When George and Bellaa homeless alcoholic and his intimidating German shepherddisturb the peace outside her studio, yoga instructor Kate Davidson's Zen-like calm is stretched to the breaking point. Kate tries to get rid of them before Bella scares the yoga pants off her students. Instead, the three form an unlikely friendship.
One night Kate finds George's body behind her studio. The police dismiss his murder as a drug-related street crime, but she knows George wasn't a dealer. So Kate starts digging into George's past while also looking for someone to adopt Bella before she's sent to the big dog park in the sky. With the murderer nipping at her heels, Kate has to work fast or her next Corpse Pose may be for real.
Winner of the 2014 Dog Writers Association Award in the category of Fiction, Mystery or Humor!
"Cozy fans will eagerly await the next installment."Publishers Weekly
"Murder Strikes a Pose , by Tracy Weber, is a delightful debut novel featuring Kate Davidson, a caring but feist yoga teacher...Namaste to Weber and her fresh, new heroine!"Penny Warner, author of How to Dine on Killer Wine
"[T]his charming debut mystery...pieces together a skillful collage of mystery, yoga, and plenty of dog stories against the unique backdrop of Seattle characters and neighborhoods. The delightful start of a promising new series. I couldn't put it down!"Waverly Fitzgerald, author of Dial C For Chihuahua
"Three woofs for Tracy Weber's first Downward Dog Mystery, Murder Strikes a Pose . Great characters, keep-you-guessing plot, plenty of laughs, and dogswhat more could we want? Ah, yesthe next book!"Sheila Webster Boneham, author of Drop Dead on Recall
About the Author
Tracy Weberis author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mystery series. Herfirst book in the series,Murder Strikes a Pose , won the Maxwell Award for Fiction and was nominated for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. A certified yoga therapist, Tracy is the owner of Whole Life Yoga, a Seattle yoga studio, and she loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any way possible. Tracy and her husband Marc live in Seattle with their precocious German Shepherd pup Ana. When she's not writing, Tracy spends her time teaching yoga, trying to corral Ana, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house.
Read an Excerpt
MURDER STRIKES A POSE
A Downward Dog Mystery
By TRACY WEBER
Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.Copyright © 2014 Tracy Weber
All rights reserved.
I laid my body on the cool wood floor, covered up with a blanket, and prepared to die.
Metaphorically, that is.
Corpse Pose's ten-minute rest always soothed my stressed-out nerves, and for once I didn't feel guilty about the indulgence. My to-do list was blank, Serenity Yoga's phone was silent, and I had a whole blissful hour between clients to do my favorite activity: practice yoga.
Even my eclectic Greenwood neighborhood seemed uncharacteristically quiet, lulled by Seattle's rare afternoon sun. The residents of the apartments above the yoga studio were off at their day jobs; the alcohol-addicted patrons of the block's two dive bars slept off their Jim Beam breakfasts; the soccer moms shopping at next door's upscale Phinney Wood Market purchased the day's supplies in unusual silence.
I wiggled my toes under a Mexican blanket, covered my eyes with a blue satin eye pillow, and inhaled deeply. The ooey-gooey smell of Mocha Mia's chocolate caramel cake wafted from across the street and filled my nostrils with sweet toffee-scented bliss—my all-time favorite aromatherapy.
Paradise. Simply paradise.
I released my weight into the earth and silently coached myself, exactly as I would one of my students. OK, Kate. Feel your body relax. Notice the random fluctuations of your mind and—
A vicious snarl ripped through the silence, startling me out of my catnap. I sat straight up, eye pillow falling to the floor with an undignified thump.
What the heck?
When had a dog fighting ring moved into the neighborhood?
A dog fight was the only plausible explanation for the commotion outside. Bursts of deep, frantic barking were followed by high-pitched yelping, all punctuated by the peace-shattering sounds of angry yelling. The phrases I could make out confirmed my suspicions. This had to be a dog fight, albeit one-sided.
"Control your dog!"
"Get that vicious beast out of here!"
And even a simple, "What the hell?"
I closed the door between the yoga room and the studio's lobby, hoping to block out the intrusive sounds. Snarls, shouts, and an occasional ear-piercing shriek continued to reverberate right through the wall.
Undaunted, I imagined that the sounds were merely clouds floating across my mental horizon. Most of those clouds were dark and ominous, like the deep thunderclouds preceding a hailstorm. But every so often I heard a soft voice, more like the fluffy clouds of childhood summers. I couldn't quite make out his words, but I could tell that the speaker was a man. From his tone, I assumed he was trying to calm beasts both human and animal.
It wasn't working.
Neither, for that matter, was my attempted meditation.
I'd obviously have to shift tactics.
I tried drowning out the clamor with low, soft chanting. Then I increased the volume. But even as I belted out Om Santi, my favorite mantra for peace, I felt my jaw start to tighten. My fingernails bit deeply into my palms. My shoulders crept up to my ears.
