The time is 1968. The time is the present. Bad Dog is the fictional memoir of a first-generation American, a writer disillusioned with the last half century of his country’s history. He is a kid who graduated first from Boston’s Roxbury streets then from Harvard, a man in his sixties watching Vietnam replayed in Iraq, a draft dodger from a family of veterans, a young man whose promise to a child to find her missing friend is more important than his flight to Canada to avoid trial for draft evasion.
With a double homicide and kidnapping at the center of Bad Dog, John Philpin’s latest novel certainly qualifies for the crime genre, but this “fiction” from one of America’s first independent criminal profilers also asks: What are the biggest crimes, and who perpetrates them? Philpin’s most autobiographical work to date, Bad Dog takes the reader from a backwoods Vermont homicide into a tale about war and the lies that have led us into wars, a tale of living through two bouts of national madness.
PRAISE FOR BAD DOG
Bad Dog is a fictional memoir about crime and life by an author who understands both well. At the center of the tale is a double murder and the abduction of a child, but the biggest crimes of all are the lies perpetrated by a government bound and determined to wage war. Head down the rabbit holes of Vietnam and Iraq with a trippy, disillusioned guide who refuses to dance to the drumbeats of death. You’ll feel compelled to read non-stop but forced to pause to contemplate the truths on each page. An unforgettable read.
—Diane Fanning, author of ten works of true-crime and five mystery novels including Twisted Reason, the most recent in the Lucinda Pierce series
Bad Dog is a remarkable novel in more ways than one, starting with the dialogue. It’s smart and fast and real, bare of explication, the kind of talk screenwriters aim for. Philpin, though, does something I’ve never quite seen before, embedding the distilled dialogue in a narrative that almost seems an opposite language—a wildly diffusive monologue inside the teller’s brain, ranging unrestricted through memories, riffs on history, outbreaks of anger, the lost dreams of America. On the way to breaking the standard rules of fiction, Bad Dog delivers something that lies at the heart of every novel—our need to make sense of the world.
— Josephine Humphreys, author of Nowhere Else on Earth
Philpin starts at a flat run and never once slows down. Here is murder and kidnapping seen through the lens of a good-hearted draft dodger whose mantra is “Reality does not have my consent.”
—Jessie Hunter, author of Blood Music
You may ask yourself, as I did, as you tiptoe into the first chapter, Am I in the novel or is this a foreword? Oh you are in it alright. In it deep! And the gauntlet is thrown early and often.
—Jym Fahey, author, poet, musician, and the mind behind the liner notes to the Jimi Hendrix album Axis: Bold as Love
About the Author
John Philpin is an independent criminal profiler and a retired psychologist with an international reputation as an expert on violent behavior. He has appeared on Unsolved Mysteries, America’s Most Wanted, 20/20 Downtown, Inside Edition, and CBC’s As It Happens, and has served as a guest commentator on Court TV’s Prime Time Justice. His published nonfiction works include Shattered Justice (Harper Collins), about the murder of 12-year old Stephanie Crowe; Stalemate (Bantam), about a series of child abductions and murders in the San Francisco Bay area; and Beyond Murder (Onyx/Penguin Books), investigating the Gainesville student murders. He has also written five novels including The Murder Channel and Dreams in the Key of Blue. Visit his website at JohnPhilpin.com