The Last Dog on Earth by Adrian J. Walker

lastdogThe Last Dog on Earth was one of those books that I wasn’t really sure about, don’t ask me why, but I went into it with doubts and thought that possibly the run of really good books that I’ve been experiencing lately may well come to an end.  How very wrong I was.  This book was an engrossing and entertaining read.  Told in alternating chapters in the voice of Reginald Hardy and his dog Lineker this is a book that had me gripped, not to mention I nearly cracked a rib laughing at certain elements, and, I turned into that really annoying reader who insists on reading out to their other half certain tidbits or sentences that they found really amusing – even though there is no context whatsoever to the poor beleaguered listener.  Still, it happens and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has this annoying habit and I like to think that I’m spreading the joy a little in such moments.

Before I even start this review I have to hand it to the author for a perfectly executed story.  He drew me in with his witty opening chapters told from a dog’s POV.  Lineker had me laughing out loud, and before I knew it I was hooked and wanting more – and that’s when the author turned up the serious dial.

This is a tale set in London.  A very different London from the one we know now it’s streets have been devastated by war.  Gradually we learn the back story and it’s a story of politics gone mad with hatred resulting in a desperate world where many people are deemed to no longer ‘belong’.  A brutal and unforgiving authority now rules the streets forcing the remaining survivors to take some form of ‘test’ to prove whether or not they’re suitable or not – failure to pass the test usually ends in more than just tears.  I won’t deny the world depicted here is far from pretty and what makes it undoubtedly worse is that horrible fear that maybe this could happen.

At the start of the story we make the acquaintance of Lineker.  Be warned that Lineker’s language can be somewhat colourful and may not be to everyone’s liking. That being said he’s a very entertaining canine and his honesty in relation to his own behaviour and that of his fellow dogs is amusing in the extreme.  Lineker definitely won me over, I loved the elements of his story and the changes he experienced during the course of this tale as his own beliefs were tested.

Reginald is also a very interesting character to read.  Reg has withdrawn into himself, with good reason as we discover whilst reading this book.  He has a certain phobia that makes him avoid people and so whilst the world around him is spiralling into chaos Reg seems to be coping – he has his own apartment, he has food, he has his boundaries that he doesn’t cross and he has man’s best friend, Lineker, to keep him company.  Basically Reg’s own condition has resulted in an almost forced denial of just how bad things have become around him.  It’s like he’s sat with his fingers plugged in his ears singing ‘lalalalalala’ at the top of his voice in order to avoid what’s really going on beyond his own four walls and the front door.  That is until a young girl turns up outside his apartment in need of help.  Reg is determined to ignore this young orphan as she lies perishing outside his door until the voice inside his head eventually convinces him to do the right thing – and his world swiftly turns on it’s head.  Don’t get me wrong now, it takes Reg a long time to come around and in the meantime he can be extremely cowardly, he almost makes you cringe.  His actions will have you shaking your head and wanting to slap him.  He’s flawed.  There it is.

In a way I felt like this was a story of redemption and recovery, it’s bleak but not without hope and that’s an aspect that I really liked.

There’s not too much more I can say about the plot without spoiling it so I’ll simply say that I loved this and highly recommend it.  I don’t know whether to call this dystopian or post apocalyptic but I do know that it’s a story with a lot of heart and soul.  It has it’s moments that are predictable (tbh), there are definitely moments that stretch incredulity to new lengths – particularly in relation to how smart Lineker is – because damn that dog has some knowledge (that being said, how do we know our dogs aren’t really masterminds eh – they have us worked out nicely after all!), and the ending felt a tad rushed.  But, basically, I don’t care because this book just worked for me on all sorts of levels.  I will, without doubt, check out more books by this author and I hope I’ve convinced you to give this a shot – like I said, if bad language is a turn off then it might not be for you – although, as it’s the dog….

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publishers, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

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18 Responses to “The Last Dog on Earth by Adrian J. Walker”

  1. sjhigbee

    What a brilliant review, Lynn:)). I’m so glad you loved this one, too. I think the writing is extraordinary.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I thought so too. And I loved Lineker.

      • sjhigbee

        Oh so did I! I’m not generally into crying over books these days, but I did have a lump in my throat during the second half of the book…

      • @lynnsbooks

        Yeah, it definitely hit the emotional buttons.
        Lynn 😀

  2. Tammy

    Ive heard such good things about this. Honestly the cover is not one that would make me grab this book, but sometimes covers are deceiving😀

    • @lynnsbooks

      This cover and title, I think, don’t do the book justice. That being said, there is quite a lot of bad language in this book, the humour might not work for everyone and it’s very UK centric – but, I loved it.
      Lynn 😀

  3. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    It would be next to impossible to resist the lure of such a passionate review! Your enjoyment of this book came across quite clearly, and it has piqued my curiosity – not to mention the fact that I’m looking forward to learning more about Lineker… 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      I loved Lineker, although with is bad language he might not be everyone’s cup of tea – but, I think you have to forgive him, he’s a dog. And, I loved his insights.
      Lynn 😀

  4. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    So glad to hear you wound up enjoying this one! I have to admit, based on the title and cover, I’d be unlikely to pick it up, but sounds like a great read.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I loved it but I know what you mean about the title and cover and I did pick this up with a sort of apprehensive feel. As it is I loved it – it is uk centric but Lineker makes a great character and I loved his insights.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Nicole Evans

    I loved your review of this! I hadn’t heard of it prior, but now I’m definitely intrigued. Thanks!

    • @lynnsbooks

      It was great – started very amusing, (but with a bit of bad language and also quite UK-centric) but then became much more serious. I thought it was very well done.
      Lynn 😀

  6. Jennifer | Book Den

    Yay! I’ve been so curious about this one. I love dog books and this one sounds awesome. You are not alone with annoying the other half that way. 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      Haha – good to know. I hope you get a chance to give it a go. I found Linker and his doggy insights very amusing – although the story does eventually turn more serious.
      Lynn 😀

  7. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Wow, this sounds really good and completely the opposite of what I thought it would be! I’m all for humorous, and I’m intrigued to hear that it made you laugh! I’m like that too, insisting on reading the funny parts out loud to my husband even though he has no clue what the book is talking about!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Haha – glad to know I’m not the only one with that annoying habit. I loved this, I was a bit apprehensive going in but I thought it was great – I think the only proviso I would make is that it is very London/UK centric in terms of terminology, etc.
      Lynn 😀

  8. Barb (boxermommyreads)

    I have a copy of this I received a few weeks ago. I had to order it from Book Depository to get it. Lineker sounds like a blast and I can’t wait to meet him. I actually like the cover as well too. Great review!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I loved Lineker – he did have terribly bad language but I just loved his doggy insights.
      I hope you enjoy.
      Lynn 😀

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