An entirely different mantra began pounding through my head: Don't get me angry; you wouldn't like me when I'm angry.
A series of yelps and the words "I'm calling the cops!" zapped me like a cattle prod. I leapt from my mat and stormed across the floor, determined to put a stop to that infernal racket. I hurled open the door and came face-to-face, or rather face-to-snout, with the source of the commotion. Not more than five feet away from the studio's entrance stood a paunchy, dark-haired man and the biggest, skinniest, meanest-looking German shepherd I had ever seen. Don't get me wrong. I like dogs. I love them, in fact. It's their human counterparts I could sometimes do without. But this frothing beast was no Rin Tin Tin. A long line of drool oozed from its mouth. Its sharp white teeth glinted in the sunlight, and its wiry black topcoat still stood on end from the prior scuffle. The dog was obviously rabid.
I didn't recognize the man standing next to the frightening creature, but I did recognize his activity. He worked as a vendor for Dollars for Change, a well-regarded local newspaper that published articles about homelessness and poverty while employing those same homeless individuals as salespeople. Ordinarily I would have welcomed one of their vendors outside my business. If nothing else, supporting the paper demonstrated yoga's principles of kindness and compassion.
But this was not an ordinary circumstance. I absolutely could not allow that disgusting dog to raise a ruckus outside my studio. The prenatal class would have a fit. Suffice it to say that pregnancy hormones didn't always leave expecting moms in the best of moods. My moms-to-be liked their yoga practice. They needed their yoga practice. And they needed to be serene while doing it. If a noisy dog fight disturbed their peaceful experience, I'd be the one getting barked at.
Thinking less than yogic thoughts, I marched up to the pair, determined to put a stop to the chaos.
"What in the world's going on out here?"
The human half of the dastardly duo held a leash in one hand, newspapers in the other. He smiled at me and said, "Sorry about all the noise. I'm George, and this here's Bella. What's your name?"
"Kate Davidson, but—"
"Well, nice to meet you, Kate. I'd shake your hand, but mine are full, so Bella will have to do it instead."
The vicious beast walked up and calmly sniffed my hand. I prayed she wasn't about to ingest my fingers.
"Bella, say hello!"
Upon hearing her owner's command, the giant hairy monsterdog immediately went into a perfect sit and sweetly offered me her paw. Maybe she wasn't rabid after all. Just huge and ill-mannered.
"Don't mind Bella," he continued. "She's very friendly to people. She just doesn't like other dogs much. She'd be fine if people kept their unruly mutts to themselves, but they think if their rude dog wants to play, Bella has to as well." He shook his head in disgust. "I don't understand some people!"
I tried to interrupt, to tell him that his dog was the problem, but he didn't give me the chance.
"Bella and I are new to this neighborhood, and we're supposed to sell papers near the market. I tried setting up by the north entrance, but there's a pet store at that end. Pete's Pets, I think it's called? The owner was a nice enough guy and all, but selling there was a disaster with all those dogs going in and out. Bella wasn't happy at all." He shrugged. "So I guess we're going to have to hang out here instead."
I bit the inside of my lip and considered my options. Up close, George wasn't exactly the paragon of health I wanted standing outside my business. His friendly smile exposed yellowed teeth in need of significant dental care, and if the sharp, ammonia-like smell was any indication, neither he nor Bella had taken a bath in quite some time. At three-thirty in the afternoon, I could smell whiskey on his breath, and I suspected this most recent drink hadn't been his first of the day. It would also likely be far from his last. I only knew one thing for certain: if George didn't frighten my students away, his loud, intimidating, fur-covered companion would.
I needed them to leave, but honestly, I didn't want to say it out loud. After all, I taught yoga for a living. People expected me to be calm and collected at all times. I wasn't allowed to be mean, or even irritated, for that matter. I hesitated as I tried to come up with the perfect words to make him want to move, if not out of the neighborhood, then at least across the street.
Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately), one of my favorite students picked that very moment to walk up with her five-month-old Lab pup, Coalie. "Hey, Kate!" she said. "I hoped I'd run into you! Do you still have space in your Core Strength class tonight?"
Coalie was as rude and friendly as Labs everywhere. She couldn't stop herself if she tried. She ran up to Bella, wiggling her entire body with glee, and covered Bella's muzzle in sloppy wet puppy kisses.
Bella wasted no time. Faster than a 747 and stronger than a freight train, Bella pinned Coalie to the ground between her front legs, snarling and air-snapping on either side of Coalie's neck. I heard the sound of canine teeth chomping together and imagined soft puppy bones shattering between them.
My student screamed. Coalie yelped. George grabbed Bella's collar while I reached in between razor-sharp teeth to pull Coalie from the jaws of death. The three of us wrestled the two dogs apart, but not before my student almost died of heart failure.
"What's wrong with you?" she yelled. "Keep that vicious monster away from my baby!"
