Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publication date: July 13th, 2021
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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In Laura Scott's Furry Friends series debut, veterinarian Ally Winter must collar the killer of a shifty lawyer. Does the dead man's dog know who committed the arf-ul crime?
Ally Winter is going through a ruff patch. The thirty-something veterinarian lost her fiance, her clinic, and her savings in rapid succession. So when Ally's grandfather undergoes hip replacement surgery, she moves back to Willow Bluff, Wisconsin, to care for him. She arrives home, tail between her legs, only to find sleazy lawyer Marty Shawlin murdered in his home office. And the only witness was Marty's faithful boxer, Roxy.
Quick as a greyhound, Noah Jorgensen is on the case. The good news is, he's the best detective around. The bad news, at least the way Ally sees it, is that Noah is still just as fetching as he was back in high school. He also just happens to have witnessed every embarrassing incident that befell accident-prone Ally--including the fire-ant attack that set tongues wagging and won her the unshakable nickname Hot Pants.
Meanwhile, true-crime aficionado Gramps fancies himself a sleuth, and he is doggedly determined to sniff out the culprit himself...with Ally's reluctant help, of course. Ally has no choice but to team up with Noah--and the irrepressible Roxy--to solve the case while keeping Gramps on a short leash.
Ally had better learn some new tricks, lickety-split. Because if she can't bring the killer to heel, she won't just be playing dead.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my review. All opinions shared are 100% my own.
I really loved the characters. Gramps (Oscar) is, well, a real character -- a Vietnam veteran who watches too much Dateline and reads too many true crime books and fancies himself an amateur detective. His granddaughter, Dr. Ally Winter, is a veterinarian (yes, a vet & a vet) who returned to her small hometown after her ex-husband steals their money and runs off with the vet tech from their joint veterinary practice in the big city. She winds up getting dragged into a murder investigation in an attempt to keep her meddlesome grandfather safe. Ally, Gramps, and Noah, the ACTUAL detective in charge of the case, are all likable characters. Of course, Roxy the boxer is the best character and she ultimately helps solve the case.
This definitely smacks of “first in a series”. I find that a lot of cozies (and probably other series but I don’t read many other serial works in other genres) suffer from the same first in the series tropes. It always seems like the characters make some of the most outlandish of choices in these first forays. Ally and her grandfather both keep digging and digging and poking their noses in places even after some pretty dangerous and threatening things have happened. The motive for murder also seemed weak to me. While the world-building and character development were good, I think the basic murder mystery plot left a bit to be desired. However, I liked the characters enough to read more when the next book is released. I am quite certain that the balancing necessary for the first book in a series is a tough one so I try not to judge too harshly on the first books.
All in all, it has the potential to be a fun cozy mystery with a lot of animals involved since the main character is a veterinarian. There was a definite hint to some romance with the detective. I really hope the teensy tiny hint to another possible love interest doesn’t go anywhere since I am definitely not a fan of love triangles. Time will tell on that front. I didn’t realize until I read the author’s bio that she is considered a Christian fiction author. Nothing in the book seemed overtly Christian to me. It was a pleasant, clean cozy mystery with the potential for a lot of intriguing adventures in the future.
About the author:
From the bio page on her website: I'm often asked when I started writing and I have to be honest, I can't remember when I wasn't writing. I loved books as a kid and like many authors, I ran out of stories that I liked to read so I began to make up my own. I wrote my first teen novel when I was thirteen and my first romance when I was seventeen. Of course, neither manuscript was very good, but I never gave up and after I finished Graduate school I decided to take some time for myself and get back to my writing. I'm so glad I did!
I grew up reading faith-based books by Grace Livingston Hill so writing for Love Inspired Suspense is a dream come true. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.
I currently live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with my husband of thirty-three years. My daughter Nicole is married to a wonderful man named Mike and my son Jonathan is a Registered Nurse at the same hospital where I work. I'm so blessed to have such a wonderful family.
I'm a dog lover and had to put my Westie named Mac down a year or so ago. I still miss him but now have a chance to dog sit for my sisters and brother. I try to incorporate pets in my stories as much as possible
In May of 2017, I was the humble recipient of the Wisconsin Romance Writers Lifetime Achievement Award. I'm blessed to be a member of such an amazing group!