Publication Date: August 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: Paperback, 336pp
(Received for an honest review from Obsidian Mystery)
Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Judi McCoy on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter
Excerpt from Till Death Do Us Bark
Professional dog walker Ellie Engleman comes unleashed when she takes a vacation - but it's not long before murder sinks it's teeth into her summer fun...
A Hamptons wedding gives Ellie an excuse to take a beak for the first time in ten years, so she and her best friend pack up their dogs - yorkiepoo Rudy and terrier Twink - and head to the beach for a week.
Since humans and canines have been invited to the festivities, Ellie hopes she doesn't get roped into dealing with the wet-nosed wedding guests. But soon she's chasing her tail over trouble of the two-legged variety. Before the bride can say, "I do," someone is murdered, and Ellie and Rudy must put their noses to the ground to sniff out the killer before the entire ceremony goes to the dogs.
Author Judi McCoy is up to some new tricks in her latest book in The Dog Walker mystery series, Till Death Do US Bark. McCoy's amateur sleuth Ellie is back along with her canine friend Rudy but this time the New York City dog walker is on vacation in the Hamptons. Fans of the series and new readers alike will love the laugh out loud antics of this crime solving team. Add in a murdered doctor, a parrot with a talent for repeating things, and a wedding and you have recipe for a cozy mystery that's hard to put down!
Ellie Engleman hasn't had a vacation in ten years. She has paid her dues in New York's upper east side as a dog walker extraordinaire. When Ellie's friend Vivian finds out her sister Arlene is getting married, it's the perfect excuse for a little R & R on the beach. Ellie and Viv, along with their canine companions, Rudy and Twink head for the sun and sand of the Hamptons never expecting to be sniffing out clues to a murder. When the groom to be is murdered on the eve of the wedding, it's up to Ellie and her friends to figure out whodunit. Ellie's uncanny ability to talk to animals always seem to help her out when she needs it most, and with the suspicion falls Arlene's housekeeper's son, she needs all the help she can get.
Judi McCoy has created a series that will appeal to not only the cozy mystery reading crowd, but also to those dog lovers out there. Since McCoy is obviously a dog lover herself and has in the past donated the proceeds of her work to a prominent no kill shelter, I think readers will appreciate her sentiments and find her work all the more interesting. I know from personal experience that having a canine companion is one of the most rewarding relationships you will ever find yourself in and that comes across and McCoy's writing.
Till Death Do Us Part is the fifth book in McCoy's popular Dog Walker mystery series. This book is slightly different than previous books in the series, in that it has a different setting. Fans of the series, know that Ellie Engleman is the dog walker to the rich and famous of New York City's upper east side, but this time McCoy is switching it up and sending Ellie and her friends to the Hamptons. Same upscale attitude but in a different locale. I think this adds another dimension to the story and brings up a lot of possibilities for future books. I liked the urban setting in this series, but this was a nice change of pace that I think fans will like. Variety is the spice of life!
One of the most interesting aspects of this book and the entire series really, is Ellie's ability to talk to the dogs around her. We aren't talking about interpreting what they might mean or reading signals here, we are talking real conversations about the mysteries they are trying to solve, and what's going on around them. The banter between the animals themselves, in this case, Rudy, Twink and a parrot named Myron is so comical that I found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion, but it's the talks that involve Ellie that are the most special. The bond between Ellie and Rudy is a special one and it's evident in how they respond to each other. McCoy is able to portray a very real friendship based on mutual respect and admiration. Hard to do when one of your characters just happens to be a dog.
The mystery aspect of this was interesting and quite believable. The doctor that Arlene intends to marry isn't quite the upstanding member of the community she thought he was. His extracurricular activities include drug dealing and seduction and there seem to be quite a few people who may have wanted him dead, including the housekeepers son. I thought McCoy did a great job of establishing several possible motives and providing some great suspects. The reader will have a hard time pinning this one down before the final reveal. McCoy has a knack for keeping the reader going in circles until just the right moment.
I recommend this one to both cozy and canine lovers! It can be read as a stand alone, but i think the reader misses out on the real connection between Rudy and Ellie if they don't go back and seek out the other books in the series. The mystery was believable and well thought out and the banter amongst the animals lightens the subject matter and adds a lot of comic relief. If you love dogs, this is the series for you and Till Death Do US Bark is a good place to start!
Till Death Do Us Part is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Judi McCoy live with her husband and three pocket pooches - Buckley, Bell and Sasha - on Virginia's beautiful eastern shore. Retired from her stint as a nationally rated women's gymnastics judge, Judi raises orchids and tends her garden while concocting the next adventure in Ellie and Rudy's books.
The publisher has offered one copy of Judi's book, Till Death Due Us Bark for giveaway to one lucky winner from Debbie's Book Bag!
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