*There will be a sale on this book starting today for a week.
When serial womanizer Jack Banks hits on the wrong beauty, a Spanish witch who’s been turning thoughtless men into dogs since one broke her teenage heart over three hundred years ago, he wakes up as a Labrador retriever. As if that and navigating a far from stray dog-friendly city weren’t frustrating enough, he falls in love for the first time with Karen, the young woman with an outsized heart for animals who adopts him. She clearly loves him too, as a dog. But even if he can break the spell, will she love him as a man?
Thanks, Denise, for having me on your blog, for your nice review of The Cinderella Blues, and the chance to talk about my new novel.
Bad Dog, like The Cinderella Blues, is about single people on the front lines of the dating wars, but this time from a man’s perspective. Jack Banks is actually worse at it than Kat was when we first meet her in The Cinderella Blues, A Mr. Big, who objectifies women in a way familiar to anyone who hasn’t spent the last several months in an isolation booth. But only connecting on a superficial level ultimately takes its toll. What makes him interesting, more than just a hopeless dickhead, is how lonely he is, even as he doubles down on his behavior in advance of a landmark birthday.
The guy is ripe for an intervention, and it comes in the form of Isabel, a heart-stoppingly beautiful 400-year-old witch who holds a grudge like Putin. Not counting childhood friends like talking animals, my first experiences with fantasy literature were Sci-Fi and ghost stories, scoured from the library between monthly paperback book club deliveries (I still remember that great new book smell when I opened the packages). Crossover works, like Heinlein’s Stranger In A Strange Land,” and Herbert’s Dune showed that fantasy could be literature, but the magical realism of Marquez’s 100 Years of Solitude was a revelation. I learned literature could be fantastic. Like the ghostly aunt “fairy godmother” in The Cinderella Blues, Isabel is a matter-of-fact fantastic note in an otherwise normal scenario.
Like a good shrink, Isabel deconstructs Jack. “Did you hear your car taken away? In a few hours, it will be on a ship bound for China, without a trace of its former owner. Your clothing, wallet, wristwatch, all gone as well. All that’s left of Jack Banks is a groveling dog.” But she hasn’t just taken away the trappings of his manhood, she’s robbed him of the “man” part of that equation, and before he can get back he must figure out what got him there.
Of course, he has help, and it appears in the form of the kind and gentle Karen, the animal rescue center owner and third corner of our triangle. I love the remake of “Heaven Can Wait,” the one starring Warren Beatty and Julie Christy, about a guy who falls in love while inhabiting a stranger’s body. The chemistry between Beatty and Christy’s characters is lovely, and I had this chemistry in mind thinking of Jack and Karen. When a genuine cosmic connection is made between people, is it just physical, or might we recognize them even if they appeared to us in a completely different form?
As the jacket blurb says, “She clearly loves him…as a dog. But even if he can break the spell, will she love him as a man?”