Death by Dog Show

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 08 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

I could not get into this book. The writing style was awkward and choppy.  It was simply not for me.
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This is book 1 in a new series, Creature Comforts. Not sure if I would classify this as a cozy, the story is slightly more graphic and the characters a little sharp.  I liked the introduction to all the main characters including cutie pie, Ella .  Perri is an army veteran that makes leather dog leashes and pet accessories.   She's traveling the dog show circuit in a luxury motor home owned by best friend Babette.  Babette is rich and enjoys her comfort as she shows her dogs. Perri's two dogs are trained army canines that don't compete but accompany her everywhere.  Young Ella wants to be a junior handler and her dad Wing is Perri's boyfriend. Lots of great info on the dog show world and a murder to solve.  I'll definitely be looking for the next book.  I received a copy of this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele

Death by Dog Show’s premise was promising and looked like a book I would really enjoy – dogs!  But, it is terribly disappointing.

Perri is a military veteran and leather smith.  She and her best friend Babette, who competes with her border collie in agility, and her boyfriend’s seven-year-old daughter Ella with her pointer in tow, travel to the Boston area for a dog show.  Things quickly go awry when Lee Holmes, notorious in the dog show community, is found stabbed with grooming shears.  Perri puts on her sleuthing cap to investigate the dark side of dog shows as the body count rises and danger mounts.

Honestly, I do not care for any of the characters.  Perri lacks character development, Babette is shallow and annoying, boyfriend Wing is secretive because of his job as a journalist, the victim is atrocious, the police unpleasant, and the suspects just as unappealing as the victim.  The only redeeming characters are Ella and the dogs.

The mystery is weak with the perpetrators easily identified early in the tale.  There are red herrings along the way, but they are obvious, and the “surprise” twist at the end came as no surprise to me. The pace of the story is slow and the book way too easy to put down.  This said, the main problem I have with the book is the constant, and I mean CONSTANT, mention of how attractive Wing is and how appealing he is to women.  Perri claims to not be jealous, but her inner monologue show otherwise.  There is also coarser language here than in the average cozy and lots of references to sexual exploits.

Unfortunately, Death by Dog Show misses the mark for me.

 *OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*
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Princess Fuzzypants here:  For obvious reasons, being a Maine Coon, I prefer stories that feature kitties but I was taken by this book.  I really liked Perri.  She’s got a fascinating background a former military person and she has a big heart.  The dogs who come into her life benefit greatly as does the little girl whose dog she is showing at the show.  The fact that the girl is the daughter of the hottie who is Perri’s squeeze does not hurt matters.
A thoroughly despicable man is stabbed with grooming shears even before the show begins.  Lots of people had plenty of reasons to dislike him but murder is a drastic way to deal with differences.  Perri is worried that the wrong person will be tagged with the murder so she starts to ask around.  Naturally, the local cops are not thrilled with this.  Add to her investigation the efforts of her boyfriend who happens to be an award winning investigative reporter and toes are going to be trodden all over the place.
There is an arrest after a second murder but Perri is even more convinced that the cops have the wrong person.  In fact, she goes out on a limb to prove it and it puts her into the crosshairs of the real killer.  It was not until well into the story that I started to suspect the villain.  There were plenty of red herrings and deflections.  My only concern is Perri,  as a highly trained military professional, leaves herself unprotected a few times and it almost costs her dearly.  I hate when intelligent heroines make boneheaded moves.
Still, it was worthy of four purrs and two paws up.
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A murder mystery with steamy romance mixed in.  The characters are unique, not your run of the mill occupations or backgrounds.  Arlene Kay gives her readers something a little different for their entertainment.
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This is a fun, sexy mystery involving dogs. A few of my favorite things. Not sure it would rate as a "cozy" mystery per say. Never really fell in love with any of characters. Great concept but just missed the mark for me.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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This was an awesome start for a new series, a well-plotted and well-written book, lots of intrigue and a nail-biting showdown too! I like that the jobs of the main character and her boyfriend were different than usual. Perri was a leathersmith who sold high-end dog collars, leads mainly to rich dog show clientele via the dog show circuit, and she was formerly an Army sergeant. I thought that part was especially cool! And her two dogs had the Schutzhund training--after reading about it in another cozy, it sounds like the perfect thing for a mystery main character to have, dogs trained in that method. Perri's main squeeze as she calls him was Wing Pruett, a well-known investigative journal who was very popular with the ladies, although Perri knew he only had eyes for her now. Ella was his adorable 7-year-old daughter who was learning about dog showing by raising her Pointer, Guinnie. Perri's best friend Babette who was fabulously wealthy was so funny sometimes, but who wouldn't give just about anything to have someone so loyal in their lives.

