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The Unscratchables

3.6  ·  Rating details ·  179 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
Animal Farm meets The Simpsons in this inventive twist on the hard-boiled detective novel, featuring a world made up exclusively of cats, dogs, and one ruthless fox...

Bull terrier Crusher McNash is a no-nonsense homicide detective who eats out of  the can and only bathes when his boss orders  him  to.  He’s  just  been thrownaboneaboutagruesome case involving Rottweilers
Paperback, 259 pages
Published July 7th 2009 by Scribner (first published February 2nd 2009)
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Community Reviews

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Rating details
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Jan 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-read-in
When I was reading The Unscratchables by Cornelius Kane I could not stop smiling. I just really enjoyed reading this book. And when it was done, I was sad to know that he never went on to write more in what easily could have been and entertaining series of novels. But when I sat down to write this review and really started thinking about why I liked the book I became stumped. Why did I like this novel? Looking at it critically all I can do is scratch my head in confusion and wonderment.

Let’s sta
Sep 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries-noir
The observant among my followers and friends may have observed that I added this book to the Currently Reading shelf and it moved to the Read shelf in less than 24 hours.

This celerity reflects two things: (1) I'm on vacation at the moment and have even more time than usual to read; and (2) the literary heft of this social satire.

It's not a bad or unenjoyable read. Kane creates a world of Dogs and Cats that mirrors modern Western civilization in its growing inequality between Haves (mainly the Ca
Kara Jorges
Dec 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
Crusher McNash is not thrilled when a murder case gets him paired with Siamese cat Cassius Lap. Crusher, a bull terrier, is not only worried about his image having to be seen around town with a cat, he also doesn’t like the way Lap is able to make him obey commands. The pair investigate some mysterious murders where rottweillers are torn apart by an ordinary housecat, which is only the tip of the iceberg in a nefarious scheme. While they try to solve the crime, Lap makes McNash aware of the psyc ...more
La Stamberga dei Lettori
L'arcinoto dilemma se faccia più notizia un cane che morde il padrone o viceversa si adatta bene a questo tentativo, tutto sommato non privo di interesse, di portare una critica di stampo sociale non proprio originale in una realtà a quattro zampe.

Una serie di omicidi rischiano di portare a galla la trama che si nasconde dietro una campagna elettorale "strana" e gettano squarci di luce sinistra sul tentativo del gotha finanziario di prendere il controllo dell'umanità. Pardon, della caninità e de
Oct 26, 2016 added it
When I started reading this, I thought I might not get far as it seemed kind of corny at first, the feline and canine puns were a bit much. But as I ventured further into The Kennels and Kathattan I realized this crime tale was much more than cheesy jokes. It really had claws, it had bite, and actually turned out to be a decent social commentary on today's society. Very good read, I'm glad I stuck with it.
Katelyn Bolds
Apr 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Interesting read. I both loved and hated it. Hilarious at some moments and idiotically inane at others, it has a brilliance unto itself. As a writer, I can't imagine how complicated rewriting our world into a world of cats and dogs, so in that way, I tip my hat to Mr. Kane. I can't say the book was completely my taste however relying on puns and turns of common phrases into dog- and catspeak.
Jan 04, 2010 rated it liked it
This was a fun and surprisingly good murder mystery set in a world entirely populated by anthropomorphized dogs and cats. When two canine gangsters are murdered, no-nonsense bull terrier Detective Crusher McNash is paired (much to his chagrin) with a cultured Siamese from the Feline Bureau of Investigation, Cassius Lap. Together they make a sort of Oscar and Felix combo.

As you may predict, the pet puns come at you a mile a minute. With so much wordplay, it’s not surprising that many of the gags
Jason Murphy
Jun 02, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery
So there's a dog detective trying to solve a gruesome murder. Clues begin to point to the murderer being... A CAT! So a prissy cat from Kathattan, from the FBI (Feline Bureau of Investigation) joins the investigation. But the dog detective hates Siamese cats! Will they get along? No. But then yes.

There are all the archetypes of the dime store novel, but as dogs or cats. Mob bosses, corrupt side kick cops, insane serial killers, etc. The "Hannibal Lector" character is named Quentin Riossiti. Q. R
Jann Barber
Nov 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
I found this book on the shelves in the rehab facility and it was peculiar, but intriguing.

