Joy Humboldt is going through rather a challenging patch in life. She's finally broken up with her manipulative jerk of a boyfriend. The next morning, she heads off to the pound to adopt a dog--a huge mixed breed she names Blue--but later that day, at her job at a barista at a coffee shop that's not Starbucks, she mouths off to a customer she thinks is being unreasonable. It's really quite reasonable, given her behavior, when her boss fires her on the spot.
But then a neighbor connects her with a friend of a friend, and she buys a dog walking business. Things are looking up, right?
Then she finds one of her new clients dead. The woman who sold her the business has disappeared. And the police seem strangely interested in only certain aspects of the crime.
Sgt. Declan Doyle is very handsome, very kind and gentlemanly, and very interested. He also warns her about the questionable record of the officer who will be heading up the investigation--Detective Mulberry. Mulberry, it seems, isn't too particular about the rules or due process. At least, according to Doyle, who used to be his partner.
Don't let the dog on the cover lure you into thinking this is a cozy. It's much more toward the hard-boiled end of the mystery spectrum. None of the characters, except possibly Joy's brother James and his lover Hugh, are unambiguously people. I liked quite a number of them, though.
No dogs die in the story, though that's possibly a very minor spoiler for one scene. On the other hand, there is mention and some description of S&M sex, though not anything very explicit.
It was an entertaining read, though not more than that, and as mentioned there may be content issues for some readers.
I bought this book.