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 Willis, 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.