Cover Image: Playing Possum

Playing Possum

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for the review copy of Playing Possum by Dane McCaslin. I am really enjoying this cozy mystery series starring a retired school teacher and her best friend. Nora and Gwen are at it again, but this time, Nora’s serial matrimony is center stage. When Nora receives word that she is the executor of an ex’s will, something seems strange considering his current status is missing. Gwen and Nora look into the disappearance and determine how necessary her services of executor actually are. 

The characterizations of Gwen and Nora continue to impress me. I sometimes find Gwen’s opinions and judgments harsh, but I love how Nora balances her out. They are a great pair of friends! The mystery is intriguing and the hints of romance are really fun in this third installment.
Was this review helpful?
This was a really fun read that kept my interest. Lots of action and danger, never knowing who the good guys and bad buys are. The ending was a twist. I didn't see that coming.
Was this review helpful?
This one was better than the first two simply because the mystery was more front and center in the story.  The characters are still annoying but Nora is less so in this one; maybe I’m just numb at this point.  Really, though, the characterization of the stereotypical dumb jock is overdone; there is no way anyone would hire/trust someone this stupid with their pets.  This series was just not for me.
Was this review helpful?
PLAYING POSSUM is the third book in the 2 Sisters Pet Valet Service Mysteries by Dane McCaslin. This highly entertaining cozy mystery features retired school teacher, Gwen Franklin, and her best friend, Nora. I greatly enjoy that the women are "of a certain age" and still capable of solving crimes! Opposite in almost every way, the friends own a pet valet service together which provides plenty of hilarious and chaotic moments. Ms. McCaslin writes with tongue-in-cheek humor and the snappy dialog keeps the pages turning. The characters are memorable with staid Birkenstocks-wearing Gwen being the perfect counterbalance for zany Jimmy Choo-wearing Nora (who can be a bit much at times). Other core characters, human and animals alike, are equally entertaining and as the series has progressed, it’s been enjoyable to watch them interact and grow.

With fun characters as a backdrop for the twisty mystery, this is one book to sit back and enjoy the ride instead of playing armchair detective. Ms. McCaslin does an admirable job of keeping the plot moving quickly and the subplots add to the complexity. As the reveal comes to its end, she wraps the various threads of the story up and presents the reader with a highly satisfying conclusion. I’m looking forward to the next book in this amusing series!

I was provided with an advance copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
A clever and frequently amusing cozy mystery. No dead body. Oops, is that a spoiler? Lots to keep one guessing without a dead body involved. Enjoy reading the antics of these older ladies. Not old, but not in their bloom of youth either. They have young employees to keep them current and in the know with the latest vernacular. Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy via NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
Playing Possum by Dane McCaslin is the 3rd book in The 2 Sisters Pet Valet Mysteries series, and another delightful book.  My favorite cozy mysteries are the ones that make me laugh, and this one sure did the trick. I enjoy the two main characters, Gwen and her best friend Nora, are in their 50's, one a retired high school teacher, the other one is rich, and they have been best friends for years. Nora is surprised when she finds out she is the executor to her 3rd ex husband will  His children want their father declared  dead so they can tap into his money.  I found this book to be fast-paced, I read it in one day. The characters are quirky and fun. I highly recommend this book, and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.  A perfect escape that lifts your spirits.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Was this review helpful?
Although Playing Possum by Dane McCaslin is book three in The 2 Sisters Pet Valet Mysteries, it’s the first one I’ve read in the series and it was so good I may have to go back and read the first two.

Nora is a bit stuffy and an older woman who’s already made up her mind about people, but Gwen is the perfect balance with her devil may care attitude and love life to its fullest vibe. And while I would still consider this a cozy mystery, it is a bit different than some die hard cozy fans may be used to, but I really enjoyed the change of pace. With all the action and running around that Nora and Gwen do in the book, along with their sass, it reminded me a bit of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.

It’s a good thing that Nora has such an understanding beau and they have employees that can handle the pet valet since they are rarely at the business in this book. Because they are out and about, McCaslin has the opportunity to be more descriptive about many places, which she does really well. But I definitely think where she shines is with her character development. You can really feel the bond between Gwen and Nora and she can also write quirky and mean characters perfectly too.

A fun book/series if you are looking for something a little bit more bold than the average cozy mystery.
Was this review helpful?
Gwen and Nora are back and dealing with the return of: 1)  executing the will of a legally declared dead ex-spouse (Nora's) 2) less than charming stepchildren who want their share of the will and more and 3) maybe murder?! All while trying to run their fledgling business - 2 Sisters Pet Valet Service!  

I get a kick out these sleuths and their friends!  Brent, a lovable but no common sense ex-student of Gwen's, Rachel his full of common sense girlfriend, Marcus the on and off again boyfriend of Nora and Roger, Gwen's  love interest.  Road trips, feuding relatives, new characters made for a mystery that kept me reading and laughing!  Nora and Gwen are true to themselves and march to their own drums.  Besides the mystery (which I loved) the ladies love of life and willingness to take chances was fun to read and made the characters relatable, especially Gwen.  I can't forget the "furbabies" Aggie and Herc, they are adorable!

The ladies of 2 Sisters Pet Valet Services will keep you sleuthing, laughing and wanting to read about more of their sleuthing adventures!

