Legal thrillers have always been the game changers in literature. The wave that has been set by John Grisham has taken the readers and authors who follow them along. However, most of the legal thrillers that followed, lacked the mettle of the fabulous writer and the depth and layers of his characters and circumstances. For the first time since, I came across an author who has mastered the craft, backed up with research, and enriched with personal experience. Luke Gracias, through his book Dogboy Vs Catfish, has left no stone unturned in laying bare the atrocities suffered by men when women set out to misuse the pro-female marriage laws in Australia.
Dogboy vs Catfish
On the day of her second wedding, Katherine Fisher, aka ‘Catfish,’ set the date for her divorce. In precisely 18 months, she would be entitled to half of their combined assets and receive maintenance payments until her five-year-old daughter, Emma, turns 18. Just as Catfish was about to take her husband, Lindsay ‘Dogboy’ Kramer (a successful businessman and dog whisperer) to the cleaners, he goes missing. The police investigation into Dogboy’s disappearance leads them into the dark world of counterfeit designer goods, money laundering, and drug smuggling. With Dogboy’s assets frozen and the mob protecting their interests, the missing person’s case escalates to homicide. Catfish is in a race against time to get hold of Dogboy’s assets before the police get hold of her. One question remains – is Dogboy dead or alive?
The plot shifts the base at various levels giving a varying impression about the genre. It takes off as a horror thriller, to contemporary fiction, to a murder mystery to a legal thriller. On a totality, the book is an amalgamation of all genres. In the first chapter when the protagonist is introduced as a shy dog whisperer, the plot takes off from the very moment. The author deftly maintains the mystery surrounding the character of Lindsay Kramer, more so because direct interactions of the protagonist are limited to a couple of sequences in the first chapter.
Further, Katherine Fisher aka Catfish comes into the picture when she claims her rights to Dogboy’s asset, her character portrayal reminded me of a classic Danielle Steele craft, but the author has a personal style that stands out, which makes the book unique in its own right.
The Alimony Scam
Divorce laws have been formulated in such a way that the exploitation suffered by women could be prevented. However, there are numerous women out there who use this as a stepping stone to gain money. The author has laid bare this scam through his book.
How Lindsay successfully bypassed the scam is a brilliant plot to read. The three snakes of the scam and how the tail of one snake is inside the head of another is a shocking read.
While everything was good, the book cover turned out to be a disappointment. Though it is not right to judge a book by its cover, an attractive and representative cover would undoubtedly enhance the book. The cover of Dogboy VS Catfish gave an impression of a YA fantasy while the book is a thrilling mystery.