Go to Homepage   Lee Charles Kelley: Murder Unleashed

 

Crescent Blues Book ViewsAvon Books (Paperback), ISBN 0060524944

Jack Field, dog trainer and ex-NYC cop, moves to the boondocks of Maine to escape the perils of the big city, open a dog kennel and wile away evenings in front of the fire with his "main squeeze." In fact, when the call comes for part-time Medical Examiner and Jack's significant other Dr. Jamie Cutter to report to a crime scene, the summons finds the couple snuggled warmly in bed with Jack's black and white English setter.

Book: lee charles kelley, murder unleashed
On an ice-laden country road, Jack and Jamie find the local judge (dead) and his daughter's boxer (alive and barking) in the judge's green Cadillac. The clues point to the pooch. Jack, the dog trainer, comes to the rescue when the boxer responds to Jack's tennis ball trick. Now pay attention to that ball, the author seems to say, because it holds the key to a lot of good dog training information -- and I'll remind you about it again and again.

In this second of a proposed six-book series, author Lee Charles Kelley, himself a professional dog trainer, cleverly puts more obstacles in the way of small-town peace and quiet than any self-respecting former detective should have to endure. And Jack Field maneuvers around them like a greyhound chasing a rabbit.

On occasion, the reader also needs a bit of help to sort through the characters in the myriad plot twists and turns. But if you like a good detective novel and know (or care to know) the difference between a beagle and a Dogue de Bordeaux, Murder Unleashed might just provide a fast-paced, pleasant diversion for an evening or two.

My biggest beef with Murder Unleashed is that the author muddies up a good story with an overabundance of canine psychology and alternative dog training details. The second problem bogging down an otherwise likable murder mystery? Too much back story -- in particular, information overload from the previous novel in his series. Some setting up of the characters and fitting them into this story works well. But if Kelley wants us to know what happened in his first book, A Nose for Murder, just let us read it.

Augusta Scattergood

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