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The Voice of the Dog

The Voice of the Dog

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Last Kid Books
5 X 8 in
300 pg

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Farfel has sworn an oath to serve and protect the people of New York. Unfortunately, his master is killing the people of New York. 

Farfel is a German shepherd and a retired NYPD K-9 police officer. Early in David Benjamin’s new novel, a dark comedy called The Voice of the Dog, Farfel realizes that his new master, Reggie Stockwell, is murdering people in one of the nicer neighborhoods of Brooklyn. Reggie, perhaps the most sexually frustrated man in all of New York, has determined to kill as many lovers as he can — especially women—in hopes of starting a trend that results in the end of sex as we know it. 

Farfel’s only hope to end the carnage is to talk Reggie out of the next murder, or maybe the murder after that. 

As Farfel explains in The Voice of the Dog, all dogs can talk. Unfortunately, the rare human who understands Dogspeak is usually either a lunatic or a little kid. Reggie, who’s nuts, understands every word Farfel utters.

Farfel can say all he wants, but he’s not allowed to interfere in any way with Reggie’s bloodthirsty campaign. Like every dog since time immemorial, Farfel lives by the Code of the Dog, which reads in part: 

“I pledge absolute, lifelong allegiance to the master who has rescued me from the wilderness, the back alley and beastliness, who has saved me from the needle, who… glorifies me above all other creatures—cats especially—as Man’s Best Friend, and to the species for which he stands, one humankind over all dogs, pedigreed and mongrel, champions and mutts, with twice-daily walks and rawhide chew-toys for all.”

Reggie roams the streets of gentrified Brooklyn, stalking women, whom he regards as the evil instigators of sexual corruption. Reggie discovers that if he brings his dog to his murders, he escapes all police suspicion. He looks like a Brooklyn dog-owner dragged outdoors in the wee hours by a pet with diarrhea. 

While walking Farfel in Fort Greene Park one day, Reggie meets Gloria, who is exercising her poodle, Cupcake. When Reggie overcomes his shyness and dates Gloria, he loses control and attacks her. She escapes death only because Farfel “helps” Reggie so clumsily that Gloria gets away.

Months later, after Reggie has murdered more women and made himself famous through “manifestos,” under the pseudonym Moses, printed in the New York tabloids, Gloria and Reggie reconcile. Despite Farfel’s objections, they schedule another date.

Farfel must choose between Gloria’s safety and the Code. Cupcake, a Code of the Dog fundamentalist, offers Farfel no way out. If Reggie wants to murder Cupcake’s mistress, Farfel has to help him—while Cupcake hides under a chair.

In The Voice of the Dog, a tale told by one of New York’s more literate, articulate and erudite dogs, Farfel reveals facets of canine society that are unknown to mere humans. Most dogs, for example, are multilingual, able to communicate with other dogs of many nationalities as well as with humans. Because they are “trained” on newspapers, most dogs learn to read in puppyhood. Dogs know, also, that every human has a unique smell, a “noseprint” that can be discerned (by a dog) from great distances. 

Dogs are closer to God than humans. God has long since given up on talking with humans, who keep disappointing him. But he still whispers the occasional “Good dog,” or “Go lie down” to his canine subjects

And of course, all dogs go to Heaven.

In The Voice of the Dog, author David Benjamin has created a variation on two true crimes. The most famous of these two mass-murder cases is the “Son of Sam” saga in New York, in which David Berkowitz claimed he was told to kill by Sam, his neighbor’s dog. A second source is the 140-page “manifesto” issued by California spree murderer Elliot Rodger. Before killing himself (and five innocent people), Rodger wrote a chronicle of self-pity and vindictiveness called “My Twisted World” that would be hard to believe if it weren’t available, word-for-word, on the Internet. 

David Benjamin
Author Bio

David Benjamin is a lifelong storyteller. His fiction includes The Life and Times of the Last Kid Picked and seven books under his new imprint, Last Kid Books: Three’s a Crowd, A Sunday Kind of Love, Almost Killed by a Train of Thought: Collected Essays, Summer of ’68, Skulduggery in the Latin Quarter, Black Dragon and Jailbait.  As a journalist, Benjamin has edited newspapers, published and edited several magazines, and authored SUMO: A Thinking Fan’s Guide to Japan’s National Sport. In its first year, Benjamin’s imprint, Last Kid Books, won six independent press awards. His essays have appeared in publications that include the Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Examiner, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, EE Times and Common Dreams. Benjamin and his wife Junko Yoshida have been married for ages. They live sometimes in Madison, Wisconsin and sometimes in Paris.