When Seattle yoga teacher Kate Davidson agrees to teach doga (yoga for dogs) at a fundraiser for a local animal rescue, she believes the only damage will be to her reputation. But a few downward-facing dogs are the least of Kate’s problems when an animal rights protest at the event leads to a suspicious fire and a drowning.
The police arrest a woman claiming to be Kate’s estranged mother and charge her with murder. To prove her innocence, Kate, boyfriend Michael, and German shepherd sidekick Bella dive deeply into the worlds of animal activism, organizational politics, and the dangerous obsessions that drive them. All while discovering that when it comes to murder, there’s no place like home.
When it comes to cozy mysteries, there is a fine line between enjoyable and annoying. Sadly, this particular book fell towards the latter for me. Before I get into some specifics, let me just point out that I did enjoy the fact the book features a lot of different animal and pet-based plot devices. It was nice to have a cozy mystery that wasn’t completely obsessed with coffee or food. And as an animal lover, I felt the author made a great choice in using so many different aspects of pet ownership, adoption and rehabilitation to feed into mystery as a whole.
However, I did not really like Kate Davidson as a character. Perhaps it’s because this is the third book in a series and I haven’t read any of the other books? But honestly, I believe it is more than that. I felt she was a dull character who was far too obsessed with lying to herself about peace, love and yoga. I say this, not because I have an issue with yoga and its principles. It’s actually quite opposite. I have a deep respect for the principles, but I feel this character is a prime example of the hypocrites who flood the yoga industry in hopes of making an easy buck. If you want to teach yoga, teach yoga. But Kate comes off as fake. She’s a fake vegan and a fake pacifist, who pretends she’s evolved to a place where she doesn’t feel anger or annoyance. But the truth is, I think her trying so hard is just annoying.
Beyond Kate, I wasn’t too impressed with her boyfriend. I know opposites attract, but he’s supposedly a completely slob (we’re talking toddler-like tornado) and she’s an compulsive, obsessive neat freak. On top of that, the way he talks down to her and treats her throughout the book is unappealing to me. When it comes out that her mother is not dead (not that Kate knew any different), he’s too busy berating her and accusing her of keeping things from him to even consider maybe she might be going through a big deal.
This was enough to slow my read to a snail’s pace as I forced myself to continue on. But in truth, I wish I had just refused to continue on and stopped reading. I just found myself becoming more and more frustrated because I had such a disinterest in the characters. Sadly, while I was intrigued by some aspects of this book, I would have to say I would not recommend this book unless you can read the first two books and become more attached to them and their story lines. I can only hope that after I check out the first book, I can return to this one and really appreciate it more.