Nose Down, Eyes Up

By Merrill Markoe

Gil is a laid-back guy. A handy-man with a perpetual live-in job at a ritzy Malibu summer house for a richer-than-anyone-needs-to be retired couple, Gil happily works on their unending reno projects with his pack of four adoptee dogs at his side. Sure, he isn’t rich and has commitment-phobia (his ex-wife took care of that), but with the owners always away, Gil and the dogs have a pretty easy life, where they answer to no one and where it is always “beer-thirty”. Until the owners announce their imminent return. So Gil and the dogs have to move into his flaky girlfriend’s tiny home with her dogs. Sara is a “dog communicator”, but according to Jimmy, she always gets it wrong, and Jimmy should know – he’s Gil’s dog. That’s right, along with all the other upheaval, Gil suddenly finds he can hear and talk to his dogs – any dogs – like they were human, except they never think or say what we think they’re thinking or saying, and that’s when it gets a bit chaotic for poor Gil. For instance, Jimmy’s sage advice to the other dogs is “nose down, eyes up” will get a dog anything he wants. Plus, after years of being told he’s a “good boy”, Jimmy has come to believe that he is a higher, hybrid creature, half-canine, half-human, and is devastated when he learns that he is all dog. He insists on meeting his birth-mom – who happens to live with the ex-wife – and then refuses to leave his new pack. Soon Gil is trapped with his overly-friendly ex-wife, her jealous new husband and the detective he hired to spy on her. Gil heads for the hills to escape the coming catastrophe, gets into more trouble (with women), and gladly heads back to get Jimmy after his ex-wife’s marriage implodes. Only once he arrives in Malibu, he is met with raging wildfires that are engulfing most of the coast – and the guesthouse where Jimmy was left. Full of canine-human insights, foul language and screwed-up relationships, Nose Down, Eyes Up is nevertheless a very funny and heart-warming book, sure to have any dog-owner looking at their companions in a whole new light. Click here to find Nose Down, Eyes Up in the SPL on-line catalogue.


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