The name Cornelius Kane is the pseudonym for a well known Australian author, but I have no idea who this might be. I went to the Cornelius Kane page on Simon and Schuster and enjoyed reading "Author Revealed" comments. For example: Q. WHAT ARE YOUR MOST OVERUSED WORDS OR PHRASES? A. Do that again and I'll kill ya. Q. WHAT DO YOU REGRET MOST? A. Last time I said that

- See more at: http://authors.simonandsch
Oct 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most unique and funny books I’ve read lately. It combines the style of a Raymond Chandler novel with the whimsy of Babe. Picture a world inhabited only by animals, where cats and dogs are the dominant species, but they go about their daily lives and jobs as humans would in our world.

The writing is brisk and sharp. I found it amazing how many items, acts, and events in our world could be transposed into feline and canine descriptions, as well as animal characters. McNash’s down
Greg Rothenberger
Jul 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
This was a surprisingly good book. The author, Australian Cornelius Kane, has an impressive understanding of the noir genre. He has the ability to write a noir story with cats and dogs as the main characters, and write it as well as Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler.

The Unscratchables is the story of a dog (a former POW and veteran of the Siamese war) who has to team up with a Siamese cat in order to capture a feral cat on a murderous rampage in the Kennels of Kathattan island. I don't want t
Dec 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
I will open with the one negative thing I have to say. I had trouble telling what the time frame was supposed to be. Based on Crusher’s past, it seemed like it might be post-WWII or possibly Vietnam since the main genre focus is on the 1950s detective genre. But there were references to Wizard Whelp, Jack Russell Crowe, and other more modern pop culture phenomena. It was hard to tell.

Other than that, Kane did a great job painting it like an animal’s world with language: janglers instead of phone
Oct 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Great flop house reading. Loved it. Grab a bowl of cream and a red rubber bone.

So many good lines in this book. Two that I remember:
1-the umbrella was so small it could've been use for a pina colada
2-insanity-the diminished responsibility defense

So many great concepts in this book reflecting the likes of our human society:
"I suppose you think populations are suppressed with infantilization, Mr. McNash-is that what Dr. Riossiti told you? Nothing of the sort. They suppress themselves. With consume
Feb 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
When a couple of gangsters are brutally murdered and a unique killer is suspected, Detective Crusher McNash is forced to team up with a well-dressed, Jaguar-driving, FBI agent. The two must overcome their initial dislike as well as deeply held prejudices in order to work together to find the killer and unravel an awesome conspiracy that reaches from fixed boxing matches all the way to the Presidential election. Just your average hard-bitten crime story you think? Not quite! McNash is a take no p ...more
Aug 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2013
(Humor, fiction 2009) A familiar theme - cat (Feline Bureau of Investigation) vs dog (police force detective), but must work together to achieve - set in a crime thriller. This book was a hoot! Totally enjoyed the plot development, the movie references, the social references, the ... whole book! I found myself laughing frequently as I raced through the story to find out who-dun-it after all. I don't know if it would do as a series, as part of the fun was the surprising way in which common phrase ...more
Aug 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A detective novel set in a New York without humans, where the civilization consists of sentient dogs and cats with 1940s-era technology. (Must. Not. Make. Puns.) In true noir style, there are mobsters, drop-dead dames, and corruption in high places. But this isn't "Who Framed Roger Rabbit." The fantasy elements aren't played for laughs; they're an integral part of the story. Which isn't to say the book isn't funny in places - but what it sends up is crime movies, with homages to many of the genr ...more
Aug 19, 2009 rated it liked it
I was intrigued by the premise of the book when I read a review somewhere. The cover definitely caught my eye. I liked the story for the most part, but had a hard time getting through the dog-talk, cat-talk, etc. It started distracting me from the story. I did finish it and if this is a series, I'll likely give the next one a try. Now that the relationship of Crusher and Cassius is established, they can get on with the crime solving....and butt sniffing and sandbox kicking and soy milk drinking ...more
L.C. Hu
Nov 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. I picked up this book at a discount thinking I'd just get an extremely goofy, possibly unreadable animal mystery. Instead I got an extremely entertaining mystery-satire with two likeable leads and lots of nods to the mystery genre AND animals in pup--er, pop culture. Beware, though, if you aren't into puns. There are more of them than you can shake a stick at.

