and characters knit together in a memorably frantic final act. The action scenes throughout are vibrantly detailed: Gus tosses a baddie into a “Ferris Wheel” spin, and a multi-jeep confrontation ends “with an explosive crunch.”

A noble, animalistic hero leads an action-packed romp.

Pub Date: Feb. 22nd, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-9790-1326-0
Page count: 228pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
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