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Begging for Trouble (Dog Walker Mystery Series #4)

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  • Posted October 12, 2011

    Begging for Trouble

    Ellie Engleman is a professional dog walker. Not only that, but she actually communicates with the dogs! One of her clients, Rob Chesney, is a famous drag queen and gives her free tickets to the show. She and a group of friends-including her police officer boyfriend-are shocked when screams take over what was proving to be a wonderful show.
    Rob is accused and arrested for the murder of a fellow drag queen, Carmella Sunday, who looks eerily like Rob! He doesn't have much of a defense since he was found over the body with the murder weapon in his hand. Bitsy, Rob's Poohuahua, is the only witness to the crime and Ellie is hopeful to break through the poor pooch's trauma and expose the real killer.
    Ellie is known around the police station as somewhat of a nuisance and nosey person, but she doesn't let that stop her from doing what is right. She and her doggy pals investigate every possible lead to prove Rob's innocence.
    A wonderfully original, well written mystery! This book will make you smile at the K-9 antics and turning the pages as fast as possible to find the killer!

    Reviewed by Ashley Wintters for Suspense Magazine

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  • Posted April 7, 2011

    Unique series - likeable characters (human and canine!)

    "Begging for Trouble" is the fourth in Judi McCoy's Dog Walker mysteries. Ellie Engleman is a professional dog-walker who is dating NYPD detective Sam Ryder. The story opens with Ellie and Sam attending the opening night of one of her client's shows at a Manhattan hot spot. Rob Chesney, whose stage name is Bobbi Doll, is a female impersonator and his show is full of songs, dances, and jokes. Soon the laughs turn to screams when one of the dancers Art Pearson, a.k.a. Carmella Sunday, is stabbed and Rob is found holding the murder weapon. Sam brings Rob to the police station, but Ellie takes custody of the only witness to the murder - Rob's tiny "poohuahua" Bitsy. While Ellie has solved several previous murder cases, Sam thinks she is "inept and a danger" to herself. Even though Ellie thinks she is falling in love with Sam, she refuses to let Rob and Bitsy down. She's soon following up on clues and questioning some of the other dancers in Rob's show and getting much closer to the truth through her investigation than Sam would like to admit. We soon learn that Ellie has a secret weapon in conducting her own investigations - her Yorkipoo partner Rudy. Ellie has a psychic link to dogs and is able to communicate with Rudy and with the dogs she walks for her clients. Unfortunately for Ellie, witness Bitsy is traumatized by what she saw and isn't "talking". Ellie is still determined to prove Rob's innocence if not for his sake then for the sake of Bitsy who misses Rob terribly. Ellie is an extremely likeable character. She's loyal to her human and canine clients and keeps her sense of humor even when put in difficult situations. You may be skeptical of the premise of Ellie and the dogs communicating to solve the murder, but give this mystery a chance! Ellie's conversations with the pets come across as fun and believable, and not forced or corny. In fact, the interaction between Ellie and her wise-cracking dog Rudy is one of the highlights of the book. Rudy sees humans for what they really are, good or bad, and isn't afraid to "speak" his mind. While Ellie is light-hearted and open and easy to like, Sam is a little more gruff and reserved. I like that some of the chapters are told from Sam's point a view, which helps the reader get to know Sam a little better. Although not much information is given about the murder in these chapters, insight is given into how much Sam cares about Ellie. While Ellie is sometimes unsure of Sam's feelings about her, the readers get some inside information through Sam's thoughts and conversations, and this helps make him a more likeable character. The character of Ellie and the author's sense of humor remind me of Joanne Pence's Angie Amalfi series. However, this book is unique due to Ellie's special ability to communicate with dogs. A few cases of strong language and the heat level of some of the romantic scenes between Ellie and Sam are a little unexpected in a cozy, but "Begging for Trouble" is a great choice for dog lovers and others who enjoy a fun, whimsical read. This review was originally written for the "Season for Romance" E-Zine. The book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

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