Good Dog, Bad Dog: Double Identity

By Dave Shelton (David Fickling Books)
ISBN: 978-1-910989-00-5

Win’s Christmas Gift Recommendation: A Boney Fido Mystery Thriller for fans of every stripe… 10/10

Way back in 2012, David Fickling Books launched a weekly comic for girls and boys that rapturously revived the grand old days of British picture-story entertainment intent whilst embracing the full force of modernity in style and content.

Still going strong, each issue offers humour, adventure, quizzes, puzzles and educational material: a joyous parade of cartoon fun and fantasy. Since its premiere, The Phoenix has gone from strength to strength, winning praise from the Great and the Good, child literacy experts and the only people who really count – the totally engaged kids and parents who read it…

As is the way of modern comics publishing, their greatest serial hits were soon gathered into a line of fabulously engaging album compilations. This splendidly constructed pastiche of detective thrillers is the latest: a winningly authentic murder mystery with anthropomorphic police pooches doggedly sloping through noir nostalgia (for those of us old enough to recognise it) on the seedily sordid streets of Muttropolis in search of killers – and worse – in the canine counterpart to Hollywood…

It’s not the first outing for curious cur Kirk Bergman (who thinks he’s a four-footed Sam Spade) and his beefy, astute and gently gigantic partner Duncan McBoo. They were previously seen in The Phoenix’s predecessor The DFC – by way of The Guardian, no lessand have lost none of their appeal in this further adventure, crafted as ever by Dave Shelton (A Boy and a Bear in a Boat) with sublime skill, seductive illustration, engaging word-play and a keen appreciation of the value of truly appalling puns …

Film freak McBoo is over the moon when their latest case takes them to Wiener Brothers Studios to investigate death threats against movie mogul Sam Weiner but soon sees that there’s nothing but trouble ahead in Tinseltown.

Twin brother Jack Wiener thinks it’s all a lot of hooey, but since Sam is off sick there’s little the police dogs can do except head back to the precinct. That all changes on the way out when a bomb seemingly intended for aging silver screen idol Dunstan Bassett apparently obliterates his stunt double Bump Henderson instead…

And so begins a cleverly constructed yet deadly game of bluff and deception, crammed to the rafters with hot dames, plucky assistants, raucous bar-fights, thrilling car chases, sinisterly suspicious strangers and quirky walk-on characters in a plot which cunningly twists and curves without ever losing itself in unnecessary complexity.

Bergman and McBoo each plays to his own strengths as they hunt a killer only to find that the victim isn’t dead but not all the suspects are necessarily alive…

Moody, suspenseful and outrageous, this yarn remains deliciously funny whilst honouring a deep dept and displaying a definite soft spot for the crime classics of yore, and is a perfect kid’s book every adult in the house will find impossible to put down.

Text and illustrations © Dave Shelton 2016. All rights reserved.

Good Dog, Bad Dog: Double Identity will be released on November 3rd 2016 and is available for pre-order now.

Why not check out the Phoenix experience at

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