Top Dog: The Story of Marine Hero Lucca
Written by: Maria Goodavage
Narrated by: Neil Shah
Length: 7 hrs and 58 mins
Publisher: Recorded Books
Genre: Personal Memoirs
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0
The New York Times best-selling author of Soldier DogsTop Dog, Maria Goodavage takes listeners into the life of Lucca K458, a decorated and highly skilled military working dog. An extraordinary bond developed between Lucca and Marine Corps handler Chris Willingham, launching what became a legendary 400-mission career. A Specialized Search Dog, Lucca belongs to an elite group trained to work off-leash at long distances from her handler. She served alongside both Special Forces and regular infantry. She and Willingham became so sought-after that units scheduled missions around their availability.
The audiobook describes in gritty detail the team’s adventures on and off the battlefields, including tense, lifesaving explosives finds and firefights as well as the bravery of fellow handlers and dogs they served with. Ultimately, we see how the bond between Lucca and Willingham overcame the endless brutalities of war and the traumas this violence ignites. Here is a portrait of modern warfare with a heart-warming and inspiring conclusion that will touch dog lovers and the toughest military listeners.
©2014 Maria Goodavage and Christopher Elden Willingham (P)2014 Recorded Books
This book tells the story of Lucca K458, a highly skilled military working dog who developed a strong bond with her primary handler, Marine Staff Sgt. Chris Willingham. Lucca also had a good bond with her second handler, Cpl. Juan “ROD” Rodriguez. This book portrays Lucca’s experiences searching out IEDs and hidden weapon stashes in Afghanistan and other war zones. She risks her own life as she saves many others. The story includes relationships with other military working dogs and their handlers. There is also a little sharing of military friendships and home life interactions.
There were some disjointed sections that seemed to be taken from an outline that was added on. This disrupted the flow a bit but the information was still gripping. The description says “gritty detail” but this does not mean foul language as it might in other stories. The gritty details are the violence and trauma of war. Although it is hard to hear the awful reality of war, the story of the great work and service that the dogs perform is worth the listen. I found the story absolutely wonderful. It is definitely 'heart-warming and inspiring'.
I think any dog lover would like this story. Those interested in military detail would also enjoy this different view.
Audio Notes: Neil Shah does an adequate job but I am sorry to say that the narration is not stellar. I felt that there could have been a lot more energy and inflection added to enhance the reading. I am glad I found this as a Daily Deal. I recommend listening to a sample of the audio to determine how you feel about it before purchasing the audio version.
I picked this up recently for $2.95 as a Daily Deal at Audible. This is added to my Audio Challenge. I would like to use this as my outstanding heroine for Full House Challenge.