Jude's Reviews > Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership with a Search-and-Rescue Dog

Scent of the Missing by Susannah Charleson
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's review
Feb 20, 2012

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Read from February 17 to 19, 2012

"In the long light of early morning, Hunter circles what remains of a burned house, his nose low and brow furrowed. The night's thick air has begun to lift, and the German Shepherd's movement catches the emerging sun. He is a shining thing against the black of scorched brick, burned timber, and nearby tree charred leafless."

Charleson writes so well, I kept looking for a co-writer credit. The book is a nice mix of personal experience, insights into the search and rescue world, and observations on dogs. The story arc is there, loosely, as Charleson trains as an SAR volunteer, then gets a puppy, and trains with the puppy, but, for me, as interesting as the information was, the story did not propel me forward. I didn't feel a real emotional stake/connection. This is probably because I love books about dogs a lot more than books about people relating their internal experiences alongside dogs. The latter is too focused on the person, whereas I love more insight and attention paid to the canine protagonist. For instance, I loved Patricia McConnell's book "The Other End of the Leash," but barely made it through Suzanne Clothier's "Bones Would Rain From the Sky."

"Other nights a blanket of stratiform cloud stretched wide above the little Cessna, and I flew small and secret, like a child with a flashlight under the blanket, flying beneath an eiderdown beautifully up-lit at its edges by the lights of cities on the horizon."

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02/18/2012 page 173
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