George quickly apologized, but said, "No damage done. Bella was just teaching that pup some manners." He pointed at Coalie. "See, it's all good!"
Coalie, oblivious with joy, seemed unscathed and ready to dive in again. Tail wagging and butt wiggling, she pulled with all her might, trying desperately to get back to Bella.
Bella had other plans. She sat next to George, glaring directly at that pup with a patented Clint Eastwood stare. Go ahead, she seemed to say. Make my day. My soon-to-be-former student ran off as quickly as her legs would move, dragging the still-happy puppy behind her.
"See you in class tonight!" I yelled to her rapidly retreating back. I doubted I'd be seeing her anytime soon.
Yoga reputation be damned. I had to get rid of this guy.
I put my hands on my hips and stood nice and tall, taking full advantage of my five-foot-three-inch frame. "Look. I can't let you stay here with the dog. She's obviously frightening people. You have to leave." I paused a moment for emphasis, then added, "Now."
George stood a little taller, too. "Look yourself, lady. The last time I checked, I'm standing on city property. I have every right to be here. You don't own this sidewalk, and you can't stop me from making a living on it." He glared at me, sharp eyes unblinking. "We Dollars for Change vendors are licensed, and no matter how much you don't like us, the city says we can be here."
"There's no 'us' I don't like," I replied, frustrated. "It's your dog. And you may have every right to be here, but the dog is another story. What do you think Animal Control will do if I report a vicious dog attacking people outside my store?"
George stepped back, pulling Bella closer. Seattle had the toughest dangerous dog laws in the nation. We both knew what would happen if I made that call. "You wouldn't do that!" he said. "Bella's never hurt anyone."
I planted my feet stubbornly. "Try me."
George gave me a wounded look and gathered his papers, shoulders slumped in depressed resignation. "OK, we'll go. But I thought you yoga people were supposed to be kind." He shuffled away, shaking his head and mumbling under his breath. Bella followed close by his side.
"Crap," I muttered, watching their slow departure. "Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap."
He was right. Like all good yoga teachers, I had extensively studied yoga philosophy and tried to live by it. The teachings were clear: A yogi should respond to suffering with active compassion. And George was clearly suffering, whether he realized that fact or not.
Threatening to call the cops on George's dog may have been active, but it wasn't all that compassionate, to him or to Bella. I felt like a cad. My solution probably wasn't what the teachings had in mind, but it was the best I could come up with on short notice.
"Hang on there a minute!" I yelled as I ran to catch up with him. Out of breath, I said, "You're right. I overreacted, and I'm sorry. How many papers do you have left to sell today?"
George stopped walking. When he turned to look back at me, his eyes sparkled with an unexpected hint of wry humor. "About thirty."
The calculations weren't difficult. I wasn't completely broke—yet—but thirty dollars wasn't a drop in the bucket. On the other hand, my Monday evening classes were popular, and I had to get this guy away from the front door. Mentally crossing my fingers that the toilet wouldn't break again, I said, "Wait here. I'll be right back." I hurried back to the studio and grabbed thirty dollars from the cash box.
"If I buy all of your papers, will you be done for the day?"
"Yes ma'am, and that would be very kind of you." He gave me a broad, yellow-toothed smile. "Bella and I appreciate it very much."
He took the money, left the papers, and wandered off, whistling. Bella happily trotted behind him.
"Well, that wasn't so difficult," I said, patting myself on the back. "I should follow the teachings more often!" I went back inside and finished my considerably shortened practice. I chose to ignore the quiet voice in my head telling me I'd just made a huge mistake.
Excerpted from MURDER STRIKES A POSE by TRACY WEBER. Copyright © 2014 Tracy Weber. Excerpted by permission of Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Great start for a new Cozy Mystery series! Tracy Weber has created a realistic main character in an eclectic setting.
I have to agree with other reviewers in that I love that the main character, Kate, isn't perfect. As much as she wants to be a laid back person who can adapt and remain mellow, she fails miserably. She lets a ill-mannered dog get under her skin and acts inappropriately. However, the dog is soon in her care and things are far from laid back. Can she overcome all the stress, find a murderer, and save a dog from an unfortunate fate? Murder Strikes a Pose is a delightful cozy mystery that is fast-paced and a must for dog lovers. I look forward to reading the next book in the series. Reviewer was provided a copy of Murder Strikes a Pose in exchange for an honest review.
I've just finished reading Murder Strikes a Pose and thoroughly enjoyed it. The story pulled me in right from the start. With each page, I felt myself walking along with Kate and Bella as they searched to discover who had murdered Bella's former owner George. And like a dog with a bone, Kate's determination at finding that killer was undeterred. Her naivete about how to go about solving the murder made me laugh. And by the middle of the book, there were more than enough suspects to chose from. But who really did it? Can Kate really solve this or will she have to leave it to the professionals? I won't spoil it by telling you what happens, you'll see when you read it. Katiedid
This is a great cozy mystery. It's summer release is perfect for anyone who needs a good book to take with them. The main character is witty, smart,and likeable....someone you could easily hang out with. While I would prefer not to do yoga, I would love to to hang out with Bella. While taking time to provide a wonderful description of the location, the author keeps the story at a nice pace and leaves you anticipating the next book in the series. Tracy Weber has the beginnings of a promising series.
