Sunday, July 26, 2020

Bite the Dust (A Low Country Dog Walker Mystery #1)

Bite the Dust is the first book in a new cozy series by Jackie Layton. Released 28th Feb 2020 by Belle Bridge Books, it's 250 pages and available in paperback and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.

This is a very light murder cozy with a female protagonist who finds one of her dogwalking clients (and personal mentor) dead in his home when she comes to walk his dog. It's full of southern slang and clean language with a slow romance subplot. The plot and tension arc are well paced and the characterizations are well done, especially for a debut author. The book could have benefited from a merciless editing; a fair bit of the dialogue was still rough and somewhat clunky. The descriptive prose was somewhat overwrought, but really overall, it was good and readable.

There is quite a bit of religious supplication in the book. Main character Andi Grace seems quite determined in her religious beliefs and refers to God a number of times in the book (in a positive way). For readers who prefer their cozies more secular in narration, it could be a bit much. I didn't find it over the top, but it was noticeable.

It also struck me as a bit awkward that she refers to her siblings for whom she put her life on hold after the unexpected death of their parents as "the kids" numerous times throughout the book. Contextual information would suggest that her brother is only a couple of years younger than she is, so referring to them as the kids is contrived.

The book does have potential and I'll be interested to see how the author moves the series forward. The second book in the series was published in June, 2020.

Three stars for the unpolished dialogue and convoluted denouement.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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