There were quite a few good suspects and at one point I had absolutely no idea who the killer was, but one small clue pointed me in the right direction, then another clue. The showdown was a little nerve-wracking, but as always, the perp went down. I guess one thing this book was pointing out was that there is almost always a shady underbelly to even a family-friendly event like a dog show. Everyone there had their share of secrets. I won't say who, but there was one person I was especially relieved was not the killer. You'll know when you read it! There's a chapter preview of the next book which looks like it'll focus on horses instead of dogs.
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Synopsis:

Army vet Persephone “Perri” Morgan has big plans, as her custom leather leashes, saddles, and other pet accessories are the rage of dog and horse enthusiasts everywhere. But when murder prances into the ring at a Massachusetts dog show, Perri must confront a cunning killer who’s a breed apart.
 
Accompanied by her bestie Babette and four oversize canines, Perri motors down to the Big E Dog Show in high style. Perri hopes to combine business with pleasure by also spending time with sexy DC journalist Wing Pruett. Until a storm traps everyone at the exposition hall . . . and a man’s body is found in a snow-covered field, a pair of pink poodle grooming shears plunged through his heart.
 
Turns out the deceased was a double-dealing huckster who had plenty of enemies chomping at the bit. But as breeders and their prize pets preen and strut, the murderer strikes again. Aided by her trusty canine companions, Keats and Poe, Perri must collar a killer before she’s the next “Dead in Show” winner.  
 
Praise for Arlene Kay’s Boston Uncommons Mysteries
 
“Reminiscent of the comedy-mystery movies of the thirties…An entertaining first entry into the Boston Uncommons Mystery series.” —New York Journal of Books on Swann Dive
 
“Highly entertaining . . . I can't wait for the next book in the series!” —Jaye Roycraft, author of Rainscape (Goodreads)
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Review:

I hate to say it but I had a very hard time getting into this story.  The characters felt flat to me and I really did not like any of them.  I felt that Perri was very shallow and man crazy and I could not relate with her.  There were a lot of characters to meet and I had a hard time keeping them straight in my mind. That is only my opinion and others might not feel that way.  I also thought that the names of the characters were way out there, which also made it hard for me to keep track of.  

The writing style did not flow as smoothly as I would have liked.  Some of the vocabulary was beyond me and that distracted me and interrupted the flow of the story.  There was also too much emphasis on people “hooking up” and sexual innuendo.  If I wanted a lot of that in the story, I would have read a romance book.  

I really liked the premise of the book and the setting of a dog show.  I watch the Westminster Dog show every year and I really like that this is where a lot of the story happened.  I do not know if this was a real representation of the dog show, I am thinking not so much.  But I still liked the premise of the story.

