The author of Shadow of a Hero (1994) and other profound, stimulating longer novels demonstrates his versatility with this brief, light-as-air tale of a highstrung whippet, nicknamed Chuck, and her fond young keeper, Danielle. To Chuck, whose full name is Golden Hazelwood Mungo Paternoster, the whole world is a place of suspicious noises, menacing paper bags and supermarket carts, lurking ""monstercats,"" and potentially dangerous shoes, smells, and shadows. Most times brave, brave Danielle can protect her; still, survival requires constant vigilance plus a readiness to bolt. Chuck's triumphs may be inadvertent--bowling over a purse snatcher, charming a noisy new neighbor, beating a surly grownup's dog in a race--but they are triumphs nonetheless, clear proof of the hidden power of pusillanimity. Dickinson creates a cast of deftly delineated characters, human and otherwise, and his dog's-eye view of their seemingly unpredictable antics is both credible and delightful. Hats off to a winning canine antihero.