Lia Anderson is back, and her current foster dog, Max, is a canine Houdini, a genius at finding gaps in the dog park fence. And one fine day in October, Max returns from her solo exploration of the adjoining woods carrying a human femur.
And it's not very old.
Max is easily able to lead Lia and Jim back to the body, or rather, the bones, almost entirely stripped of its flesh. And once the bones are identified as George Munze (spelling is a guess; I listened to the audiobook), Lia is looking for his missing dog, Daisy, while her boyfriend, Cincinnati homicide detective Peter Dourson, is looking for a killer.
But of course Lia befriends the perfectly nice woman, Kate Anstad, who was George's high school sweetheart, recently returned to his life, who is an obvious suspect. Her best patron, Renee, takes Kate in when the police ask her not to leave town. A mix of compassion and suspicion leads the dog park friends to organize deliveries of meals to the Munze household--where George's wife, Monica. is also an obvious suspect; whose daughter Stacy his cracked a secret about George's private life; who also has a teenage neighbor with an obvious crush on Monica hanging around and doing outside chores.
And of course, Daisy's disappearance isn't unrelated to George's death.
Meanwhile, Lia and Peter are wrestling with their relationship and their own insecurities. Peter is conservative and conventional by nature; Lia's past makes her wary of a too-traditional relationship, and fearful of giving up her space and independence.
This is a very nicely done mystery, with good character development. Newsome continues to greow and develop as a writer. Plus, of course, dogs. Dogs are always a win!