I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher, Kensington Books, and NetGalley, which I greatly appreciate.
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Death by Dog Show should by listed as a mystery and not a cozy , so some might not get upset at the language or sexual appetite of the characters. The names are just ridiculous. Overall though this isn't a bad mystery, the only thing that bothered me were the names.
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This is the first book in the Creature Comforts Series. I admit this was a hard cozy mystery for me to get through and I adore cozy mysteries . I love dog shows and was looking forward to reading this unique series but found it difficult to follow along and hard to finish . 
Death by Dog Show is not  my type of usual cozy mystery. It had to many sexual type of references to the male physique  and seemed to be a theme throughout the books .  The sexual exploits of characters are referenced  with their looks.  The author seems focused on appearances and  with people’s finances. 
 There is an emphasis on the financial status between characters (the rich versus Perri ).  This I found offensive. 
The names of all the supporting charcters were strange .   They include Yael Lindsay, Roar Jansen, Wing Pruett and Persephone Morgan.  There is an abundance of foul language (not found in our cozy mysteries ! ) What a disappointment and I had to skip over such language.   I found this very offensive. . The characters lacked any kind of charcter development and the mystery was quite simplistic. and not well crafted.  Perri is not likable as a  protagonist who is focused on people’s looks and finances with one offensive remark after another .Hence the reason I had to struggle to finish this book. I will not be reading any further books by this author unfortunately. .  I spent time showing dogs and I can say that the dog show was not explained properly.  Very disappointed but 3 stars for effort . Thank you for the ARC for my honest opinion.
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This is the first in the Creature Comforts series.  I have to admit at times I was confused that this was the first as all throughout this story there is reference to a prior mystery in which the lead character Persephone “Perri” Morgan and her boyfriend Wing Pruett solved.  The story follows Perri as she and her friend Babette along with Wing and his daughter are at a dog show at the Big E in Massachusetts.  Wing is a high profile journalist and is working on a story that could involve the dog show and Perri runs a custom shop which offers leather goods such as leashes and collars etc.. The first night a fight breaks out and shortly thereafter the body of Lee Holmes one of the guys in the fight and wife of a very prominent member in the dog show scene.  What unfolds are twists and turns as well as another grisly murder before the murders are completely solved.  There were many aspects that I enjoyed in this book but I did not like Perri and Wing’s relationship.  He dismisses several of her ideas and seems ready to drop her at a moments notice to follow his story.  I did like his daughter Ella and her enthusiasm for her dog Guinnie.  I also liked Perri’s dogs (Keats and Poe) who are army guard dogs.  I did not like the references to a prior mystery which as a reader we know nothing about.. what is the relevance it would be different if it was a prior book in the series.  This series has promise but the characters need to become warmer.
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Death by Dog Show is a cozy mystery set in a dog show that, unfortunately, disappointed this reader.

Perri Morgan sells leather pet products and attends the Big E Dog Show with her friend Babette, who has a dog in the show, to further her business. The first night, Perri and her journalist boyfriend, Pruett, find a body.  Despite the local police telling her not to investigate, Perri can’t resist.

I found some serious issues with this book:
•	I love dog shows on television and have watched many over the years. Therefore, I know that Best in Show is the last event. The prior events are based on dog group (i.e.; sporting group) and then the winners of the groups go on to the Best in Show event. 
•	The names of the characters are silly. Wing, Roar and Alf being the worst examples. These are people’s names—not dogs.
•	The character of Perri is not likeable at all.  She is both arrogant and insecure plus she appears to be incredibly horny all the time despite having a boyfriend for the past year. Note that Death by Dog Show has more sexual content than most cozies so if you are not into that, I would recommend giving this a pass.
•	The worst part was that the murderer was obvious from the beginning but we still had to continue reading to confirm what we already knew. There are no surprise twists here.

I believe this is this author’s debut book but I wouldn’t read anything else by her. Overall, I would give Death by Dog Show 2 stars.  

Thanks to Lyrical Underground and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I thought I was going to really enjoy this book. There were a lot of interesting possibilities but by the middle I wanted to quit reading. I was tired of all the superficial characters. The protagonist, Persephone, is presented as a strong ex-military woman yet her thoughts seem to center around how her boyfriend is the sexiest man alive. She is absorbed with how he looks and it is mentioned a lot throughout the whole story. Her best friend, Babette, is obsessed with her appearance and is on the hunt for husband number 5. 

