It’s no secret that I love animals and I share my household with two Labrador retrievers and two cats. My top dog “Sarge” (photo above) is enjoying a nice swim at the beach. Life just wouldn’t be the same without some type of furry companion included in my day-to-day routines.
It actually got me thinking about how animals and pets can influence a novel. It can be any type of genre, like mystery, romance, and even sci-fi where a fido-type of character can be integrated to enhance a character or storyline.
Many years ago, I read my first Dean Koontz novel called Watchers. What made me pick up this book was the interesting storyline with a smart canine wrapped up in a supernatural thriller, along with a government conspiracy. One of the important supporting characters was a stray dog. Needless to say, I was hooked on Koontz’s books after that story.
I was recently introduced to a fun mystery series by Spencer Quinn. I laughed out loud when I picked up the book Dog On It and read the first few pages. This story actually has the dog’s point-of-view as a character in the book. I highly recommend this series for anyone who loves a good mystery, many laughs, and the best sidekick any main character could ask for in a story. It’s a steal on Amazon Kindle for 99 cents.
In 2011, I was inspired to write a thriller, Silent Partner, with a California police K9 unit on the heels of a serial killer. It definitely adds another dimension to your story, but I loved the challenge. When I created the Emily Stone Series, I included a large Labrador to add to vigilante detective’s reclusive and covert life.
I’m in the process of creating another thriller/mystery series where the protagonist has an eight-foot Python as his home security. Now, I have you thinking again!
I think that any type of animal friend, whether it is a dog, cat, bird, or even a tarantula can always add to the storyline and create more character depth. These four-legged (or eight-legged) friends don’t have to be a main or supporting character, but it gives another dimension to the story that readers can relate to. It can up the suspense, create a nice pause in a stressful story, or give that unexpected laugh.
Some examples of furry and even feathered characters could be the happy dog that greets the homicide detective when he comes home from a hard day, the two Siamese cats that inspire the horror writer in the midnight hour, or even the parrot that mocks the serial killer after he’s returned home with a fresh victim.
What’s your favorite book with an animal character?
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