Hunting Elf, a doggone Christmas story

Rated 4.33/5 based on 9 reviews
A puppy for Christmas! What could be better? Dan McCoy and his capable wife June find out when Santa gives them a frolicsome hairball named Elf, a Silky Terrier on the Christmas wish list of nefarious dognappers who want to steal him in a murderous scheme to win "Best in Show" at Westminster. Elf foils the plot when he brings Macy's Parade to a tumultuous halt in a comedic Christmas adventure.

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About Dave Donelson

Dave Donelson’s world-roving career as a management consultant and journalist has led to writing and photography assignments for dozens of national publications. The Dynamic Manager's Guide series is based on his work with hundreds of business owners and managers as well as his own experiences as a successful entrepreneur. He is also the author of Creative Selling: Boost Your B2B Sales and two novels, Heart Of Diamonds and Hunting Elf.

Learn more about Dave Donelson

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lynneinfla reviewed on on Jan. 24, 2011

I'm sad to say that I can't give this book a good review. I was disappointed in the writing. The author frequently put in way too much detail. It seemed like he had read a book on how to write a book and was trying to follow the instructions to provide lots of information. He went overboard. He was also repetitious--perhaps he thought my memory was poor and I couldn't keep track of what he had already said about the characters and the plot. Sadly, I could, and was annoyed with the constant reminders.

I found the humor to be quite juvenile. Lots of potty jokes. And it dragged on far too long with an unbelieveable story for my taste.

I know I am being picky about this, but I also found a few grammatical errors: "it's" means "it is" and is not possessive. When the couple left the room "discretely", I assume the author actually meant "discreetly". Discretely means as a separate independent unit, which is possibly how they left. It made more sense under the circumstances for them to leave circumspectly (discreetly).

I wish I could give this a better review after having received a free copy to review. But I just didn't like the overdrawn characters and the drawnout plot.
(reviewed 27 days after purchase)
The Golden Pen reviewed on on Jan. 20, 2011

Hunting Elf is a delightful tale about a silky terrier named Elf who is dog napped by breeders in a dog show. I can imagine the lead character, Dan McCoy, played by Ed Rooney, the principal in Ferris Buller Day Off. What would make the book even better would be some illustrations. This is a children's book, no doubt. The font is large enough for any child to read it. Elf isn't just a tiny, silky Terrier, though...he's the son of a famous Dog Show winner. I enjoyed this book very much. This is a book to read at any age.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Tanja Haack reviewed on on Jan. 1, 2011

I was laughing out loud within a few pages. The story surrounds a rambunctious puppy named Elf. Elf is purchased as a Christmas present, but bring a whole lot of baggage with him. Hunting Elf is full of crazy people. Elf has other plans. He wants to stay with his half trained humans.

The characters are likable but a little too crazy to be believable. Fortunately t he writing and fast pace of the story makes up for that. Hunting Elf is more of a mystery than a Christmas story and can easily be read anytime. I'm not normally a mystery person, but the story was so funny, that I couldn't stop reading. The story may not be very believable, but it is still worthwhile read. Hunting Elf can be easily be read by Tweens and adults.
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)
Cheryl White reviewed on on Dec. 31, 2010

I loved this book! I'm sure a lot of dog owners can find something of their dog in Elf.

This book was funny and also touching.You find yourself rooting for Elf (and Dan, poor guy).

I love when Elf is doing the narrating.
(reviewed 33 days after purchase)
Nora Guzewicz reviewed on on Dec. 26, 2010

This if a funny, funny book, especially if you have ever had anything to do with dogs. Even if you aren't a dog lover, you'll love the way little Elf bedevils his family and the evil bad guys and gals who are after him.
While the beginning and end of the book take place at Christmas time and Elf is meant to be a Christmas present, much of the action takes place during the rest of the year, so it's not exactly a Christmas fable. Hunting Elf can very easily be enjoyed throughout the year.
This book is full of subtle and not-so-subtle sidelights, too. My favorite is when Elf takes strolls along Main Street and lifts his leg on just the right door, the entrance to a lawyer's office. There are plenty of other laugh-out-loud scenes and many well-drawn characters.
(reviewed 28 days after purchase)
Clara Wildmore reviewed on on Dec. 22, 2010