I am not against using unique names in a story but I had trouble imagining the boyfriend, Wing, as the "sexiest man alive" and when we met the detective with the first name of Roar that really was hard to envision.

I was also disappointed in the author's narrow minded view of pit bulls. 

I was invested enough to finish the book. I wanted to find out who did it and what was up with Wing's questionable behavior. Only one of those things was answered.
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Death by Dog Show by Arlene Kay is the first novel in A Creature Comforts Mystery series.  Persephone “Perri” Morgan is leatherworker who creates and sells harnesses, leashes, collars and other assorted items for dogs and horses through her business Creature Comforts.  Perri is currently heading to Eastern States Expo Center in Massachusetts with her best friend, Babette Croy for the Big E Dog Show.  They are traveling in Babette’s luxury RV with Wing Pruitt’s daughter, Ella and an assortment of canine companions.  Wing, an investigative journalist and Perri’s boyfriend, will meet up with them at the dog show and Perri cannot wait for their reunion.  After the event’s welcome party, Perri is out walking the dogs when she stumbles upon Lee Holmes with a pair of pink poodle grooming shears sticking out of his chest.  The victim had plenty of enemies as Perri comes to learn when she digs into the case on behalf of Yael Lindsay, Lee’s wife.  A couple of days later after Lee’s funeral, Perri stumbles upon another victim with bloody leatherworking tool nearby.  Someone is setting Perri up to take the fall.  Perri with her trusty sidekicks, Keats and Poe, sets out to track down the killer.

Death by Dog Show is not the type of cozy mystery that readers are used to reading.  There are numerous references to the male physique (Wing’s especially) and how it affects Perri’s “nether regions”.  The sexual exploits of other characters are referenced throughout the story along with their looks.  The author seems focused on appearances along with people’s finances.  There is an emphasis on the financial disparity between characters (the rich versus Perri who grew up in the foster system).  I found the writing to be awkward and the pacing slow.  Some of the author’s word choices were unusual and it felt like the author had swallowed a dictionary and thesaurus (peripatetic and plutocrats are two examples). Arlene Kay used some unusual names for her characters.   They include Yael Lindsay, Roar Jansen, Wing Pruett and Persephone Morgan.  There is an abundance of foul language (which is unusual for a cozy mystery) and repetition of information.  The characters lacked development.  Do not expect warm, friendly characters (that includes Keats and Poe) in this cozy.  Perri is an unlikeable protagonist who is focused on people’s looks and finances (comes across as shallow and jealous).  Perri is one of those people who judge based on first appearances.  She is especially intent on getting the “handsome” Wing Pruett undressed and into her bed (while someone else watches Wing’s daughter).  Babette seems perpetually on the prowl for her next bed partner and husband. As I was reading Death by Dog Show there were references to a previous crime.  I felt like I was dropped into the middle of A Creature Comforts Mystery series.  There are references to a previous crime.  The mystery was uncomplicated and can be figured out long before the reveal.  The dog show elements were confusing and not explained properly.  I am not sure what the author was aiming for with this story.  It seemed out of date.  I found Death by Dog Show to be “ruff” and it missed the mark for me.
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Death by Dog Show by Arlene Kay is the 1st book in A Creature Comforts Mystery series, and my first book by this author.  I love cozy mysteries and animals, so I really wanted to like this book, unfortunately it fell flat for me.  I plan on giving this author another try on the next book in the series. 

 I reviewed a digital arc provided by NetGalley and Kensington Publishing. Thank you.
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Death by Dog Show by Arlene Kay is the first book in the A Creature Comforts Mystery series. Unfortunately for me this is also one of those books I walked away from scratching my head and wondering what did I just read? By all appearances I thought this one would be a cozy mystery but when finished I’m hesitant to label it as such. The content in here was a bit too centered around the sexual nature for a cozy really, you are not normally constantly hearing about who is with who and who wants to with who in that genre.

