Friday, August 05, 2011

Sandie's Corner - Dogs Don't Lie by Clea Simon

When Sandie sent me this review, I told her I was saving it for August when I go include it for Dog Days of August. Thanks, Sandie!

DOGS DON'T LIE         
CLEA SIMON         
Poisoned Pen Press   April, 2011
ISBN 978-1-59058-860-4 (hc)
ISBN 978-1-59058-862-8 (Trade pb)

Small town life in Beauville is pretty much the same as any small town in New England. It is the hometown for budding animal behaviorist Pru Marlowe. Pru had moved to New York City to do her schooling, but she didn't quite finish. Between working herself sick, working toward her certification, and the internship required of a behaviorist, she'd ended up in the hospital discovering that she could hear the thoughts of the animals around her. There were far too many voices assaulting her in the big city, so Pru fled and returned home to Beauville and the house she grew up in. Finally accepting her new "gift" as real, she realized she needed to earn her way. She began working as an animal trainer and took on a few local clients. One was Charles and his rescued pit bull Lily, who had a past she was trying to overcome. Unfortunately, that would be much harder after Pru finds a bloody Lily standing over Charles' body.

Pru knew that Lily didn't kill Charles, but Lily's past trauma has made it impossible for her to communicate clearly with Pru. This was going take a whole lot of questions to a whole bunch of people before Pru would be able to prove Lily's innocence. Somehow everyone in this small town was tied to everyone else, which made one question lead to another and another. Pru had her work cut out for her. She had to save Lily from execution by proving she didn't kill Charles. Once she'd done that, Pru had to find out who really did kill Charles so she didn't end up next on the hit list herself.

DOGS DON'T LIE is a charming character-driven mystery. Everyone, human and otherwise, was woven together in the fabric of small town life, past, present and future. That doesn't mean the plot didn't twist and turn; it did. We don't uncover the secrets we learn without some resistance and Pru's persistence. First we got to know Pru and her tabby cat, Wallis, the one who had introduced Pru to her new ability. Next we learned about Charles and the computer work he was doing. We became familiar with Lily and what had traumatized her so badly. And we become acquainted with the handsome police officer, the home health aide assisting Charles' mom, the jock from her high school days, the town gossip, the owner of a long-haired cat who had problems the vet could not cure, and even Happy, the local dive's bartender. In meeting all these characters and more, we also had the pleasure of listening in on thoughts from a number of animals such as Bitsy, who referred to himself as Growler, the Bichon Pru walked every weekday; Bandit, the ferret owned by the animal control officer, who had a penchant for shiny objects; Frank, a gorgeous black Persian cat lonely for his original person and neglected by his current one; and Floyd, a small red tabby cat with his own story to tell, if Wallis can connect with the shivering kitten. Pru's talents extend beyond felines, leaving the door wide open for future tails.

Clea Simon has written two other series based around cats - the Theda Krakow mystery series published by Poisoned Pen Press, and the Dulcie Schwartz series from Severn House. Simon's mysteries revolve around cats and other animals, but they by no means exclude human beings and the world at large. Her books are strongly flavored with information from her book THE FELINE MYSTIQUE: ON THE MYSTERIOUS CONNECTION BETWEEN WOMEN AND CATS. Coincidentally Clea Simon's latest Dulcie Schwartz book, GREY ZONE, was also published in April, 2011 by Severn House. Simon has written several non-fiction books in addition to her contributions to numerous publications.

The small town of Beauville and its residents have many secrets to tell. I'll be very curious to see where Pru Marlowe heads with her special talents, along with her faithful tabby cat Wallis, in Clea Simon's cozy pet noir series.

Sandie Herron
For Lesa's Book Critiques


Liz V. said...

I quibble with the title DOGS DON'T LIE. Anyone who has ever had one of those four legged critters knows the "I'll starve if you don't share" look has no basis in fact.
Nonetheless, based on your review, DOGS DON'T LIE sounds like a fun fantasy read. Thanks.

Lesa said...

Oh, I like your quibble,Liz. I can't wait to see what Sandie says about it.

Clea Simon said...

Good quibble, Liz. I will say that the title is in response to something Wallis the cat says... and I'll say no more!
Thank you, both Sandie and Lesa, for giving my "Dogs Don't Lie" your time and attention. And in fact, here for the first time, I can announce that the second Pru and Wallis book, "Cats Can't Shoot," has been accepted - and is going to be published in April, 2012!

Liz V. said...

Congratulations on CATS CAN'T SHOOT.

I shall keep an eye out for Wallis' comment.

Sandie Herron said...

Liz, I'm a little bit tongue tied since I've never owned a dog, but I do know that statement is true for cats. However, for DOGS DON'T LIE the statement is applied to something much bigger and more important than dinner, so I think the title can stand. Besides, it is an important clue in the long run. I hope you enjoy the book, it really is delightful.

Clea, I'm so pleased that Pru #2 is on its way! I do hope I am able to review it. I really enjoyed "pet noir." And doubly pleased that Mr. Grey will be back. I "expect" great things!


Thanks so much for including my review for Clea Simon's terrific pet noir book, first in the series. Sandie

Karen C said...

This sounds very interesting! I'm putting this on the TBR list. Thanks.