Hunting Elf

This is a light, fun read for the dog lover on your list.
Elf is the only male decendant of Tahoe, a Best of Breed silky terrier. When Tahoe dies suddenly while on loan to a breeder, shortly followed by Elf’s owner’s murder, the (arms) race is on for who will control the extraordinary genes this little guy carries.
Eager to save himself from the rabid guerilla-style negotiations with other dog breeders, the widower of Elf’s owner decides to sell all the puppies immediately. The McCoys acquire Elf, who promptly turns their lives upside-down. If his own antics weren’t enough, there is a blood-thirsty gaggle of dog breeders that will stop at nothing to control his future as the sire of champions.
A story full of adventure and mishaps, the story will entertain young adults most.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Monika Gregor reviewed on on Dec. 22, 2010

this is a very funny and also sometimes quite touching story! Elf is a great strong-minded puppy, very individual. I sometimes felt sorry and at the same time a bit annoyed with Dan as he cannot stand up to his wife.
The dogshow-witches I'm afraid do exist in reality - animal-beauty-shows I always thought of being very horrible.
It is a really great read.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Suzanne Morris reviewed on on Dec. 18, 2010

Elf is a purebred Silky Terror, I mean Terrier, who is the last son of a world famous champion show dog. When the breeder dies a mysterious death, her husband sells the entire litter, including Elf, to people wanting pets. Three local breeders/dog show fanciers want Elf for his bloodline. Instead he goes home with June McCoy who intends on giving Elf to her mother for Christmas. June's mother doesn't want to care for a dog, but that's OK because Elf has taken off. And so begins the adventures of Elf.

Elf’s main human is Dan McCoy, June’s husband. Dan doesn’t want a dog especially one like Elf. Elf has a tendency to lift his leg where and when he pleases and eat things that end up returning to the carpet for Dan to step in. Breeders, Selena Kisco and Marie Carcioma, and handler Bruce Rose want Elf for stud services and decide to use any means necessary to get him. Throw in TV detective and neighbor Jerry, new age dimwit brother-in-law Edgar, an exasperated Officer Miller and clueless dog trainer Martin into the mix and you have a delightful story for any time of the year.

This is really a fun book to read. Author Dave Donelson’s characters are well-rounded and full of life. I don’t recall the story stalling at any point. There is one scene that felt forced and was a little confusing. **SPOILER** Several lady senior citizens rip open June’s convertible trying to rescue Elf from what they feel is a dangerously hot car (Elf was waiting in the car while June and Dan had breakfast in a restaurant). There was no clue to the weather being hot or humid, just a few nutty ladies who apparently like destroying other people’s cars. Dan tries to intercede as the ladies rip off the top and throw large rocks at the windows and Dan. I thought one of those ladies was Marie Carcioma from the description but was wrong (the confusing part). In the end, Elf bolts away only to be . . .
This light-hearted story will keep you glued to the pages. Elf is a sweetheart and smart, very smart. He’ll keep you in stitches with his antics. If you ever thought you trained your pet this story will fill you in on the truth. Hunting Elf, a doggone Christmas story is a good read any time of the year.
(reviewed 20 days after purchase)
Ivana Hruba reviewed on on Dec. 12, 2010

Hunting Elf, a doggone Christmas story by Dave Donelson is a delightfully amusing whodunit set in suburban New York. Prize-winning dogs, demented dog breeders and well-meaning dog owners slash would be detectives feature heavily in this humorous caper which centers around Elf, a purebred Silky Terrier puppy with seriously desirable lineage, a couple of crazy old bags who will stop at nothing to get him, and Dan, Elf’s hapless human, who just wants to be left in peace at Christmas time. But ‘tis NOT the season to be jolly when Elf runs away on an exploratory adventure around the suburb, leaving the hapless Dan and his posse of equally hapless friends to ‘hunt’ him down. The plot thickens with the arrival of Elf’s stalkers - two dog breeders with one thing in mind - to dognap Elf in order to breed prize-winning terriers for profit and glory. In show dog circles the ladies are well-known enemies, with a long history of rivalry between them, a point which goes unnoticed when bodies of dog-involved individuals begin to turn up after an encounter with Elf. Three murders later, Dan and his friends are on the case, busy chasing slippery dognappers who are busy chasing the even more slippery Elf who’s busy chasing anything that moves, leading everyone on a merry-go-round likely to end up badly for some and worse for others. But all good things must come to an end. The bad guys get their just deserts and Elf is returned safely home, just in time to celebrate Christmas.
Well-written and compelling, the story moves along at a steady pace, allowing the reader time to absorb the action (of which there is plenty) without feeling overwhelmed by it. Donelson’s comic timing is faultless; there are ‘laugh out loud’ passages throughout the story as well as many witty descriptions. Donelson does particularly well with his descriptions of Elf’s dog behavior, which he brings to life in vivid detail and with a good dose of humor. The tale is peppered with odd ball characters who add to the general sense of hilarity; Dan’s other-worldly brother-in-law Edgar and the seriously teenage pet shop attendant Moonrat among the most memorable. Hunting Elf is a funny and very enjoyable read. Thoroughly recommend it.
(reviewed 24 days after purchase)

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