You don’t have to be into yoga to enjoy this charming story featuring yoga instructor Kate Davidson as the intrepid amateur sleuth. Kate is trying to keep her yoga studio afloat and doesn’t have time for her best friend’s matchmaking attempts. To make matters worse, a homeless alcoholic named George and his sidekick, Bella, start selling newspapers outside her studio. It wouldn’t be so bad, but Bella is a German shepherd the size of a small horse and makes a ruckus every time another dog comes within sight. Kate, using her best Zen-like approach, tries to convince them to move to another spot. But after a couple of attempts, the three strike up an unlikely friendship. Kate discovers there’s more to George than first appears. When Kate finds George murdered, the police dismiss it as a drug-related street crime. However, Kate knows George wasn’t into drugs and is determined to find his killer. She also has to find someone to adopt Bella before her intimidating ways get the lovable dog in real trouble with the authorities. As Kate tries to maintain her calm amid the chaos, the killer is closer to making her Corpse Pose a permanent move. Author Tracy Weber combines murder, mayhem, humor, romance and understanding for a well-balanced cozy murder mystery. The story moves at a steady pace and holds your attention from beginning to end. The story will have you laughing while trying to guess who the killer really is. The characters are well-developed and likable. The interaction of Kate and her friends draws the reader in. Weber’s eye for detail places the reader in the Seattle setting and brings the story to life. The antics of Bella will tug on the heartstrings of animal lovers. The author’s attention to details shines through in her knowledge of yoga and dogs. MURDER STRIKES A POSE is an intriguing debut for a fascinating new series that will delight mystery readers. Combining calming techniques, dog-related frolics, mystery and laughs; Weber has crafted a story that is hard to put down. FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me as part of the author’s virtual blog tour in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
I loved this book, it was a really fun read. I really like Kate because her voice felt real. She tries to live in the moment, on a higher plane--but most moments she is swept into reacting, obsessing and coffee coffee coffee (kind of like me, really). Before this book I hadn't realized just reading about yoga triggers my muscles and mind to relax--that felt like a win too.
4 stars Murder Strikes a Pose is entertaining. I laughed, I even shed a tear. Thought of doing yoga for a sec or two. Her main character Kate I liked most of the time. She tried to live her beliefs, but sometimes she failed. The plot was good. She went down a lot of wrong paths before she figured out the right one. Lots of suspects. I do admit that I guessed right on who the murder was and why he killed him. But it still a good read. Kate is still getting over the death of her father. She is afraid to love again. She gets into a lots of arguments when people tell her to leave it to police. I sided with Kate till I realized if my friends were going to look into a murder I would tell them to leave it the cops. I know I could not afford to pay 400$ for pet medicine I could not afford it for my own even. But I would not want to put a dog down either. Hard choices to make. I would read another book in this series. I was given this ebook to read for review from Netgalley and Midnight ink. Also asked to be part of blog tour.
Reviewed by Kim for Read Your Writes Book Reviews Murder Strikes a Pose is the first book in the A Downward Dog Mystery Series by Tracy Weber. The story is told in first person by Kate Davidson, a yoga instructor and business owner. It took me a little while to get into the book. Once I did, I didn't want to stop reading. Kate slowly befriends a homeless man named George and his German Shepherd Bella. After hearing noise outside of her studio one night, Kate stumbles upon George’s dead body. While the cops think George's death was simply a case of two drunks getting into an angry fight, Kate KNOWS that George wasn’t violent and would never get into a fight. With the police dismissing her and her concerns, Kate decides to do her own investigating. Adding to her problem of trying to find George’s killer, Kate also has to find someone to adopt George’s beloved, yet seemingly aggressive dog, Bella. Kate doesn't want to keep Bella, but slowly Bella gets her to fall in love with her. When it comes to rescuing animals the question is always, “Who rescued who?” Having Bella in her life helps Kate start to heal from her own past. With the help of her best friend, Rene, and new love interest, Michael, Kate slowly gets closer and closer to figuring out who murdered George and why. Kate encounters countless people telling her to end her investigation for her own safety. Just when she figures out who the killer is, she discovers her life and Bella’s are in jeopardy. Kate only has herself and Bella to get out of this situation, but with a gun involved, the question will be if they both will survive the night. Without any question, I’m a dog lover. I will admit that towards the end of the book I actually cried. I mean SERIOUSLY, who in the world cries reading a cozy mystery? Even with that said, I’m looking forward to the next book in this series. Source: Publisher via NetGalley
A terrific first novel in a new series of the "Dog Lover Mystery" genre. The author does a great job introducing the heroine & the dog destined to become her companion. The story is interesting without giving the mystery away from the start. I am looking forward to the next book into the series.
