"Bark If It’s Murder" A Dog Club Mystery By V.M. Burns: Review/Giveaway

by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win an ebook copy of this book at the end of the review and a link to purchase it.

Ever since she welcomed toy Poodle Aggie into her life, Lilly Ann Echosby has been introduced to an entirely new world of dog shows, competitions, and canine indulgence. Lily’s never seen anything like the accommodations of the Pet Haven Resort and Doggie Day Care, though, where the four-legged clients stay in their own individually decorated rooms with access to televisions, massages, aromatherapy, and pedicures.


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It’s during volunteer work with the Eastern Tennessee Dog Club at a local dog show that she met Pet Haven owner Keri Lynn Simpson, but Lily never expected to become one of their high-paying clients. An unexpected offer to attend an art auction with her boss in Atlanta was an opportunity that Lilly couldn’t pass up, which is why she needs to place Aggie in Pet Haven’s five-star accommodations. The high-security 24-hour pet cams allow humans to watch over their fur babies, and they help ease the loss caused by separation. It also gives Lilly the horrific experience of seeing Keri murdered on camera, strangled to death by her husband.
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A frantic Lilly calls Dennis “Red” Olson, an agent with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations, who immediately sends police over to investigate the murder. When no body or crime scene is found, Lilly is infuriated and frustrated to have her credibility questioned. After her now late-husband cheated on her with a stripper, trust is not something that comes naturally to Lilly, making her determined to prove herself right and bring Keri’s killer to the police. Fortunately Lilly does not actually have to do it on her own, as she is enthusiastically joined by her dog trainer friend Dixie Jefferson, as well as the actor son who is visiting Lilly while his touring European play is on a break. Going undercover within Pet Haven, former accountant Lilly puts her skills to the test going through their books while her son David uses his natural charm to draw out lurid secrets within the extravagant doggie resort.

Pet lovers will rejoice in this series that explores dog obedience training, competitive dog shows, and everything else dog-centric. Lilly never knew how rewarding it could be to adopt a fur baby, especially the six-pound bundle of love who makes Lilly the center of her world. Dog owners will definitely appreciate scenes of Dixie’s training sessions, where owners are still the ones who need to learn the most. Even more nuanced has been the development of Lilly, a woman betrayed by love and now reluctant to trust again. As someone adept at spotting problematic behavior, Dixie very wisely observes that the person Lilly needs to learn to trust again is herself. While easier said than done – no one is harder on Lilly than Lilly – she proves to be a skilled investigator able to put together puzzle pieces to solve an elaborately complex mystery.

The growing alliance of friends and family surrounding Lilly are a highlight of this series, with each character fully developed and integral to the mysteries. Of course the real treasure of this series has been seeing Lilly revel in the love that dogs bring to their humans, who rightfully indulge their fur babies in imaginative and seemingly limitless ways. Dog lovers will truly appreciate this series, but all mystery fans will enjoy the intrigue and sleight-of-hand misdirects of this genuinely surprisingly novel.

To enter to win either an ebook or print copy of Bark If It's Murder, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "bark,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 21, 2019. U.S. residents only. If entering via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast featuring mystery short stories and first chapters read by actors.

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:



Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.



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