Picks and Pans Review: Walking in Circles Before Lying Down

updated 08/21/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/21/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

By Merrill Markoe

Novelist Markoe, who won multiple Emmys as head writer for David Letterman, returns with a quirky fantasy about one woman's search for romance that's guaranteed to charm dog lovers. Her protagonist, Dawn, is a "job-hopper" in L.A. with a pit-bull mix, a dysfunctional family and an ex-husband or two. Her sister (a self-professed Life Coach) is attracted to sociopaths, their self-absorbed mother is scheming to strike it rich, and her DJ boyfriend Paxton wants to live "off the grid." The one semi-sane character is Chuck, Dawn's dog, who not only talks to her but delivers romantic advice. When she's dumped by Paxton, he tells her, "You must have at least suspected there was someone else. Couldn't you smell her on his pants?" Through the cleverly imagined dialogue, Markoe deftly weaves doggie instinct into an insightful tale that's bound to make you laugh out loud.

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