My Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: MF
New to the historic town of Metamora, Indiana, Cameron Cripps-Hayman is looking to make friends with her neighbors. What she isn’t looking for is one of their bodies floating in the canal.
When she and her estranged husband, the town sheriff, are both named suspects for the murder, Cameron takes solving the crime into her own hands, teaming up with her eccentric co-workers who dub themselves The Metamora Action Agency.
As if hunting for a murderer with two high school geniuses, the town drunk, and an elderly kleptomaniac isn’t hard enough, Cameron adopts the five mangy guard dogs of her deceased neighbor. But maybe a stint at playing gatekeeper is just what she needs to come face-to-face with the killer and save another neighbor from being the next victim.
I received a free audiobook copy of this book from Tantor Audio and voluntarily reviewed it.
Deadly Dog Days is a fun cozy mystery featuring plenty of dogs, like the title promises. I liked the sound of the concept and was happy I got to listen to the audiobook version of this one. The narrator did a great job. While the story wasn’t as compelling and engaging as I had hoped, I still had fun listening to this one
Deadly Dog Days starts with main character Cameron enjoying her lunch until she finds the body of a dead women in the canal. She ends up becoming one of the main suspects and is determined to find out who killed her. The runs a volunteer phone bank and transforms her group of people who do community service hours and help her into the Metamora action agency who not only help put the town on the map again, but also catch the murderer.
I liked the idea of the book and it had plenty of good parts, but to me it also felt kinda slow. There is a lot of focus on the daily life of the characters and side characters and while the mystery and the topic of murder was a big part of it, at times I felt like the mystery didn’t progress as much. There aren’t any big clues at the start and no suspects that really stand out or who get cleared. There is quite the interesting reveal at end, but I would’ve liked a bit more build-up and hints in that direction as it lacked a bit of impact to me. And I would’ve liked just a bit more focus on the mystery as I was more interested in the mystery than the big amount of minor plot lines surrounding the characters daily lives. For me it was hard at times to keep all the pieces together about the mystery and there were so few real pieces of evidence till later in the book that it didn’t really feel like progress until then.
Cameron was a decent enough main character, but at first I struggled to really get a feel for her. I didn’t really get why she did the things she did and only till the later half of the book did I feel like I got a feel for her personality. I kept wondering why she and husband were estranged as it seemed she still had feelings for him and it felt like I was missing a piece, but it was one of those bits of info that don’t get mentioned till late in the book. I liked the glimpses into her character we got later as it made me understand her character a bit more. And I liked how she was trying to find her place in town and help the town out.
The side characters didn’t really click for me at first. Monica was a tad overbearing, controlling and annoying. Mia didn’t seem likable. Ben wanted to tell Carmen what to do. The action agency people seemed to go from helpful to too helpful or a bit too involved in Carmen’s live at times. The dogs were an untrained mess and I didn’t feel their connection to Carmen or get a feel for their personalities. It was hard to really warm up to anyone, but it all got better as the book progressed. Monica turned more into a close sister to Carmen. Mia showed some emotions and put a bit of effort into her relationship with Carmen. It was obvious Ben still cared about Carmen and worried about her. The action agency’s huddling around Carmen felt more touching than annoying. And the dogs got more their own personalities.
There are a lot of side characters, from friends and family to possible suspects and other town inhabitants and at times I struggled remembering who was who and what their role was in the story.
There is an interesting set-up for plot lines that I think will progress throughout the series. The town is in bad shape and not enough tourists and visitors are coming in. This was an interesting set-up and I liked seeing what the events in this book contribute to this. Then there are some side characters whose lives change and develop and some decisions that are made and I think we’ll see more of in future books. I liked series that have a set-up like that as it’s a nice way to tie the books together and have an overarching plot line.
I am happy I picked this one up in audiobook format. The narrator did a great job and I liked how she did the voices for the characters. I had trouble recognizing who some of the characters were and remembering their names and at times the voices the narrator did made me remember who a character was. I liked her voices for the different characters and the book was pleasant to listen to.
To summarize: This was a fun cozy mystery. The focus is more on the character’s daily life than the mystery, but the murder is a big part of their lives. The mystery was a decent one and there was a nice twits, but I wasn’t as invested in solving it as I had wanted to be. I felt like there wasn’t as much progress in the first part of the story and not as many clues to progress the mystery. It took me some time to warm up to Carmen and the side characters. Only later in the book I felt like I got a bit of a feel for Carmen. And the side characters started off as not as likable and only later I warmed up a bit to them. There are a lot of side characters, which made it difficult at times to remember who was who. The narrator did a great job with this one, I enjoyed listening to this audiobook. I liked her different voices for the characters and thought her voices fit the characters well.