Death by Chocolate Lab by Bethany Blake
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I wanted to like this book. I really did. The problem was that hardly anything, from the plot points to the main character, was believable. When I read the majority of the time I am able to suspend disbelief and sink into the story. That was not the case here. I was constantly jerked out of the story by the thought “that doesn’t make any sense” which means I wasn’t able to enjoy this read at all.
The story is about a pet sitter named Daphne, who sets out to solve the murder of a local dog trainer when her sister is implicated in the murder. She has two adorable sidekicks, a basset hound and a Chihuahua whose antics make for some adorable moments. And of course there is the essential tall, dark and handsome detective with a past that hides some secrets. Sound a bit cliché to you? It did to me too.
*Mild spoilers ahead*
What I didn’t like about this book was that I just didn’t believe in Daphne as a character. For one thing I own a pet sitting business and she is a horrible example of the profession. She doesn’t keep a calendar, doesn’t advertise at all, doesn’t seem to have a website, and her cell phone doesn’t work, so how would clients even contact her? This drove me nuts throughout the entire book. She has a PhD in philosophy so she must have had the drive and intelligence to get that accomplished and yet she can’t manage to figure out the basics of running a business? Unlikely.
One of the key plot points that the author uses to move the plot along was that Daphne was extremely worried about a missing chocolate lab named Axis. So much so that she is willing to break into the dead mans house to look for him. The only problem is that Daphne only seems to care when its convenient to move the plot along. She doesn’t put up flyers or ask anyone who may have seen the dog. She doesn’t even search the property for him. Which make no sense for someone who is supposedly concerned.
The other main thing I took issue with was the detective himself. He is an ex-navy seal, good looking and intelligent. Yet he misses several clues which allow our leading lady to find them. He is observant when the plot calls for it but completely misses things when it doesn’t. He also allows Daphne to remove a piece of evidence from the victims house without stopping her. Again – unlikely.
While there were quite a few plot issues the writing itself wasn’t bad and the author shows promise. I think that in future books Daphne would make a much better fresh pet food maker than a pet sitter, especially since the author included recipes. I might consider checking out book two to see if the story gets any better.
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