Is Crime Fiction Going to the Dogs?


It’s no secret that I’m a dog lover. In fact, I cannot imagine my life without at least one canine buddy in my household. The toughest part of having a dog, or any pet for that matter, is that their life is relatively short. The sadness of losing any pet is great, but the benefits and happiness of their lifespan together with us offers so much more.

My first dog, when I was two-years-old, was a rescued two-year-old Golden Retriever named Gina. We grew up together and were the same age, which made it a bit more special. I took to animals almost immediately and dogs were no different. I’ve had many dogs in my life, some rescued, some stray, and some from reputable breeders. I love all dogs, but I seem to gravitate to larger dog breeds like retrievers and shepherds, or some combination of sporting or hunting dog.

I’ve trained my dogs in all sorts of areas: advanced obedience, agility, dock diving, trailing and tracking, and scent detection. It’s been quite an experience with each dog. I’ve primarily have had Labradors Retrievers and they have been very different in personalities, but all had extremely high play drives. My latest training adventure is with a rescued German shepherd named Odin. He has proven to be my biggest challenge yet, but it’s a challenge I love.

My experience with dog training got me thinking. Every dog has a different personality just like people. What a great way to incorporate another element into a fictional story.

Here are some of the reasons I have incorporated dogs into my crime fiction stories:

  • Dogs add a more personal element to any fictional character
  • Dogs are relatable by many people
  • Dogs give more depth to a fictional story
  • Dogs remind us of love, honesty, and loyalty
  • Dogs are a great way to relieve tension in a suspenseful story

My award-winning Emily Stone Thriller Series has a black Lab companion for the heroine. The dog isn’t a main driving character, but adds to the main character’s depth.

My latest crime series is a California Police K9 Series, which highlights K9 police officers. I’ve received recently many emails and social media comments about the silver award winning series.


Recent reviews and comments for Silent Partner:

“The use of a K9 partner is what sets this book apart from other crime thrillers.”

“The inclusion of the K9 unit was very interesting; the author seemed rather knowledgeable about the subject, which I appreciated.”

“I think the K9 influence is very clever and adds a great deal of substance to the read; I don’t think I’ve ever seen a book that focuses on the perspective of a police K9 unit so I give the author points for originality in that regard.”

If you’re writing any kind of story, try incorporating a dog or any kind of animal for that matter and see what positive changes it can have on your storyline.

Some of my inspirations:


Trucker had an extreme intelligence and was trained in scent detection.


Sarge loved the water and excelled at dock diving.









My new rescue dog Odin. He’s quite a handful, but we’re still a work in progress 🙂

I would love to hear your thoughts on dogs in fictional stories.


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About jchasenovelist

Published thriller author, criminologist, and blogger.
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1 Response to Is Crime Fiction Going to the Dogs?

  1. Sean P Carlin says:

    In most stories — like, say, the Emily Stone series — the dog is an appendage or extension of the protagonist, there to flesh him out and contribute to the sense of empathy and/or tension the author is attempting to evoke; e.g., Will Smith’s dog in I Am Legend. Even Chewbacca, who is more than a pet, but not quite a best friend, represents a “localized trait reversal” in Han Solo: Though Han operates strictly as a loner (at least when we first meet him), he keeps Chewie around as a form of companionship that isn’t as demanding as another person (like, later, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia) who might challenge his ethics.

    The one genre in which a pet can actually serve as co-protagonist, with a fully developed trait profile of his own, is the type of story known as Buddy Love — specifically, the “Pet Love” subcategory (for acolytes of Save the Cat!). Stories like this would include Lassie, The Black Stallion, and Free Willy (and even E.T.). In those cases, the pet is an actual character — one crucial to the story’s central dramatic question — rather than merely an adjunct.

    Liked by 1 person

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