"Sit, Stay, Slay" By V.M. Burns: Review/Giveaway

 Review by Cynthia Chow

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of the book and an Amazon link to purchase it.

Although she is a relative newcomer to the Dog Show world, recent retiree Lilly Echosby is enthusiastically dipping her toe into the complicated field of professional dog competitions. It’s why she’s heart-broken when her entire dog club fails to qualify for what was to be a mock trial for her and her toy poodle Aggie (named after Agatha Christie, of course). Lilly’s best friend and obedience dog trainer Scarlet “Dixie” Jefferson is infuriated, especially knowing that their disqualification at the Eastern Tennessee Dog Club’s building was very personal. Guest judge Naomi Keller has been a rival of Dixie since they were in high school, battling over cheerleading titles, boyfriends, dog shows, and even husbands. As protective as Dixie is of her reputation and her students, that pales in comparison to the love she has for her canine companions. So when Naomi attempts to sabotage the trial and maliciously steps on Dixie’s champion poodle Chyna’s paw, it’s an instinctive reaction for Dixie to punch out Naomi and threaten to strangle her if a dog is ever harmed again.

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Image Source Lyrical Press
Unfortunately, when Naomi is found strangled to death, political pressure has the police chief circling down on Dixie as the primary suspect. That’s even taking into account Naomi’s disagreeable personality, which means there is a plethora of alternative suspects. A stepdaughter who led the syrup-throwing protest at the dog show, furious wives, and a now-aware-that-he-was-betrayed husband all had more than enough motives for wanting Naomi dead. While her boyfriend Tennessee Bureau of Investigation officer Dennis “Red” Olson would prefer that his girlfriend not get herself involved in yet another murder, Lilly’s expansive knowledge for and love of mysteries means that it will be impossible to resist solving a puzzle that would also prove her best friend’s innocence. As her two adult children arrive for a visit, Lilly finds that, together with her dog club members, they have an arsenal of law enforcement, former military, and attorney resources at their disposal to prove the innocence of their dog trainer and pack leader.

This fifth in the series continues to delight both mystery readers and canine fans with its exploration of the fascinating dog show community. The exhausting amount of training that goes into the dog trials is shown to be far more challenging for the humans than the delighted canines. Disqualifying peeing, obedience and agility training, and how a lead differs from a leash, all are details as integral to the competitions as they are to the murder investigation. The real joy for readers comes simply in spending time with these characters, who are as bonded to one another as they are to their pets. The new couples forming are a delight, especially as Lilly’s daughter and son find additional reasons for visiting their mother in Chattanooga. Filling out the setting are descriptions of the amazing meals they enjoy, including a visit to the very real and tantalizing Aretha Frankenstein restaurant. Lilly’s family and new life grows throughout these novels as she celebrates the closing on her new home, continues to bond with her toy poodles Aggie and Rex, and meets Red’s intimidatingly vast family. Lilly truly has found her happy place. This is a cozy mystery in every sense of the word, leaving readers feeling full of heart and anticipating the next chance to spend time with these charming, dog-loving friends.  

To enter to win an ebook copy of Sit, Stay, Slay, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "stay,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen January 30, 2021 . US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter.  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 which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode goes up next week.

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.


  1. Great title. Enjoy another dog show
    series, so I'm sure this one will be
    entertaining also. thanks

  2. Philo Vance was into dog shows. Count me in the drawing!

  3. This looks like a fun mystery to keep the reader glued to their chair!

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  4. I love this series so much. Thanks for the chance to win the latest book.

  5. This looks really cute! legallyblonde1961@yahoo.com


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