A very fun ride. There are some more serious themes, but I recommend taking it as a smarter-than-your-average-dog noir parody
Sep 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animali, favorites
Un giallo animalesco simpaticissimo! Crusher fa sempre un po' la figura del beone e vicino a Lap ogni tanto passa per tonto, ma è davvero divertente leggere di due universi così diversi, come quelli degli abbaioni e dei miagolanti, riuniti in amicizia. Che poi Crusher ha bisogno di qualcuno che lo guidi e Lap, con le nozioni imparate al corso universitario di psicologia canina, sa sempre che parole usare: "Fermo!", "Qui, subito!". Uno scodinzolante può mica resistere! E Crusher arriva persino a ...more
Aug 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Very cute - crime novel a la noir stories of the past. Except instead of people, the stars are cats and dogs. Cats living in the high-society streets of Kathattan and dogs, considered the dumber and less worthy species, living in the The Kennels. Crusher McNash, bull terrier cop, teams with Cassius Lap, a siamese cat with the Feline Bureau of Investigation, to solve the mystery of murder, mind-control, and world domination. Fun read!
Oct 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Ladiibbug by: Ft. Worth Library Mystery Newsletter
Cat & Dog Characters only -- no humans

A "noir" mystery featuring a serial killer ;-)


Although I am in quite a reading slump, this book didn't even begin to interest me :-(. I bought this new-to-me author's book as I was tickled by the thought of a crime thriller featuring only dogs and cats as characters. For me it just fell flat.
Jan 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult, dogs, mystery
This was very cleverly written about Crusher, a police bulldog and Lap, an agent of the FBI (Feline...) who team up to solve a mystery involving what appears to be a serial killer of the large cat variety. There are multiple allusions to real life places and celebrities, that take on a whole new meaning when looked at from the point of view of an animal based society.
I thought it was very good - especially the last line (except for the epilogue)
NOT children's lit!
Aug 08, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: doggies, mystery, weirdo
A campy play on the hard-boiled police procedural genre. In this world there are no humans, and the cats are the superior species who have kept the dogs down for centuries through a variety of subjugation tactics (mainly by stalling advances in anti-flea medicine). I liked the class struggle angle, because without it, this would have just been a cheesy spoof. Cassius Lap, the agent with the Feline Bureau of Investigation, is awesome. Lots of riffs on popular culture.
Mar 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
What a fun book! This film-noir style satire was not only hilariously "punny", but a well-written novel with well-conceived, lovable characters and a solid plot. My only real complaint was the lack of Australian Cattle Dogs... so I do hope that any sequels include this breed! And I do hope that there will be a sequel, or maybe even a whole series! This is certainly a strong foundation! Kane is obviously a talented, not to mention funny, writer and I do hope to see more of Crusher and Lap!
Rex Libris
Sep 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A great parody of the cop/detective novel. Hammett and Spillane crossed with every dog and cat pun one can think of. A bull terrier police detective is teamed up with a siamese cat from the FBI (Feline Bureau Investigation) to investigate a murderous cat on the rampage. What they find is a secret plot of cats attemtpingto psychologically control dogs.
Dec 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
It took me a little while to get used to everything being cat and dog names, or words that cats or dogs would use to describe everyday items. However, once you get used to the style it is a fun and interesting read. I definitely enjoyed this book and would recommend this to others who like dogs or cats, or both.
Lisa Hoenig
Jul 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Chock-full of cat and dog puns, this hard-boiled crime novel is very entertaining. I am not usually much of a mystery reader, but a review of this book caught my eye and added it to my list. Lots of pet psychology and social manipulation through dog food advertising -- themes of consumerism and blind following of media messages that resonate with the real world.
Mar 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tpl
The universe Kane has created doesn't bear much scrutiny, but if you run with it, you'll be off on an enjoyable romp.

In Crusher, Kane has created a unique noir hero, you average incorruptible straight-shooting cop with bad luck in love and a dark history. Somehow, giving the cop four paws, a tail, and a feline partner make us
Jul 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I don't usually read books from dog's points of view, being more of a cat person, but this was written in the style of an old noir novel and had such a good sense of humor that it was a fun summer read. It's particularly entertaining if you know and love either dogs or cats, or if you're familiar with the New York City area. I really enjoyed it.
Feb 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: noir, detective
The eternal tension between cats and dogs, in a noir-ish detective story. The novel is quite amusing, with some inventive language on the theme of dogs and cats, from the dog narrator, Crusher McNash. But after a while it felt mostly gimmicky (how many dog/cat puns can I think of), and it had me wondering how serious the book was trying to be about its criticism of society/media etc.
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