An author of sports fiction and thrillers, Michael Northrop shows his versatility as he turns to realistic fiction in Rotten. After spending the summer away from home, 16-year-old Jimmer Dobbs (or preferably JD) returns to his small town to discover that his single mother has rescued an abused Rottweiler that’s not too fond of men, including him. Their tenuous relationship causes JD to name the dog Johnny Rotten (or preferably JR) after the lead singer of the classic punk rock band, the Sex Pistols.

JD spends his last few days of summer earning the dog’s trust with pizza rolls until he can finally approach JR comfortably. But when good friend Mars corners JR and the canine responds with a bite, it’s JD who feels like he’s in the doghouse. Mars’ lazy family threatens legal action to make quick money, which means not only that JD and his mother could lose their house, but also that their now-beloved pet will have to be euthanized.

Suspense drives the story as JD solicits the help of his buddies to do some intelligence gathering on Mars’ family. JD may also have to come clean about where he really spent his summer (and it was no vacation). In the process of trying to save his dog, JD may earn another shot at dating Janie, his on-again, off-again and hopefully on-again girlfriend.

Northrop knows just how to get into the male mind, blending subtle humor with convincing dialogue throughout. But above all, the author knows that nothing gets between a guy and his dog.

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