DOG EAT RAT (2009)

Everybody wants to get to Heaven, but nobody wants to die. And in Hell, everyone is naked. Dog Eat Rat, the third novel by Tom Walmsley, one of Canada’s most uncompromising writers of plays, fiction and poetry, is the story of private investigators Trip and Ginger, who continually devise new ways to break the tedium of their primary task: sitting in cars for days on end, waiting for their subject to step out a door or step into one. But suddenly everything changes: in what begins as a dime-a-dozen case of an adulterous wife, Trip and Ginger fall off the edge of the world trying to solve a mystery no one knew existed. Hard-boiled yet determinedly literary, Dog Eat Rat draws the reader into another of Walmsley’s unique explorations of sex, faith and violence.

“Dog Eat Rat is funny and thought provoking at the same time. It deals with the sexual proclivities of four men and four women who, through a fast paced and intricate plot about private eyes and their subjects, manage to form (I think) 9 different couples in the space of a few weeks or months. The book is far from graphic, but just as far from being simply titillating. Walmsley has a lot to say about the role of religion in seduction, but I was more interested personally in the shortcomings of logic in the somewhat frantic search for partners among the characters. “Everyone knows why you break up, no one understands why you got together,” muses the wife of one the investigators. This is a short book, a quick read, a roll in the hay, with some dirty words, some provocative suggestions, and some very interesting speculations written with great skill by a very serious author. I do recommend it.”
— Brian Reynolds on Goodreads

“If you remember Kid Stuff Tom Walmsley’s 2003 novel that told the story of smalltown kids, drugs and sex, then you have been eager and somewhat prepared for his latest effort Dog Eat Rat. His plays, poetry and fiction have all wrestled with degrees of drug use, sex and violence, which he pairs, explicitly so, to faith or a lack of spiritual fulfillment. His characters dwell, accept, resist and encourage their own downfall while confronting their avid need to behold some kind of truth. Whatever the damage. Dog Eat Rat continues Walmsley’s intense delve into visceral and temporary pleasures…”
— Brooke Ford, Broken Pencil, 2010