I received an ARC from NetGalley and the opinions expressed in this review are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Dollycas’s Thoughts

Gwen Franklin and Nora Goldstein have turned 2 Sisters Pet Valet Service into a very successful small business but they need to leave their employees in charge when Nora is named executor of ex-hubby number 3’s will. Apparently, the man has been missing for years and his children have had him declared dead. That raises some red flags for Nora and Gwen. There is no love lost between Nora and her twin ex-stepchildren and she knows they may be up to something hinky. So she and Gwen hit the road and find out that their dad’s laundry business is laundering more than just clothes and surprise, surprise, the twins catering business is on its last legs.  She is also not sure if her ex is really dead? With no body, she wouldn’t be surprised if he was playing possum and laying low somewhere. The police would like them to just back off and leave the investigating to them but Nora and Gwen are not going to stop until all their questions are answered and all the truth comes out.

Okay, Nora has finally won me over and I love Gwen even more. Nora is still her pushy self but Gwen is really starting to hold her own. These women have been friends since childhood but now with Gwen’s retirement, they are together almost 24/7 so it took a little time for this closeness to evolve. They do make a great investigation team.  I also like the way Brent and Rachel’s relationship has grown. She really is the perfect match for him. I am also enjoying Gwen’s blooming relationship with Roger. She deserves to have a happy relationship. I am over the on again and off again relationship of Nora and Marcus. At times it is hard to tell who is using who. She seems to be wasting a lot of money backing his business as he continues to cheat on her. She doesn’t have a good track record with men. I wish she would find someone to really love and love her back even with all her faults.

The new characters introduced in this story run the gambit of swarmy to criminal. They really put Gwen and Nora through the wringer but these ladies are like dogs with bones, they keep going back again and again as they strive to find the truth but their luck may have run out. The mystery they are trying to solve is a twisted one, each clue drags them in deeper and deeper. They were treading very close to “too stupid to live territory” though with their persistence.

The author did temper the mystery with plenty of humor. Even in the direst straights, she knew when to bring the funny. She also cracked me up with Brent’s way to get into Gwen’s house. I knew what he was going to say when she asked him but it still gave me a good giggle. The road trip that included Brent, Rachel, and Marcus was pretty funny too. You can’t take Nora anywhere, she just has to make trouble.

Playing Possum is definitely my favorite book in this series. I was totally entertained following along with all the crazy chaos these characters brought to this story. I hope this series continues because I am anxious to see what the author has in store for them next.
Was this review helpful?
This is the 3rd in series. I enjoy this series and thank the publisher and Net Galley for the ARC for review. My review opinion is my own.  This is a fun entertaining cozy series with adorable animals and fun charcters. 

In this next in series we return to best friends Gwen and Nora who have been friends since high school. Together they own and manage a successful Pet Valet service. Nora is named by a missing ex to inherit his fortune and is suspicious why she was named by him to inherit. Nora and Gwen decide to investigate and hilarity ensues as they discover opportunity and motive behind his disappearance.  I love these savvy smart seniors and how they navigate life with fun . This is a fun cozy series that I highly recommend for your reading enjoyment. Thank you to the author for featuring seniors !
Was this review helpful?
This book didn't do much for me. I didn't like all the similes and idioms the author peppered throughout the story. I also had trouble reconciling a millionaire with a manicure running a pet business. Not so much because she has money but because it's messy and would ruin a manicure. There seemed to be a lot of complaining from the characters. Not something I would read again or seek out the others in the series.
Was this review helpful?
Gwen and Nora are BFFs not sisters and they're very different but bonded to one another.  Nora's had multiple husbands and now one of them has made her the executor of his big dry cleaning estate.  Except one problem- his hateful children are angry.  There's a murder, Nora and Gwen investigate, and well, they discover there was a lot Nora didn't know.  This second in the series is notable for its mature characters (in years if not attitude).  It will be fine as a standalone. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  For cozy fans.
Was this review helpful?
3.5 stars

Gwen and Nora are entertaining characters, making this a fun cozy mystery. I enjoyed sleuthing things out with the characters. I haven't read anything else in the series, but I will likely check them out after reading this one.
Was this review helpful?
Gwen Franklin and Nora Goldstein have been best friends since their school days. They run a pet valet service and tend to do some amateur sleuthing on the side. In this story Nora finds herself named the executor of one of Nora's ex-husband's estate, the ex-husband having disappeared years ago. This leads to danger believe it or not. I enjoy reading about these two older ladies sleuthing skills and the mysteries they solve.

I received an ARC in exchange for a honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Playing Possum is McCaslin’s third in the “2 Sister’s Pet Sitters Mystery. I hadn’t read the previous two but followed the characters and story easily enough. 
Set in Portland Oregon, this cozy mystery is only about a 100 miles from my home town of Eugene which is awesome! I loved all of her local references to Portland and the Seattle area. 
The two sisters were an unlikely pair, I found myself identifying with Gwen, a retired teacher, always wearing her Birkenstocks. 
I will have to go back and read this series from the beginning and check out more from this local author.
Very entertaining!
Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for this advanced copy.
Was this review helpful?
A really nice cozy murder mystery. At least, probably murder. Being missing and your kids wanting you declared dead so they can get your money is close enough. Our two elderly ladies and their young friends have the job of sorting it all out

Thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher I read a free advance review copy of the book. This review is voluntary, honest and my own opinion.
Was this review helpful?
Gwen and Nora are at the helm of this cozy mystery series. They lead the way for mystery and adventure. Dane McCaslin  leads this story and series  perfectly.
Was this review helpful?
I love this series! Great characters, laugh out loud funny, and clean. I look forward to the next one!
Was this review helpful?
I thought this book was okay. I didn't feel for the characters that much. The story itself was interesting, and the bad guy was surprising. #PlayingPossum #NetGalley
Was this review helpful?
A humours fun filled read. Nora finds that she is executor of her ex husband's will. Gwen and Nora try to find his kids because the ex is missing.  Loveable fun characters . This is a book that you should read! Thanks #netgalley and #Keningston for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?