Posts Tagged ‘Heart of Barkness’

Happy Belated Fathers Day!


June 19th, 2023 Posted 9:06 am

“Mom says you’re the go-to guy.”
“She does?”
“Only for aquifers.”
“Good enough,” Bernie said. “When’s it due?”
“What’s ‘due’?”
“When you have to hand it in.”
“But I got an extension.”
“How’d you do that?”
“I said can I have an extension.”
“Nice. Till when?”

Super Bowl Week (More)


February 10th, 2023 Posted 7:42 am

Football comes up from time to time in my work, going all the way back to Hard Rain, and it’s central to the plot of Reality Check, my YA novel that won an Edgar award. There’s also football in the Chet and Bernie series – in Bark To The Future, the most recent C&B, and in Heart of Barkness, where this is from, to cite two examples.

We walked onto the field, mostly dirt with tufts of grass here and there. Coach Flowers had moved out from between the two rows of players, now stood to the side. We stopped nearby. Coach Flowers put the whistle in his mouth, sort of nudging the stogie to one side, and talked around them.

“On the whistle, potato heads. Not before, not after. All set?”

He blew the whistle, a sound I hate, but at least I’d known it was coming. The two rows charged each other, thumping together with lots of grunts and shouts, none of the shouts actual words, more like the kind of noise you hear on Animal Planet. The kids finished knocking each other around, picked themselves up, dusted themselves off.

“What the heck?” said Coach Flowers. Or something like that – he wasn’t easy to understand with the whistle and stogie in his mouth. “Call that hitting? Don’t look like hitting to me. Looked like hugging your sister.”

One of the kids said, “I’m a sister, coach.”

Coach Flowers turned to her. “Did I ask for your opinion, Taneeka?”

“Not yet, coach.”

“Take a lap.”


Pigskin and Us


February 6th, 2023 Posted 8:23 am

Football was mentioned yesterday. Football comes up from time to time in my work – in the Chet and Bernie series and elsewhere. This seems like a good week to check out some of that writing. The Americans reading this will know why. Those outside the country might want to google “Super Bowl.” Below, from Heart of Barkness (for newcomers, the narrator of C&B is Chet, a dog – but not a talking dog! Bernie is the private eye):
“What are we going to do if Charlie wants to play football?” Bernie said.
Buy him a football: that was my only idea. I was thinking about the big problem with football – namely the unwieldiness of the ball, which you need to deflate a bit to get it properly in your mouth – when we pulled into one of the playing field complexes we have in the Valley, not the fancy kind with the unreal grass and shady trees, but the other kind with mostly no grass and no trees. Out on the fields, kids – some little, some not quite as little – were practicing football. Practicing means the coaches are out on the field yelling things. In games, the coaches yell from the sidelines.
“Any chance you’d prefer to stay in the car?” Bernie said. “Maybe grab a few zzzs?”
What was that? Something about the car? I was already some distance away and had missed most of it.
“Okay, then,” Bernie said. “Best behavior.”
But of course! What other kind was there?



January 29th, 2023 Posted 7:46 am

On Sunday we do beginnings, taking a look at the start of a Peter Abrahams novel, including those written under the Spencer Quinn moniker™. How about Heart of Barkness, since Song For Chet, which came out of that book, was one of our topics this week? In case you’re wondering, the C&B series can be read in any order!

“Red-letter day, Chet,” said Sergeant Rick Torres, our buddy at the Valley PD Missing Persons Department. “In the car.”

Red-letter day was a mystery to me, and maybe red is, too. Bernie says I can’t be trusted when it comes to red, something I’ve never understood. I knew fire hydrants were red, for example, knew that as well as I know my own name. Which is Chet, in case you missed it, right up there off the jump. I also know “in the car,” and never need to be asked twice. Or even once. Rick opened the passenger-side door of the black-and-white. I hopped in, sat up nice and tall, totally alert, ready for anything. Was my tongue hanging out? Possibly. I got most of it stuffed back in. We have standards, me and Bernie, just one of the reasons that the Little Detective Agency is so successful, except for the finances part. It’s called the Little Detective Agency on account of Bernie’s last name being Little, but we’re equal partners, Bernie handling the gunplay and the so-therefores and me bringing other things to the table. Maybe we’ll get to my teeth a little later.



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