Author: Bethany Blake
Series: Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery #1
Rating: 4.5 stars
I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.
Book Blurb: Pet sitter Daphne Templeton has a soft spot for every stray and misfit who wanders into the quaint, lakeside village of Sylvan Creek. But even Daphne doesn’t like arrogant, womanizing Steve Beamus, the controversial owner of Blue Ribbon K-9 Academy. When Steve turns up dead during a dog agility trial, Daphne can think of a long list of people with motives for homicide, and so can the police. Unfortunately, at the top of the list is Daphne’s sister, Piper—Steve’s latest wronged girlfriend.
Certain that Piper is innocent, in spite of mounting evidence to the contrary, Daphne sets out to clear her sister’s name—and find Axis, Steve’s prize-winning chocolate Labrador, who went missing the night of Steve’s death. Aided by Socrates, her taciturn basset hound, and a hyperactive one-eared Chihuahua named Artie, Daphne quickly runs afoul of Detective Jonathan Black, a handsome and enigmatic newcomer to town, who has no appreciation for Daphne’s unorthodox sleuthing.
Can a free-spirited pet sitter, armed only with a Ph.D. in Philosophy and her two incompatible dogs, find the real killer before she becomes the next victim.
I am going to say right off the bat, this book surprised me. The book blurb read like your standard cozy mystery and the cover did nothing for me. But I gotta tell ya, this was an excellent start to a cozy mystery series and goes on my must read list for series.
What I Liked: The writing. I don't know how else to say it, Blake writes dog well. These dogs were characters, they each had their own unique personalities and it came across well on page. I loved waiting to see what Artie the chihuahua would pull next and Socrates the basset hound made me fall in love with basset hounds. Nothing supernatural or the like, just dog behavior dog lovers and owners can relate to. It made me miss my dog so much.
I also liked the relationship between Daphne and Jonathan Black. It is cliche for the MC to have a police detective as a romantic interest but this was written so well - that perfect mix of banter, tension and humor. I loved when they were on the page. Full disclosure - yes, there is a love triangle present but it's not as ridiculous as most. You know where this is headed and the other person is an afterthought. So it did not bug me. As much.
I also enjoyed the mystery- the culprit took me by surprise. I didn't see it coming, but it wasn't so out there I couldn't buy it.
What I Didn't Like: It's not that I didn't like it per se, but the philosophy angle came across as a touch gimmicky. The story and the writing stood so well on it's own that the series didn't need this as a hook. Though I reserve the right to change my mind if the angle plays out well in future books.
I recommend this if you like cozy mysteries or mysteries in general. Definitely would be an evening of enjoyable reading.