Book Review: Hero by Jennifer Li Shotz

Book Review: Hero by Jennifer Li Shotz  (MG) 3 Stars ***

A charming story for dog lovers and kids. Hero, a highly skilled black Labrador , now retired police dog, lives with twelve-year-old Ben and his family in Gulfport, Mississippi. “Hero was more than just a regular police dog in the K-9 unit—he was also trained as a search-and-rescue dog. Hero and Ben’s dad had been partners on the Gulfport police force for eight years. In that time, Hero had busted a lot of criminals—and saved a lot of lives.” And to boot, Hero also saved Ben’s life! No exaggeration.

Hero and Ben are inseparable. One fateful day, they encounter an adorable, terrified puppy that shows signs of painful wounds indicative of being prey at the local, hard to locate dog fighting ring. Ben takes the puppy to the veterinarian for emergency treatment, names him Scout, and is given parental  permission for temporary foster care until they can find the true owner or another permanent home.

A suspicious looking man is often seen lurking around Ben’s house. Whenever Scout sees him, he trembles and whines. Hero stands between Mitch, Ben, and Scout a number of times letting Mitch know he’d better keep his distance. Ben later finds out this man, Mitch, runs the dog fighting ring. Suddenly, Hero and Scout are missing. Ben takes his best friend Noah on a dangerous quest to search for the beloved dogs. After bloody traumatic injuries, confrontations, and threats, Ben’s father shows up in the nick of time to save the day. This vicious, heartless ring is broken up and all participants are brought to justice.

Ben is an admirable character —responsible, hard working, caring, generous, and fair-minded. However, his independent spirit causes him to put himself, Hero, and Noah in a dangerous situation. The story is pleasant and changes to exciting near the end, but not anything we haven’t heard before. The reader must sometimes suspend belief. Interactions with the “bad guys” are unrealistic and might serve to set a bad example for young readers to think they can outwit adult criminal types. Overall, a pleasant dog story of friendship and integrity.


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I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2018

Saturday, March 14, 2020- Barnes & Noble, Massapequa, NY 12:00-4:00pm

June 2020
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