Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Tons of fun in a good mystery
Cons: Starts a little slowly
The Bottom Line:
Why are dogs barking?
Is it a clue to murder?
Find out in fun book
You’ll Be Desperate to Finish This Book
Okay, I confess, I wasn’t at all interested in the Pampered Pets Mysteries based solely on the pen name used by the authors. Sparkle Abbey? But then I met the two lovely ladies behind the pen name and learned about the origin of the name – their own pets. They were so charming and lovely that I had to give their books a try, so I bought Desperate Housedogs, the first in the series. I won’t admit how long it’s been sitting in my TBR pile, but I finally dusted it off and gave it a chance.
Carolina “Caro” Lamont is a Texas transplant living in Laguna Beach, California. She runs a pet therapist business, which really means she works with pet owners to identify the reason for a pet’s bad behavior and comes up with ways for the owner to train the pet to behave better.
Caro has worked with Kevin Blackstone and his two German Shepherds in the past, but she is surprised when Kevin calls her up saying her dogs just won’t stop barking. She heads over to his house in an exclusive gated community and spends some time trying to figure out what has upset the dogs. Two hours after leaving Kevin, the police find him murdered. Suddenly, Caro is a person of interest, and she must find a way to clear herself. Does the dogs’ behavior have anything to do with Kevin’s death?
The book did start out a little slowly, establishing characters and some of their backstory before we truly got into the twists and turns of the mystery, but once the mystery got started it was a lot of fun. I wasn’t sure what was going on until we reached the very end, but once we reached the end, it all made sense given the twists and clues we’d had along the way.
The characters are strong. They are a bit over the top, but it works in this book. Their personalities are all different enough that it is easy to keep them straight. I definitely see room for the series regulars to grow as the series progresses, and I can’t wait to see what happens to them.
The characters being a bit over the top is definitely on purpose. This book is filled with humor, and these characters go a long way toward providing that. The way they react to things is much of the fun of the book, in fact. Caro’s first person narration also provides some great smiles and laughs along the way.
While this is part of the series, it’s a non-traditional series. The books alternate between Caro and her cousin Mel. Mel really only gets a cameo here along with multiple mentions from Caro. I’m looking forward to setting to know Mel in the next book in the series, which I actually bought the same time I bought this book.