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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Devil's Chew Toy: A Novel by Rob Osler is a charming mystery with endearing characters, animals, humor, and plenty of heart. Hayden wasn't exactly a thrill seeker with the most exciting thing in his life being his blog posts. Then he meets Camilo – a handsome dancer with whom he immediately forms a connection. Their first date is perfect until Hayden wakes up to find Camilo gone and the police at the door. When it becomes clear that Camilo is missing, Hayden starts his search by connecting to his date's closest friends and together they try to learn his recent whereabouts. Along with Camilo's dog Commander, Hayden sets out to uncover the truth which leads him to a pet store where surprising clues could lead to finding his missing date.
The clever opening immediately draws you into the story and serves as a quick way to introduce Hayden. An assortment of characters with vibrant personalities weaves humor and heart into the story, helping to maintain a lighthearted tone and providing a subtle commentary through their experiences. The humor stems from witty dialogue and fun banter with Osler's clever writing style and first-person voice including delightful phrasing. His determination to understand what happened to Camilo creates a drive in him to keep poking for information regardless of the potential danger. The dog Commander plays an important role in the mystery through his connection to Camilo but also through how he gives Hayden a partner in crime and emotional support when he needs it most. As the story progresses, Hayden grows more attached to the dog and so will you. Commander also gives a clever way to connect the mystery to the love of animals and animal rights. Blog posts are woven throughout with a focus on dating that adds more insight into Hayden while directly commenting on the overall mystery arc. Highly recommended for those that enjoy diverse reads, clever voices, L-positive stories, mysteries, animals, and witty humor. Immediately charming and full of quirky humor, Devil's Chew Toy has eccentrically delightful characters and an engaging mystery with a heart that will keep you reading until the end and leave you wanting more.