Book Review: The Last Dogs

The Dobermans were closing up on them fast. Max, Rocky, and Gizmo stopped dead. If they crossed the bridge, Dolph and his wolves would tear them apart. The Last Dogs: The Vanishing by Christopher Holt is an adventurous story about three dogs searching for the humans who deserted an entire city.  In the story, the author uses suspense, irony and imagery to keep the reader glued to the pages.

In the beginning, Max, a yellow Labrador Retriever who is joined by a small Dachshund called Rocky, set out to find the missing people and Madame Curie, a black Lab who can sometimes predict future events. Whether fighting wolves or escaping fires, they always have adventures the reader never could have predicted. When they get to a town, they are stopped by a poodle who wants everyone to be renamed so that no human can ever control them. He also wants dogs to live with him, obey him, and bring him kibble. Then, when they finally escape, they are joined by a Yorkshire Terrier called Gizmo who knows everyone’s real name, including a Doberman’s who ran away earlier.

Later in the story, canine heroes Max, Rocky, and Gizmo have to befriend a house full of cats, and, with expert lies from Rocky, outsmart a gang of subway rats. “Gonna get the mutts! Gonna gnaw their butts!” the rats chanted. The author uses suspense as the rats surround them.

Towards the end, the confident trio has met several clans of dogs: the Enclave in the woods led by a crazy poodle, the wolves challenging dogs for a bag of kibble, the subway dogs who are trying to survive on subway rats, and finally the most unorganized beasts trying their luck on the streets, “Don’t wanna to eat them… don’t wanna to get eaten- wanna eat you!” Now they must face their biggest challenge of all: the Corporation, a “perfect” society for dogs by dogs – in a skyscraper!

They find Madame on a deserted floor of the building. She explained that if she left the room the Chairman (the Doberman from the Enclave) would lock her into the basement, or what he called jail. At that exact moment, a guard dog came around and threw Max, Rocky, and Gizmo into jail. The last words Madame told them was to find the humans, no matter what. Holt describes that scene so well, that I could almost feel Max’s soft golden fur and Madame’s old, wiry coat.

At the end of the story, Holt uses irony to shape the final scene. When Max, Rocky, and Gizmo had escaped from the basement and they were chased by five Corporation dogs, including the Chairman himself, all they had to do was let Gizmo take charge. “Precious, sit! Precious, stay!” she yipped. Upon hearing his real name, the Chairman obeyed. When the Corporation Dobermans saw their leader sit, they sat, too. Now there was only one problem… they were cornered a bridge by the Corporation dogs and on the other side, Max’s old enemy Dolph and his wolf pack. “You’ve made an enemy of the alpha” Dolph sneered. So they leapt off the bridge into the freezing river. When they were safely on shore, they watched, entertained as the wolves and the Dobermans tackled each other into the raging river and floated away downstream.

Christopher Holt again created a suspense-filled story that you can’t stop reading. It is quite disappointing to find that you have read the entire book. I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes dogs, action-adventure, fiction, and, of course, kibble.

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