Brilliantly clever, fast-paced, raucously funny, sensitive and loving are the first words that come to mind when attempting to describe The Returns by M.K. Clinton.
It is rare that I read a 240-something page book in one sitting, but that is exactly what I did with The Returns. Ok, so an internet outage in our area helped, but if this book had not grabbed my attention with it’s many paws and NOT let go, I would have closed it, and found something else to do.
The Returns was influenced by M.K.’s dogs and cats that had come before, as well as some who she currently shares her life with. As M.K. has mentioned, without the pets she had shared her life with and loved before, The Returns would not be possible.
Have you ever stopped and pondered:
What happens if you arrive at the Pearly Gates before your time?
F.B.I. Agent Bentley Clanton finds out the hard way as he is directed to a little-known area devoted to correcting glitches in the longevity system. The Returns Department specializes in finding appropriate bodies for “early arrivals” before sending them back to earth. It seemed an acceptable solution until Bentley realizes his new body includes long velvety ears, four stubby legs with giant paws, and a tail. Helping him adjust to life as a Basset Hound is his rookie Guardian Angel, along with three other canine Returns.
The inspiration for Agent F.B.I. Agent Bentley Clanton came from Clinton’s own Basset Hound who just happens to also be named Bentley, the 4-legged Bentley even has a number seven that he was born with, emblazoned on his fur! (Agent Bentley Clanton, happens to have Badge #7).
You will have some great belly laughs as a delightful Golden Retriever with a penchant for saying prayers, and giving “high-fives” (Tucker), a feisty Chihuahua, (Jose Bones Juarez) who has “the short dog complex”, and a flamboyant Westie, (Pierre) think Liberace !! join Bentley to form an unlikely brotherhood of crime-fighting heroes. The Returns takes you on a fun-loving, junk food eating adventure through the exciting streets of New Orleans during Mardi Gras.
YES THESE DOGS CAN DRIVE!!
M.K. Clinton has a keen understanding of some of the unique traits of the different breeds of the canine characters featured in The Returns. In most cases, the BEST of these breeds are featured, and those characteristics that might not be that great, are woven into their personas in a side-splitting funny way! I LOVED how the personalities of each of the canine characters were depicted, they fit perfectly with my image of if dogs could talk, the way they are depicted in The Returns, is EXACTLY how I would expect them to speak in real-life!
SOME OF MY FAVORITE RETURNS MOMENTS:
The Guardian Angel’s name is, ready for this? Faith Fullilove (I told you this book is funny!) It is also sensitive, one of my favorite quotes came from Faith when Bentley was questioning why he was “returned” to Earth as a dog:
“We must never put a question mark where God puts a period, Bentley. Only a few souls are chosen to become dogs. It is the noblest of assignments. That is why dog is God spelled backwards.” she explained.”
While Bentley had Faith as his main Guardian Angel, there was also an unlikely feline Guardian Angel, Miss Gitty:
“She was an original cast member of CATS on Broadway. Now, she just prefers being a feline.”
Anyone that knows M.K. Clinton knows that she is first and foremost a dog lover. I would have to say that with her understanding and love for felines as is evident in The Returns, I prefer to think of her as an ANIMAL lover! Her depiction of Miss Gitty, everything from a cat’s thoughts, body language, etc., shows a deep understanding of the feline persuasion. Want proof? Another of my favorite quotes comes directly from Miss Gitty herself:The Returns Chapter 2: “The slender grey tabby nodded her head. “There are two ways of doing things around here… my way and the wrong way.”
SPOKEN AS A CAT SHOULD AND WOULD SPEAK!!
Last, and most assuredly not least, while there was so much that I loved about The Returns, I believe what I loved most is how M.K.’s love of the South, (her home and her roots), as well as her extensive knowledge of Louisiana, everything from the dialect, culture, food, historic haunts, and places of note, are, along with her love of her furbabies current and past, the core of this marvelous book. Now, if you will please excuse me, after reading The Returns I have an incredible craving for a deliciously sinful Beignet!!!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: M.K. CLINTON: By her own admission is a GRITS…Girl Raised In The South. She has been married to her best friend for over 31 years. She has two grown children. Her other “children” include a four-legged hairy child, Bentley, who is trapped in the body of a Bassett Hound. For the time being, she has her grand-dog Pierre, the Westie staying with her. Her family enjoys playing, making each other laugh, and spending time together. They are also HUGE LSU Football fans. M.K. has a blog:Barking from the Bayou where she shares funny stories, important dog information, product reviews, and dog care tips. An active and greatly loved and admired member of the BlogPaws Community, M.K. is a BlogPaws Ambassador and Head of the BlogPaws Conference Newbies Group for the 2015 BlogPaws Conference which will be held in Nashville, Tennessee at the end of May.
GIVE-AWAY!!! M.K. has generously offered ONE of my readers the chance to win a copy of The Returns for themselves! (Either in paper back or as an e-book)This give-away is open WORLD-WIDE! It begins NOW and will end on Tuesday, March 10th. Entering is easy! Just leave a comment telling me if you would like The Returns in traditional paperback form if you win, or as an e-book. GOOD LUCK!
In full disclosure: I was not compensated for this review/give-away. I was sent a copy of The Returns (which came packaged in a box overflowing with confetti! One of the nicest book presentations I have received thus far), in exchange for my honest review. I would like to thank M.K. for her patience and understanding because I had to postpone this review at least THREE times before finally posting it!