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Extended Audio Sample I Thought You Were Dead: A Love Story, by Pete Nelson Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (630 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Pete Nelson Narrator: Josh Clar Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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For Paul Gustavson, a hack writer for the wildly popular For Morons series, life is a succession of obstacles. His wife has left him, his father has suffered a debilitating stroke, his girlfriend is dating another man, he has impotency issues, and his overachieving brother invested his parents’ money in stocks that tanked. Still, Paul has his friends at Bay State bar, a steady line of cocktails, and a new pair of running shoes (he’ s promised himself to get in shape). And then there’s Stella, the one constant in his life, who gives him sage advice, doesn’t judge him, and gives him unconditional love. However, Stella won’t accompany Paul into his favorite dive bar. “I’ll roll on dead carp, I’ll even eat cat turds, but that place grosses me out.” Stella, you see, is Paul’s aging Lab-shepherd mix, and she knows Paul better than he knows himself.

In I Thought You Were Dead, author Pete Nelson delivers a novel that is all at once heartwarming, heartbreaking, and heart-wrenchingly funny. Most of all, it’s a story that proves that when a good dog is by your side—especially one with whom you can have an engaging conversation—life can be full of surprises.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Nelson captures the importance of a relationship between a man and his dog, especially in how it can foster and strengthen other relationships.”

    Library Journal

  • “Ultimately, I Thought You Were Dead is about the catastrophes that make a person realize his life is a mess, then do everything he can to put his life back together—perhaps, in the process, creating something better than he dared to hope for.”


  • “Stella the dog is always charming. And there’s a dignity and gravity to Paul’s affection for her…Their friendship [is] one of the best ever put down on paper.”

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

  • “Heartfelt and nostalgic in tone…Stella’s wisdom sets the luckless Paul on a brighter life path. It’s her nobility…that gives the story its power.”

    USA Today

  • “[I Thought You Were Dead] has a low-key, indie-movie vibe, with Stella sounding like Juno’s older, world-weary aunt.”

    Washington Post

  • “Paul’s thoughts are read simply and in a straightforward fashion that seems just right for the character’s many interior monologues. [The narrator] is especially good as the calming voice of Stella (Paul’s faithful dog), who has her master pretty well pegged yet loves him, warts and all.”


  • “Pete Nelson has spun a beautiful ballad out of the humblest elements: an old dog, a drinking problem, a Minnesota family, and a woman torn between two lovers. He’s also written a truly outstanding talking-dog story. With exquisite tone control, Nelson has given us a story that’s sweet and loving but never sentimental. This could easily be the book the smarter people in Lake Wobegon might be reading on the couch on a Sunday afternoon, when football’s not in season.”

    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • Selected for the April 2010 Indie Next List
  • A #1 Book Sense Pick in 2010

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by E | 2/11/2014

    " A really special book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Becky C. | 1/31/2014

    " A twist on the typical dog books-- in this one the main human character, Paul, can actually carry on conversations with his dog. An enjoyable read, touching and bittersweet. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Suzanne | 1/28/2014

    " This book made me cry! anyone that has had a dog that they have loved will cry too. It was a good story that felt like a "real" person that you knew, not just a character from a book. Thanks Alison for letting me borrow it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Alyssa | 1/22/2014

    " Life lessons coupled with the relationship between a dog and his owner - a must read! "

  • > Show All
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About the Author
Author Pete Nelson

Pete Nelson is the author of several books, including Left for Dead. He is also a singer-songwriter with a select but devoted following. He is not, however, the Pete Nelson who writes books about tree houses, although he has nothing against them. He lives in Westchester County, New York.