I loved this book. As a dog lover who loves my puppy more than life, this book really hit home for me. Very excited to read the next one.
(I was gifted this audiobook by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am also part of her street tean. However, in no way did this affect my honest review) I love audiobooks when they are unabridged ( or if they are then the author needs to be the performer), however, it's been a while since I've listened to one so entertaining! That in part is because of the choice of narrator. Between Anne James performance of Tracy Weber's wonderful introduction to this series, I was lost in the moment as I learned a little more about yoga and just how sleazy some people are. As for Bella...she stole the show without so much as a "woof". Highly recommended
Murder Strikes A Pose is the first book in the Downward Dog Mystery series by Tracy Weber. I received an audiobook copy in exchange for an honest review. Kate Davidson owns a Yoga studio in Seattle. Her voice on the audiobook is so quiet and light that you just know she is serene and Zen-like. Well, almost. Turns out she’s just like the rest of us: tries to stay calm and above it all, but that doesn’t always work. Kate meets George, a homeless alcoholic, and Bella, a big, scary German shepherd with an expensive, serious illness, when they set up outside her yoga studio to sell newspapers. She persuades George to move down the street a bit, and as time goes by a friendship forms. Although she really doesn’t know George very well, when she finds his body behind her studio she knows it can’t be just a drug-related street crime like the police think. And it turns out “Zen Kate” has a feisty side and a stubborn streak a mile wide. Against the advice of everyone she knows she starts looking into George’s past trying to prove he was murdered, while also looking for an appropriate home for Bella. After all, she can’t keep Bella, can she? – Bella is too big, scares the clients, her medicine is too expensive, Kate doesn’t have time . . . . This was an absolutely delightful story. The descriptions of Seattle were so vivid I almost felt like I was there, and the yoga sounded so relaxing I just might sign up. The plot was strong and the mystery engaging and not easy to solve. There were a lot of viable suspects and interesting characters, and Kate recklessly went down a lot of dangerous paths and met a lot of strange people while trying to find the killer and someone to adopt Bella. Kate has some old issues to deal with, wants to do things her way and isn’t ready to love again, but she cares, a lot – about Bella and maybe about Michael, the pet store owner in the neighborhood. I loved the understated delivery of the audiobook. It was perfect for Kate and for the story. I have to admit, though, that I sometimes did a double take when I realized just exactly what Kate has just said or thought, like when Michael tried to tell her to stay out of the investigation: “Michael spoke slowly and sternly, as if scolding an obstinate child. ‘Kate, let me be very clear about this. You will not continue this murder investigation, under any circumstances. I forbid it.’ Michael’s words were unequivocal, not to be challenged. He was man. He was in charge. He expected no argument. He was an idiot.” I loved Bella, enjoyed my visit to Seattle and my introduction to yoga, and want to spend more time with Kate and see what happens with Michael. I highly recommend Murder Strikes a Pose and will be reading the rest of the stories in this fun series.
Review of the audio Murder Strikes a Pose by Tracy Weber is a light mystery with a bit of romance. I am reviewing the audio book that was offered to me for my honest opinion. The narrator has a pleasant, soft voice. The characters are done well and you can tell who is speaking all the time. The story is read by the narrator, not acted by her... as she doesn't scream when the character screams she just says "She screamed". I enjoyed the voice and the clean sound of the story. I could understand everything that went on in the telling and there was no background interference. My review of the book Murder Strikes a Pose by Tracy Weber **** Murder Strikes a Pose is one of the books on the Tracy Weber Downward Dog Mystery Series. I enjoyed this tale of a yoga studio owner. She is worried about her studio's money problems and how to get more income when she finds a body in her parking lot. The dead man is a transient who sold tabloids at the door of her yoga studio. She had become a friend to the man and his dog called Bella. The dog has expensive health issues and she knows that the police will send the dog to the pound and they will kill her. She becomes the dog's foster parent and goes through many weird incidents with the dog and her behavioral problems before she figures out who killed the dog's owner and why it was done. This is a nice story that will entertain you and give you a few laughs. Murder Strikes a Pose by Tracy Weber will be enjoyed by anyone who has been to a yoga class and dogs owners everywhere. Though you don't need to be a dog owner or yoga savvy to like the story. It's a great read.