So forgetting about labeling this one I still had several issues with just the story itself, the characters and the writing. It is extremely rare for me to not like a cozy to some degree but this just wasn’t for me on many levels starting with the writing. I found for me it felt a bit too wordy as in overly done and needing to discard the thesaurus making reading feel slow paced and choppy. There were also several times I questioned whether this was even the opener of a series or if I had jumped in on something already in progress when it seemed to hint to things happening in the past as if a reader should already be aware.

As for the characters in the story, let’s just start with I didn’t particularly care about or like any of them. The main character, Perri, comes off as rather brash and abrasive for the most part, highly judgey when it comes to others, as in forming opinions based off appearance and stereotypes and just generally annoying to me. And the stereotyping seemed to carry over with everyone else’s personalities. I suppose too that even the crazy character names in this one seemed to bug me feeling a bit cartoon-ish and I can’t recall a single normal name as if alongside the thesaurus we had a outrageous baby name book. Persephone Morgan, Wing Pruett, Roar Jansen. Rafa Ramos… and on and on.

Then when it came to the setting I was left wanting so much more there too. The show events were confusing, the trainers and handlers are described like a swingers club since they travel so much and get lonely which I’m not buying as realistic at all. And then I thought to myself that I had hoped for humor and personality for the critters like you find quite often in cozies so it felt as if a missed opportunity there too. So in the end I just wasn’t sold on this one and wouldn’t return to the series.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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I like the setting and the characters in this book, and the writing is good, too. It's just too much of it, repetitive and unnecessary, and that makes an otherwise good story boring.
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Death Disturbs The Dog Show
This episode takes place at a major dog show event in Boston. The story is pretty good with a sound plot and realistic characters. There were a couple of things that I was put off by. There was lots of closed-door sex, sexual innuendo and it seemed that was all out heroine could think about. The other item was that our heroine acted as if 30 was over the hill and super mature (like 50 or 60). Both of those got very old very quickly. It may be enough to keep me from reading more of this series. I received this book for free and this is my honest review.
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This looked like it would be a good read but sadly it wasn't, at least for me.  I liked the idea of Perri, an Army veteran who makes leatherwoods, as a protagonist and the cozy staple of her finding the true villain.  Unfortunately, this really needed another edit.  It felt forced and, as another reviewer noted, dated.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  Sorry but this is a pass for me.
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I received this book courtesy of NetGalley.

I was excited because I like mysteries/thrillers and I love dogs, so win/win right?

Wrong. I struggled to finish this book.

The story was predictable and would have been OK, however, the writing style was my biggest turn off.
The way the main character spoke of the people in her life  made her seem like a garbage person.
"Men, especially specimens like Pruett"
"Babette was a loyal friend, but any presentable man with a pulse could easily turn her head"

The writing is very antiquated and out of touch, but in a way where there is an attempt to be contemporary that fails miserably. I almost wanted to say, congratulations, you own a thesaurus... but can we have some substance beyond big fancy words?

It's written so that characters use words like bromance, but there's also an antiquated style that is too flowery and not enjoyable like, "For the sake of propriety and propinquity, Pruett had returned to his hotel room in downtown Springfield the prior evening." or "Genna's supercilious smirk could try the patience of a saint. Since I renounced the celestial crown long ago..." Pruett also called Perri a broad. It felt like slang that might have been cool in the 50s, but didn't age well.

Men and women are objectified based on looks alone, the lead character said she finally embraced the role of child nurturer and caregiver at 30 (is that old now?? The maternal ages are steadily climbing every year), the way the protagonist talks about her boyfriend - like they are not committed but they are, and also they way she talks of the non threatening ex partner. She is shallow, jealous, and judgemental.

I don't think I have anything positive to say about the book.
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