Saturday, April 10, 2010

Jasper - Lucinda Gunnin

Author: Lucinda Gunnin
Author web:
Date: 2010
Setting: an un-named city (possibly Detroit) in the present day
Availability: In the anthology Elements of the Soul

Story: A young woman, Carrie, lives alone except for Jasper, a retired police dog. The dog was given to her by her Uncle Chuck, retired from the sheriff's department. Chuck has encouraged Carrie to always be alert to things which happen around her. He has also advised her to never date a cop.

Early one morning she sees a man unloading bags of trash into the dumpster at her apartment complex. Jasper seems unusually agitated at this activity, and the man himself seems suspicious, wearing gloves and a cap on a stifling hot day. Unfortunately, when Jasper barks, the man also sees Carrie. She decides to go take a look after the man leaves, and discovers body parts. Of course, she is dating a young policeman, and she calls him first, instead of calling 911 which leads to her being treated with suspicion.

Commentary:This story is completely believable. Gunnin's portrayal of the dog rings true. I've known several well-trained German Shepherds, and Jasper's actions throughout the story are consistent with everything I know. For anyone who lives in a city, this story is a nightmare come true.

This is not only satisfying, but is refreshing in that the story does not force the idea of the completely independent female who needs no help, or a man who has to be in charge. The dog's participation makes sense; it's not a Rin-Tin-Tin fantasy.

Author info: Lucinda Gunnin (see has been published in several magazines under her maiden name of Lucinda Morgan, and writes for the Heartland Women Newspaper, but Jasper is her first published fiction. She also won the Fall 2008 Writers Weekly 24-hour short story contest.

Language skills 8
Depth of meaning 6


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