“In every job that must be done there is an element of fun. You find the fun…and snap, the job’s a game!” Well, Mary Poppins must have been taking about audiobooks. With errands, chores, kids to soccer, and cooking dinner topping any ‘to do’ list, the fun is found when I pop in my earplugs and click on an audiobook. The first audio book I used to test Mary’s theory was Tracy Weber’s Downward Dog Mystery series, “Murder Strikes a Pose.” Click! I was greeted by the delightful soothing voice of Anne James, “Chapter 1…I laid my body on the cool wood floor covered up with a blanket and prepared to die.” I was hooked. Anne James performed well providing different tones for the various characters, showing emotions that kept me very interested. But, Mary was not accurate…I found the fun, but the job didn't really get done. I made a cup of tea, moved to the sofa, got comfortable to enjoy Tracy Weber’s book, and ordered pizza. Kate Davidson is working hard to make a success of her Serenity Yoga studio, but the ‘serenity’ of her and her clients’ is shattered by a brouhaha outside the front door. George and his black German Shepard, Bella, have set up shop selling papers for “Dollars for Change.” George is just trying to make some money, but Bella’s anxiety over other dogs is making it difficult to achieve ‘samādhi’ (yoga induced ecstasy). Trying to find a compromise (OK, getting George and Bella to move) is problematic, but a nice friendship blossoms with George, and Bella seems to be a much nicer dog than first impressions indicated. However, George ends up dead, the police investigation is heading in the wrong direction, Bella needs a home, and Kate is running into brick walls and slammed doors in her attempt to find the killer. Will she solve the crime or become one of its victims? I love this book one in Tracy Weber’s Downward Dog Mystery, and although I enthusiastically recommend the audio version, the book in either eVersion or print is also high on my ‘best book’ list. Tracy Weber has written realistic conversation—ones we've engaged in, minus the murder talk. The descriptions burst into mental pictures, and including the yoga terminology and information has spurred me to google ‘yoga.’ Namaste!
Title: Murder Strikes a Pose - Downward Dog Mystery Book 1 Author: Tracey Webber Published: 1-8-2014 Publisher: Midnight Ink Pages: 290 Genre: Mystery, Thrillers and Suspense Sub Genre: Cozy Mystery, Amateur Detective, Women Sleuths, ISBN: 0738735739687 ASIN: B00H3R53NM Reviewer: DelAnne Reviewed For: NetGalley . Kate Davidson is a yoga instructor to get George, the alcoholic homeless man and his German Shepherd from the front of her business. Strangely enough the become friendly. Shortly thereafter Kate finds George behind her shop, next to the dumpster dead and Bella closed inside her crate. Police are quick to dismiss his death as nothing more than a drug deal gone bad and give it a low priority Kate decides against the advice of her friends to find the killer herself and prove George was not into drugs. She also needs to find a new home for Bella before the animal control decides her time is up. Then again when Kate gets a little too close the killer may decide Kate's time is up first. Tracey Webber weaves a scene so believable you can picture the events as though you are there in the middle of it yourself. She has given us a heroine who while not perfect, then who among us is, tries to be the best that she can be. Trying to improve herself all the time. Kate is a bit headstrong, but has a soft spot for lost souls and animals. She represents many of the people we have met in our everyday life and who we would like to be ourselves. There are a few twist and turns to keep you guessing till the end. Murder Strikes a Pose is a cozy mystery that you will enjoy investing your time in with no regrets. I look forward to reading more of Tracey Webber's work in the future.
I am so confused how to rate this book. I enjoyed it for the most part but found a few things really irritating. I think my biggest problem is that most of the characters other than the main ones come off as rude, slimy or obnoxious, I'm not sure if I want to visit Seattle. The men mostly seem to be arrogant. The main love interest I liked until one point and I thought "was this written in the 50's?" Although things did get straightened out, it seemed out of place. Now that being said what I did like was definitely Bella the dog in this story, she's a character all by herself. I like Kate for the most part, I like that even though she is supposed to be calm since she teaches yoga, she struggles with it. I like the human flaw. Her friend is fun and I loved George who unfortunately is the body. I like that the story is based around a yoga studio, that's something unique, and it is spread through the book but never beats you over the head with it. I liked the humor, I had a few chuckles out loud which is always a winner. The mystery was good and made sense when explained. I will continue on with this series, I see a lot of character growth potential coming.
Bella the dog and Kate the Yogi have a lot going on in their lives. This is book one in a (so far) 2 book series. A Killer Retreat was just released. Weber had made me laugh, and certainly she has made me cry. All of the reasons I choose to read Cozy Mysteries to begin with. A true favorite of mine, I hope she has many more tricks up her sleeve.
