The Last Dog On Earth by Adrian J. Walker (book review).

With Adrian J. Walker’s latest book, ‘The Last Dog On Earth’, you are sort of thrown in at the deep end in working out what is going on. Mostly because you’re introduced to the first person or should I say first dog thoughts of Lineker the dog and, yes, he is named after someone who advertises crisps (chips to you American folks). There are no explanations of how his thoughts are so articulate nor where he got his potty mouth from. Gaps are filled in about his relationship with his owner, electrician Reginald Hardy, and something of the events leading up from 2021 when the world went to pot into a post-apocalypse haze. Hardy doesn’t like being called ‘Reg’, so it’s a good thing he can’t hear what his dog calls him. I should also point out that the book title isn’t totally accurate as there are other dogs.

The story is told from their point of view leading up to when they make contact with other city residents in another borough of London and they get split apart. There is a hint of a few years have passed since the incident or whatever caused it. Granted there might be supplies nearby, you still have to wonder why nothing happened sooner or how come cholera hasn’t become epidemic. More so as things then escalate at an alarming rate. Of course, there are the needs of the story for that to happen and I have to be careful how much I say without giving away too many spoilers.

When Hardy gets close to a family, he draws the attention of the local militia, more so for his electrician skills but essentially becomes a prisoner to do some on-the-spot repairs. Lineker loses contact for a while as he’s put into training with other dogs before ending up in a similar situation.

Probably the best way to describe the overall situation is to say that Walker captures the current prejudicial climate of current Britain in his story. A lot of it becomes problematic as to what is going on because as we only see things in first and dog person, we don’t really see the entire picture. Quite how a foreign audience would view this book is harder to say as it’s very British.

Walker’s strength is in writing characters but I do have concerns about Lineker. Considering the number of scientists and knowledge he expounds, for a dog, he’s very well read for a pottymouth who can’t speak and Hardy rarely swears. Not a sign of radioactivity that gives him such a talent. I think it might have made more sense had Walker made Lineker more dog-like than add such detail. This would have made more sense and a better contrast to when the militia train him. It might have been more interesting to see what this does to him rather than he thinks as before.

Contrary to my criticisms, this book is actually a page-turning read but could have done with a sharper ending and certainly a lot more information as to what was going on.

GF Willmetts

August 2017

(pub: Del Rey/Penguin/Random House. 422 page small enlarged paperback. Price: £ 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-7853-572-2)

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