Starving artist Lia Anderson makes a new friend at her seasonal job scoring academic proficiency tests. Desiree is a sassy, pocket-sized sexpot and owner of a larcenous beagle named Julia. Desiree also has a secret admirer who leaves her tiny figurines sculpted from twisted aluminum foil.
The friendship falls afoul when the pair discovers a connection in their past, a secret Lia's detective boyfriend, Peter Dourson, kept from her. When Desiree is murdered, Lia not only winds up with the woman's kleptomaniac beagle, she also inherits her stalker. On the outs with her beau and with the police on the wrong track, Lia will have to rely on her wits and her friends if she wants to stay alive.
©2015 Carol Ann Newsome (P)2015 Carol Ann Newsome
Aritst Lia Anderson is donating her time to paint murals at a local convalescent home. To keep paying the bills, she's working an evening job scoring academic proficiency tests. There, she meets and befriends Desieree Wallis, a budding young jeweler who is also a friendly, funny pocket-sized sexpot.
Desiree has a rescue beagle named Julia, who is constantly stealing and squirreling away small items--often, but not always, Desiree's underwear. She also has a stalker, someone who is leaving her little dolls, and once a whole diorama, made of cleverly folded tinfoil. What she doesn't know is that he's also gotten a camera into her bedroom.
When Desiree is killed by an intruder in her apartment, Lia takes Julia, and also inherits the stalker.
But she's had a fight with homicide detective boyfriend Peter, and the team investigating Desiree's murder are on the wrong track and don't take the evidence of a stalker seriously. Lia's on her own. Well, on her own except for her dog park friends, and her own dogs.
I read the first dog park mystery--A Shot in the Bark--and enjoyed it, but apparently missed the next two. As much as I enjoyed that first one, it did have some weaknesses in plot and characterization. It was still a fun read, though! Sneak Thief is just as much fun, and much stronger in plot and characterization. Lia is actually a strong female lead, rather than merely clearly being intended as such. The clues to the mystery are all present, along with well-done misdirection so the reader doesn't figure it out too soon. And Lia, Peter, and their friends have clearly been growing as characters over the course of the books I missed. Newsome has developed a lot as a writer, and in all the right ways.
Read this. You'll have a lot of fun.
I received a free copy of the audiobook from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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