I might have to lay off cozies for a little bit.
I didn’t highlight enough of this one for pull quotes, even.
Lia Anderson brings her dogs Honey (a golden retriever) and Chewie (a miniature schnauzer) to the Mount Airy Dog Park daily, and the collection of dog owners at the park are as close-knit but not always friendly as any small town. Also, none of them, as far as I could tell, owned mongrels, and this despite none of them having jobs that would normally allow for high-priced purebreds (yes, I know rescue purebreds are a thing but Lia, at least, got Chewie from a breeder). Lia is an artist, her best friend whose name I have already forgotten is a “new age” landscaper, and Lia’s soon-to-be very ex-boyfriend is a would-be writer (and I don’t think we ever did find out where the money came from).
Blah blah breakup blah blah murdered but initially mistaken for suicide ex-boyfriend blah blah handsome policeman blah blah not actually a resolved homicide.
Because the reader is shown what’s in the murderer’s head right from the get-go. And that’s not a conceit I care for. At all.
Also, the Amazon reviews are full of how “believable” these characters are, and where Newsome’s writing style is solid they didn’t so much feel believable to me as stereotypes — something pointed out by one of the characters themselves! What’s more, I knew (because I have to admit I read/watch a lot of these damn things) that the person captured for the murder at the end wasn’t really the monster at the end of the book. So there was a set-up for the next book in the series, and I assume the next and the next.
I have a couple of other admittedly nitpicky irritations: the novel is told in third person mostly omniscient but pretends to be told in third person limited with switching POV. And there were all sorts of typesetting errors. A whole bunch of egregiously missing quotation marks, for one thing. Fortunately, none of them were bad enough as to be confusing, but they were still annoying. And, finally, I am not pleased about the “Don’t Mess Around with Jim” earworm:
He was not a guy who tugged on Superman’s cape. (Kindle edition, location 946)
I like dog parks and the dynamics seen between the people at them, and I just generally like dogs. But I didn’t find Newsome’s characters believable, I didn’t much care about Lia, and I don’t think I’ll be picking up the next book in the series. Or the next. Or the one after that.
And five’ll get you ten my next review is of ANOTHER cozy. Because that’s how I roll.