Dollycas’s Thoughts Several years ago I had a doctor tell me I should try yoga to help the aches and pains that come with my injury. I looked at her and told her she was crazy. Imagine a person like me doing yoga, I mean by right side in 98% paralyzed. I would spend most of my time flailing on the floor and waiting for someone to pick me up. I quickly switched doctors but it left me with terrible feeling regarding yoga. I put off reading this book because of that. But Tracy has a new book in this series touring with Great Escapes that starts next week and I signed up to review it so I had to get to know Yogi Kate a.s.a.p. I am upset with myself that I waited so long. Kate is a fabulous character with a huge heart. She honestly tried to work things out for George and his scary companion. It was a shame George had to die just as friendship was just getting started. But she stood by her new friend. Not only trying to find out who killed him but taking in Bella, his German shepherd, with his cranky disposition and medical issues until she could find him a forever home. While doing so she meets Michael, the owner of Pete’s Pets and a tumultuous relationship starts between the two. Rene, Kate’s friend, think Thelma and Louise, couldn’t be happier for the couple. Finding the murderer was not easy especially when the police have basically closed the case and are not interested in any of Kate’s theories but she doesn’t give up even when she puts herself in the line of fire. Tracy Weber brings into focus some hot topics in this story and she does it without being preachy. George was a homeless person and Kate reaches out to others facing the same plight as she tries to find out who would kill her new friend. Bella is also a very special dog. He was abused by his previous owner and has a serious medical problem that is very expensive to treat. Finding him a new home is going to be very difficult. As to the yoga part the I was so scared about. It is interspersed throughout the story but just becomes part of who Kate is and nothing I should have shied away from. I don’t know if I was just me being emotional while reading this story but I had tears in my eyes as I read the ending. The A Killer Retreat Great Escapes Tour stops here January 16, the book hits stores January 8.
Hott Synopsis: Kate Davidson may have a few hangups but overall she’s been doing pretty well with this zen thing since creating her own studio. But no one should have to deal with the things she does! First there’s the crazy mutt, Bella, owned by the homeless man, George, selling papers in front of her shop and scaring away her clients. Then there’s the nauseating repairman that thinks her rent payment should be worked out in ‘private lessons’. Whatever. Of course, then there’s the dead body… When Kate finds the George’s body she’s shocked. He was such a nice man – who would do something like this? And why are the police being so abrasive? Luckily, Kate has a friend on the force who vouches for her. Well, sort of. Kate knows this is no random street crime no matter what the police deem it but the closer she gets the more antsy the police get and the bigger hassle Bella becomes (someone had to take her!). Something hinky’s going on around here! Hott Review: What I liked: Murder Strikes a Pose was fun! I honestly just spent most of my time laughing. To me this was a cross between chick lit & a cozy. It was a perfect rainy afternoon read! The characters are fun and don’t take themselves too seriously. We didn’t have any whiny women. The plot was strong and well developed. What more could I want? What I didn’t like: I’m going to have to wait a bit for Tracy’s next book! More… Author: Tracy Weber Source: Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours Grade: A Ages: 16+ Steam: YA Setting: Washington Series: A Downward Dog Mystery #1
3.5 stars I don’t read a lot of cozy mysteries these days—not because I don’t like them but because the edgier stuff tends to appeal to me more (a cycle that I’m sure will change as it does from time to time)—but, every now and then, I feel the need. It’s sort of like occasionally indulging my craving for peppermint patties rather than being on a continual sugar high. The timing of my stop on this blog tour was perfect because I was in the mood for it and I really wanted to check out Tracy Weber’s first book. This mystery suffers from two failings that are quite common in cozies—there is the seemingly requisite TSTL scene and the amateur sleuth is 100% convinced she can do a better job investigating than the professional detectives; to me, that makes her occasionally very annoying. I was especially irked by a scene in which Kate thinks Detective Martinez is gullible because she actually believes several alibis after having verified them and then Kate accuses her of being apathetic with absolutely no reason. In short, Kate can sometimes be so arrogant and full of self-pity that I would momentarily lose any rapport I had with her. Fortunately, there are just a few of those episodes and Kate is usually likeable and involved in snooping for admirable reasons. I especially appreciated her dedication to doing what’s right for Bella, a dog who is in dire need of help, but also her willingness to re-think her own pre-conceived notions when it’s called for. On the other hand, the men in this story surprised me because every single one is overbearing or worse at one time or another. Still, Michael makes quite the nice romantic lead in spite of having the “manly man” attitude once or twice. Kate’s girlfriend, Rene, is a terrific buddy and made me envious with her ability to eat and eat and eat with no apparent consequences. At this stage, you might think I didn’t really like Murder Strikes a Pose but that truly isn’t the case. There are some uncomfortable scenes, some involving the plight of the homeless but even more focused on Bella. Animal lovers may—no, will—cringe sometimes but I urge you to persevere; Ms. Weber has points to make that matter, not least of which is the idea that we simply must do what we can to take care of the four-footed creatures who need us and only want to be part of our lives. Sometimes, that obligation comes about because of the evil that people can do and I applaud the author for not being afraid to show that evil. It’s this sort of thing—mingling life lessons in with a good mystery—that lifts this cozy above many others. When all is said and done, putting annoyances aside, I enjoyed this series debut and will be looking forward to Kate’s next adventure, Killer Retreat, in January. Oh, and I learned quite a bit about yoga ;-)
Outstanding, well plotted cozy mystery with music-like pacing. I love Kate’s growing relationship with Bella of course, but I am looking forward to watching the development of her other relationship as well as seeing where the next mystery goes. As much as I have enjoyed cozy mysteries in the last couple of years, I am pleased to see that diversity had come back to the genre. There are enough descriptive reviews already out so for once, I will skip that part. I would like to mention something that started to bother me until I figured it out; I beat her friends at seeing this, so proud of myself! The story and the people feel very real so for a while I wondered by she pushed so hard, then I realized that there were two issues that wouldn’t let her lighten up; she was still dealing the with loss of her father, and she has that innate part of us that has to ask “Why?” when something really bad happens. It is the thing that keeps most us of reading and watching the news after a disaster, but Kate does not have the comfort of distancs I was first drawn to Tracy Weber by Sasha, her personal Bella. I loved the realistic interactions between Kate and Bella as much as I loved everything else about this book. Now I have to wait for the next one, but I know it will be worth it.
