From the BLURB:
After accidentally treating her in-laws to a peep show upon their first meeting, and having a catfight with her husband's vengeful ex, legal investigator Sara Townley hopes her next assignment is a simple one. So she takes on a case of stolen identity - that finds her in a seedy back street. Then Sara narrowly escapes becoming a casualty - a fate awaiting her one and only witness. In the meantime, Sara seems to have picked up a sidekick: a big, black Labrador who shows up at every turn.
And since her only lead is growing cold in the morgue, maybe following the dog's nose isn't such a bad idea.
This is the second book in Gabriella Herkert’s ‘Animal Instinct’ mystery series.
I didn’t like first book ‘Catnapped’ – mostly because Herkert got me all excited with a cute premise that she didn’t deliver on.
The cozy ‘hook’ of this mystery series is that female sleuth, Sara Townley, and her husband (and sidekick) Connor Macnamara have only been married for a few months. They got impulsively hitched in Las Vegas after knowing each other for 2 seconds – and now they sometimes solve crime together.
In ‘Catnapped’ Herkert made their oddball relationship a given – she didn’t delve into their history or current circumstances, which left a great big gaping hole in character development and their relationship. In ‘Doggone’ Sara meets Connor’s family, they discuss the day they got married and Sara opens up about her less-than-perfect childhood. ‘Doggone’ is so much better than ‘Catnapped’ purely because all this background and history lends to actual development and progress in the plot and character’s lives.
My one complaint is Herkert’s reluctance to write more romantic scenes between Sara and Connor. Apparently these two get hot n’ heavy at every opportunity – but Herkert never gets explicit. It leaves them feeling a little cold as a result. It’s strange that Sara and Connor want to remain married to one another. They live in different cities. They don’t know each other. Connor is a trust-fund baby, while Sara is trailer trash. So much hinges on Sara and Connor’s physical relationship but we never actually *read* it, Herkert just tell us about it. Herkert needs to learn to ‘show, not tell’ and realize that writing smut isn’t always about writing smut, but offering new dimensions to a characters relationship and giving readers a reason to care about them, root for them and understand why they stay together.
Still, ‘Doggone’ is better than ‘Catnapped’. At least in this second book Sara is infused with personality. She’s actually kind of funny;
“You’re trying to make me crazy. I’m not crazy.”
He screamed it in his paranoid nuthouse voice. Nothing was more dangerous than a lunatic.
Furthermore, I was much more invested in this mystery plot. In ‘Catnapped’ I couldn’t get over the lack of character history, so I couldn’t pay attention to the mystery plot. Maybe that’s why I was so interested in ‘Doggone’s’ nuts and bolts plot. Development makes all the difference.