"Lost and Found" wasn't what I'd expected from the publisher's summary. I thought I'd be reading a dog-centric cosy mystery with a kick-ass heroine and her save-the-day dog.
What I got was less clichéd than that but also less easy to settle into.
This is too hard-edged and has too much violence in it for a cosy mystery. I'd barely started the book and had seen one person shot in the face at close range and another stabbed to death. The body count keeps rising, making the bad guys into spree killers rather than devious villains.
There are also some very dubious portrayals of the behaviour of autistic children. Although the plot shows this behaviour to be abnormal it still felt to me like it was playing to all the wrong fears and stigma attached to autistic kids.
Shadow, the dog, does indeed save the day and all the parts of the book that relate to him, especially when we get his canine view of the world, work very well. Amy Shojai knows her dogs and knows how to bring them alive for the rest of us.
The cop-with-a-past-and-currently-in-disgrace was well written and believable. The heroine was more difficult to get alongside. Her dialogue, such as it was, seemed awkward and inconsistent. She flips from being highly organised and brave to falling apart and ridden by guilt and doubt. This was explicable in terms of the plot and her backstory but it didn't feel authentic while it was happening.
I enjoyed the book well enough to read my way through it but not enough to read the next two books in the series.