For Officer Pete Murphy, K-9 duty is as much a punishment as a promotion. Pete's a good cop with a lousy reputation, thanks to a recent scandal involving a local judge who he was assigned to protect. The resulting media coverage dealt the Chicago PD a scarcely needed blow to its reputation, and Pete's orders are to keep his profile low and his name out of the papers. But when a shaky arrest reignites the scandal and triggers a multimillion-dollar lawsuit, all eyes are on Pete as the department braces for another media firestorm.
Meanwhile, Pete's eleven-year-old son, Joel, is feeling invisible. His parents barely seem to notice him—unless they're having another fight about his "behavioral problems"—and his older sister, McKenna, has lately disappeared into the strange and frightening world of teenagerdom. About the only friend Joel has left is Lieutenant Commander Edward Henry Butch O'Hare—a.k.a. Butchie, his father's German Shepherd "partner" on K-9 patrol, and the one creature on Earth who's never too busy to listen to Joel's problems.
When Joel and Butchie follow McKenna to a backyard party attended by a group of neighborhood gangbangers, the smell of marijuana kicks the dog's police instincts into overdrive. Butchie springs into action, biting the leg of one partygoer and causing the accidental shooting of another. Soon Joel and Butchie are on the run, navigating the streets of Chicago as they try to stay one step ahead of the teenaged thugs—thugs who turn out to have a very personal interest in getting some payback on Officer Pete Murphy.
Read a deleted scene from The Good Boy:
"For all the dog books currently in vogue, it's hard to beat this one for canine verisimilitude or talent. Butchie is a fully credible character, and he's arguably a lot more human than some of the book's other players...The dog elevates a fairly conventional detective story into something much more lovable."
—The New York Times (read the full review)
"...a brooding, world-wise, humane piece of crime fiction...alive with a distinctive urban rustle." 4 1/2 Stars
—USA Today (read the full review)
"[a] nail-biter from Edgar-winner Schwegel.... The reader will empathize with everyone from Pete, who has his heart in the right place but makes several wrong turns, to Butch, who never speaks yet says volumes."
"You won't be able to look away."
"Part crime story, part coming-of-age story and a wonderful tale about the bond between dogs and humans, The Good Boy is terrific."
—The Day Connecticut (read the full review)
"An engrossing story about a cop who is bone-tired, his eleven-year-old son, and the K-9 his son is desperate to protect."
"This is one 'made-up' story you will not soon forget. And you will have grown so close to its characters, including Butch, that you will wonder and worry about where life will take them."
—Chicago Tribune (read the full review)
"[Schwegel] create[s] a universe of believable characters of all ages and ethnicities... she manages to somehow inhabit their heads. Such empathy is nothing less than a gift, one shared by writers of only the very highest caliber. In this new novel, she manages to get inside the head of an 11-year-old boy."
—Mystery Scene Magazine
"[Following] Joel and Butch as they sleep rough and live dangerously on the streets of modern-day Chicago make the novel well worth your time and attention."
"This is my favorite book for November, by an author who's new to me but already has an Edgar under her belt for best first novel. An 11-year-old boy takes off on an odyssey across Chicago with his father's police dog, to set things right for his family. Schwegel alternates showing us his progress across the city, his family's attempts to find him and an exploration of what brought the family to this low point. She is able to show us how it feels on the inside when someone outwardly just seems to be behaving badly, and the family interactions here are every bit as tense as the police scenes. The irresistible combo of precocious boy, well-trained dog and big bad city makes this one hard to put down."
—The Charlotte Observer
"Theresa Schwegel returns with another powerhouse of a crime novel, and it is her finest work to date. The Good Boy is a vivid, nuanced, and emotional tale told in prose that crackles with electricity. The characters are real, their world is our own, and their stories the kind that linger long after the last page is turned. At once a thriller and a beautifully rendered family story, it simply won't disappoint."
—Bestselling author Michael Koryta
"The Good Boy is a terrific piece of crime writing—propulsive action paired with the authentic sounds of a city on the make. Theresa Schwegel's ear for dialogue is pitch-perfect—from the station house to the streets, from cops to robbers to teens, Schwegel serves up fully-realized characters who pop off the page. An essential read."
—Bestselling author Gillian Flynn
Minotaur Books, hardcover, November 2013, ISBN: 9781250001795