The Squirrel on the Train – Kevin Hearne [Review]

The Squirrel on the Train is the second novella in the Oberon’s Meaty Mystery series, written by Kevin Hearne.

This urban fantasy story was published on November 30, 2017 by Subterranean Press.


The Squirrel on the Train coverBlurb for “THE SQUIRREL ON THE TRAIN”

Oberon the Irish wolfhound is off to Portland to smell all the things with canine companions wolfhound Orlaith and Boston terrier Starbuck, and, of course, his human, ancient Druid Atticus O’Sullivan. The first complication is an unmistakable sign of sinister agendas afoot: a squirrel atop the train. But an even more ominous situation is in store when the trio plus Atticus stumble across a murder upon arrival at the station. They recognize Detective Gabriela Ibarra, who’s there to investigate. But they also recognize the body—or rather that the body is a doppelganger for Atticus himself. The police, hampered by human senses of smell and a decided lack of canine intuition, obviously can’t handle this alone. Not with Atticus likely in danger. Oberon knows it’s time to investigate once more-—for justice! For gravy! And possibly greasy tacos!

Alongside his faithful Druid, Oberon and the other loyal hounds navigate by nose through Portland to find a bear-shifter friend with intel, delicious clues at the victim’s home, and more squirrels. Always more squirrels!

But will our hungry band of heroes be able to identify the culprit before someone else is murdered? Will there be mystery meat in gravy as a reward or tragedy in store for the world’s (or at least the Pacific Northwest’s) greatest dog detective.




I read “The Squirrel on the Train” because I have enjoyed other books by Kevin Hearne. The idea of a story told from the perspective of Atticus’s dog appealed to me. Although I received a free advanced reading copy via Netgalley, my opinions are my own.


Quick Review: Laugh-out-loud funny with a solid plot and interesting characters


The Story

When Atticus takes his dogs to the city via train, Oberon worries about a squirrel that is on the train before and after their trip. He has a chance to chase said squirrel and ends up discovering a dead body that looks just like Atticus. The dogs and Atticus team up with a detective to try to determine who was the victim and if Atticus had been the real target.

The plot makes sense from start to finish. Hearne doesn’t forget about the squirrel, either. He brings the squirrel back into the story at the end. Although the story is a bit silly, I enjoyed it a lot. In fact, I keep telling my son about different parts of the book.

The story moves along at a brisk pace. I never got bored. There is danger and excitement throughout the novella.

The Characters

Oberon is an Irish Wolfhound. He’s very advanced, but he’s still a dog with canine instincts and desires. Seeing things through his eyes was a lot of fun. I remember thinking that Kevin Hearne must have a lot of experience with or knowledge about dogs because he seems to have a wonderful understanding of how they probably think.

Atticus is wonderful as usual. I’m not going to say a lot about him because many readers already are familiar with him, but I’ll say that he’s an interesting blend of good and bad–sometimes the line between right and wrong blurs a bit for him, which makes him more human and interesting to me.

Despite being a short piece, Hearne fleshed out all the characters. I felt like I got to know them all, even the dogs.

The Writing

In typical form, Hearne’s writing is clean, concise, and humorous. I love his writing style. He provides enough details about settings and characters for me to visualize them, but he doesn’t linger.

Do  I Recommend?

I absolutely recommend reading “The Squirrel on the Train,” even if you have never read any books in the Iron Druid Chronices or the Oberon’s Meaty Mysteries series.  It can be read as a standalone.

In addition to humor and action, there’s a decent mystery with some good twists (two mysteries, if you count the mysterious motive of the squirrel).

I’m looking forward to my next Kevin Hearne read. He’s one of my favorite authors.

My Rating:  5 out of 5 stars (A)


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About Jen Schaper

In addition to being a book blogger, I am a mother of three children, a retail backroom coordinator, and a wannabe writer (when I make time to do it).
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