Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Stan and the other characters, human and animal
Cons: Plot could be a little stronger
The Bottom Line:
The cute animals
Make this mystery charming
For all cozy fans
Murder that Kneads Solving
One cozy sub-genre I don't venture into that frequently is the pet cozies. There's a simple explanation for it - I'm allergic to dogs and cats, and as a result have never grown too found of many of them. It's not that I hate them, but I'm not comfortable being around them. However, since I'm trying out all the books by the Wicked Cozy Authors, I picked up Kneading to Die, and I'm definitely glad I did.
Kristan "Stan" Connor's life has taken a turn she never expected. She's lost her PR job and is struggling to figure out what to do next. Hoping a change of scenery will help, she buys a house in a small
town and moves there.
Of course, with the move, she needs to find a new vet for her cat, Nutty. After Carole, the town's only traditional vet, comes by and introducers herself, Stan takes an early morning appointment for her cat. However, when she arrives, she finds the vet dead on the floor. Between the police and the gossip in town, Stan suddenly feels herself under a cloud of suspicion. Can she find the killer before her reputation in town is ruined?
Animal lovers will certainly rejoice in the pets in this book. It seems like just about everyone has one, and they are all charming. Yes, even I was able to see that, and I would like to meet them (after taking my anti-histamine, of course). I could tell how much I cared by my reaction to some late in the book events.
Speaking of which, the plot felt a bit uneven to me overall. Or maybe it was that the book could have used an extra twist. Either way, the story was still entertaining and I never would have figured out who the killer was. The climax was very suspenseful, and I had no clue how Stan was going to get out of that mess.
Most of the series I read feature main characters who process the horror of what they are going through rather quickly. Honestly, I don't think about that too much since I'm focusing, with them, on solving the murder. Stan, however, takes much of what happens to heart more than normal. I liked that because it felt more real and actually made me like the character more.
There are several other strong characters in the cast, and I was left wondering how things will develop between some of the characters or wondering about the history between a few of them. Also, I like the fact that Stan's sleuthing caused some issues with her new neighbors. I hope that is resolved in later books, but I liked how it wasn't swept under the rug like in many books. Yes, I think I'm hooked enough to read the next book to find out more.
Speaking of hooks, this book isn't just about pets, but about organic, natural treats for pets. There are three recipes in the back that Stan makes over the course of the book that you can make for your own pets. Obviously, I haven't tested them, but we won't get into how many culinary cozies I've read and never tried the recipes, either. (I really need to fix that).