“Metzger’s Dog”

“Metzger’s Dog” by Thomas Perry is one of the most unusual and at the same time one of the best “thrillers” that I have read. It is hilarious, suspenseful, and just a pleasure to read. At a recent book signing event, Perry was asked which of his books his favorite was, and he immediately chose “Metzger’s Dog.” Now I know why; this book is fantastic; I could not stop laughing and cringing at the same time.

It is hard to adequately describe the book without giving away critical “plot points,” so I will just say that unusual details make this book compelling and entertaining. The story features a dog, a dark, dangerous, panting, drooling dog, owned by Dr. Henry Metzger who is really the only one not petrified of “the dog.” People are afraid that “the dog” will get hungry and eat the mail carrier or an entire kindergarten class.

In a plot that could be from today’s news rather than a book published in 1983, Leroy “Chinese” Gordon and his band of  only moderately competent  drug dealers and thieves stumble upon a government “Black Ops” operation that seeks to bring down  “enemy” governments from the inside by creating citizen unrest. The “team” plans to foster distrust of local governments through media campaigns that accuse governments of reprehensible events,   everything from allowing contaminated baby food to producing toxic tampons. Of course, all of this is just “fake news” and none of these events would actually happen. The unknowing but believing population would rebel against the nasty government, and the economy would collapse. The now “liberated” citizenry would eagerly allow outside countries to help the new government, and market resources such as petroleum reserves.

“Metzger’s Dog” is a masterpiece, full of wacky characters and frighteningly realistic suspense. It also provides a startling look at the use of media to manipulate people and governments. I laughed all the way through, but came away with a new perception of media, fake news, and social manipulation, oh and a healthy respect for dangerous, panting, drooling dogs.