Hyperion (237 Park Ave., New York, NY 10017), 2013. 256 pages, paperback. $17.00.
Reviewed by Debra J. White
Dog Gone, Back Soon is a sequel to The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs, a veterinary mystery novel by Nick Trout, VMD, published in May 2013. British-born and educated, Trout authored three works of nonfiction before turning to writing novels: Tell Me Where It Hurts (2009), Love Is The Best Medicine (2011), and Ever By My Side (2012.)
In Tell Me Where It Hurts, a best-seller, Trout recalls that he “compressed 25 years of veterinary experiences into 24 crazy hours at my place of work, Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston,” the flagship institution of the Massachusetts SPCA. The plot of The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs occupied a comparatively expansive whole week, in which veterinary pathologist Cyrus Mills inherited his father’s veterinary practice, called Bedside Manor, in Eden Falls, Vermont.
Eden Falls is a fictional community previously featured in the 2003 murder mystery Eden Falls, by Richard Mindell, not to be confused with Eden Mills, Vermont, a remote former asbestos-mining village south of Jay Peak, whose post office serves about 1,100 people. The nearest vet to Eden Mills is about six miles away; the two next nearest are almost 40 miles away.
Trout in Dog Gone, Back Soon revisits Eden Falls for a week during which Bedside Manor is economically threatened by competition from Healthy Paws, a veterinary chain. Healthy Paws, with more staff and better financing, is determined to put Bedside Manor out of business. But Cyrus Mills doesn’t back down easily.
Doris, his only employee, is a nosy “chain-smoking, beehive-wearing, g eriatric receptionist,” who sniffs out “more intelligence than a CIA drone.” Doris finds out when Healthy Paws is ready to pounce on Bedside Manor with tricks to lure away patients. But Mills. retains patients including a boxer with an unexplained illness, a Jersey cow acting weird, and a sickly human resident who wants the vet to help end his life with animal drugs––which Mills refuses to do. But Mills does bend veterinary rules somewhat when a young man brings in a dog sickened by ingesting marijuana, and Mills does not tell the family the true nature of the dog’s illness. A further plot twist evolves when Mills dates his competition, fellow veterinarian Winn Honey.