This book grabbed me from the start. As much as I love cozies that involve food, animals and bookstores, I was intrigued about one that centered around a yoga studio. It’s different. I don’t do yoga but I learned a little about yoga in this book. The information wasn’t overbearing – it was sprinkled throughout the book, but it didn’t bog down the story in any way. Now, to the story. Kate Davidson is trying to make a success of her yoga studio and one important ingredient is to give her clients a calm, serene feeling. That’s hard to do with a homeless man, George, and his vicious German shepherd, Bella, hanging around her studio and they aren’t being very quiet about it. Instead of convincing them to leave, Kate befriends them. Then one night Kate stumbles upon George’s dead body. The police chalk it up to a street fight, but Kate isn’t buying it. She’s convinced there’s more to this story then meets the eye and she intends to find out what it is. She feels she owes it to her newly found friend to find his killer. At the same time, she also feels obligated to find Bella a new home. It won’t be easy since Bella has an expensive illness and isn’t the friendliest of dogs. Kate has her work cut out for her. Kate’s strength and perseverance shined in this book. Everyone tries to convince her to stay out of the murder investigation, but she wouldn’t be stopped. She’s a spunky amateur sleuth that you both cheer for and want to scream “stay out of it!” at the same time. She even has a little romance going on with Michael, the owner of the local pet store. I would have liked to see more of Michael. He seems like a good match for Kate, but I would have to read more scenes between them. There weren’t enough of them for me to decide, but there is definitely the potential for a long term relationship. I would also like to see more of Kate’s friend Rene. I think they could be a fun “Thelma and Louise” type of combination. This series got off to a good start and it left me anxiously awaiting a second book. It's well written and has everything readers look for in a cozy - secrets, romance, and quite a bit of mystery. FTC Disclosure: The author provided me with a copy of this book to review for this blog tour. This did not influence my thoughts and opinions in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
Tracy Weber in her new book, “Murder Strikes A Pose” Book One in the Downward Dog series published by Midnight Ink introduces us to Kate Davidson. From the back cover: To Solve A Murder, yogi Kate strikes a sleuthing pose. When George and Bella—a homeless alcoholic and his intimidating German shepherd—disturb the peace outside her studio, yoga instructor Kate Davidson’s Zen-like calm is stretched to the breaking point. Kate tries to get rid of them before Bella scares the yoga pants off her students. Instead, the three form an unlikely friendship. One night Kate finds George’s body behind her studio. The police dismiss his murder as a drug-related street crime, but she knows George wasn’t a dealer. So Kate starts digging into George’s past while also looking for someone to adopt Bella before she’s sent to the big dog park in the sky. With the murderer nipping at her heels, Kate has to work fast or her next Corpse Pose may be for real. Kate has made friends with George despite the way they met so when she finds his body she sets out to discover who killed him. For most of us sleuthing does not come naturally, they actually have to train the police in what they do, so it is no surprise that Kate is not real good at it. However she is determined and, in her defense, it is her first case. Ms. Weber has given us an interesting character that has flaws but she is trying and we appreciate her and all her efforts. Then there is the wonderful supporting set of characters. Plus the mystery and we have a really good adventure. I am looking forward to the next book in the series. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Partners In Crime. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
I got this book because of my interest in both dogs and yoga. I haven't read a mystery novel in ages but it was a definite page-turner! I also love that Tracy Weber sneakily works in some education along the way. I only know this because of the particular things that she was teaching - I know about dog training and German Shepherds are prone to EPI. Those are on my radar already, so I recognized the information as real and not just a made up thing. Then again, who knows what other things she might have taught me without my knowing?! Looking forward to the next book!
An enjoyable story and a good mystery, but the main character's almost criminal naivete about dogs made me want to scream. Who lets an unpredictably aggressive German Shepherd lick a toddler's face? Who leaves a dog in a car while she's at work? I'll happily read another in the series, but only if Kate either gives Bella to a rescue or reads an article or two about basic dog care!