Title: Pick and Chews (Barkery and Biscuits Mystery #4) by Linda O. Johnston
Genre: Currently #695 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Cozy, Animals
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Publication Date: Release date: May 8, 2018 Happy Publication Day!
Source: Midnight Ink and NetGalley
Title and Cover: Pick and Chews – Beautiful cozy cover complete with dogs and kitty
First, let me thank the publisher and NetGalley for granting me an ARC of this book. I was thrilled to receive the download and went into the book with high expectations, happy with checking out a new author (to me) and her series that promised to be amazing. And, of course, it features dogs. How could you go wrong? Well, ***spoiler*** alert, something went very wrong. First, I’ll quickly list what I did appreciate here in the “upper fold.”
Looking at the cover (and there I go again…must repeat mantra…cannot judge a book, blah, blah, blah). Absolutely too cute. Appeals to both dog and cat lovers. And the blurb? Well, okay, it sounded interesting. A woman who owns two howlingly successful businesses? Could happen. Her also being a part-time vet tech. Hmmm, now we may be stretching things a bit.
The Barkery and Biscuit is definitely a unique name for a bakery catering to healthy food and treats for animals. Also appreciated that she wrote about holding rescue animal adoption events. Super.
However, you should be warned that I periodically invoke my rule not to note less than three stars and, therefore, will not rate the book on this blog, although I’m compelled to leave a short review for Goodreads and the publisher.
So what set up the hackles?
Yes, it’s an ARC, there will be edit errors and there were. It’s an ARC. It’s (almost) expected. That’s not what I’m talking about.
The writing style in this book is more than banal. It’s annoying. I didn’t like the characters, particularly the protagonist or MC. Carrie is awful. Her dialogue borders on insipid and the plot awkward. You can’t believe a thirty-three-year-old, normally intelligent woman would say this stuff! She is supposed to be in a relationship with Reed, the first person of interest, and she has to fight with herself through most of the book to think he may be innocent. No love loss, none forthcoming.
Reed may have had a personal relationship with the newly dispatched victim, Dr. Raela Fellner, and Fellner was painted so viperously you knew who was going to get offed. Fellner shows up to interview for a position at the vet clinic and sets off a tirade from Reed. Reed is a vet at the clinic in which Carrie works part-time. He doesn’t represent either a good vet or a romantic interest. Carrie acts like she runs the joint, and it’s just as well as the owner/manager Dr. Arvus Kline isn’t exactly an alpha. There are other support characters, some fleshed more than others, but no one is really engaging or sympathetic. There are loud verbal confrontations in public places that would have me grabbing my purse (and/or pet) and running for the door.
There are constant reminders of how many murders she has solved, after all the local tiny town detectives are ineffective. (There are that many murders in this dinky town?)
Even for a cozy, this had a slow, grinding beginning. The barkery and bakery shop assistants, her sales staff are always covering for her, thank heaven, as they seem more competent. This is a protagonist previously also a murder suspect and yet the place is always full of customers. Uh huh
Not even Biscuit, her darling little dog, can save this one. No, I don’t need any recipes, nor can I really recommend this book.
The Author: (From Goodreads Author page) Linda O. Johnston’s first published fiction appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and won the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for Best First Mystery Short Story of the Year. Since then, Linda has had more short stories and novellas published, plus, by the end of 2018, she will have had fifty novels published, including mysteries and romance.
Linda currently writes the Barkery and Biscuits Mysteries cozy mystery series for Midnight Ink, and also wrote the Superstition Mysteries for them, both featuring dogs. She has also written the Pet Rescue Mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime, which was a spinoff from her Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mystery series. And yes, they involved dogs, too.
Linda also writes for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, including a new miniseries about a K-9 ranch where dogs are trained. Linda additionally writes paranormal romance for Harlequin Nocturne including the Alpha Force miniseries about a covert military unit of shapeshifters–and all the werewolves also have cover dogs.
Linda, a currently inactive transactional attorney, now writes fiction full-time. She is a member of the Los Angeles chapters of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. She is also a member of Romance Writers of America, including the Los Angeles, Orange County and Santa Clarita chapters.
©2018 V Williams