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by David Rosenfelt
Minotaur, July 2022
297 pages
ISBN: 1250828872

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Rosenfelt is probably best known for writing about dogs and dog rescue; his list of publications, fiction and non-fiction, on these topics is extensive. HOLY CHOW does have a dog or several within its pages; they are not primary characters or central to any of the plots. Andy Carpenter is, as is his wont, roped into being a lawyer to defend Tony Wasserman on the charge of killing his step-mother, Rachel Morehouse. He doesn't believe Tony killed Rachel. He also doesn't want to have to find another home for Lion, the chow-chow that Rachel acquired from Andy's dog rescue group, the Tara Foundation. Chows are larger dogs, with a reputation for being aggressive. They can also blow coat like few other dogs. They are notoriously hard to find "forever homes" for; it has to be the absolutely correct person not only for the breed but for the individual dog. Rachel and Lion belonged together. Faced with this situation, Andy pulls together his team and they start looking into Rachel's life, her past, her husband's past, and all the aspects of what turns up in that search which might point to someone wanting to kill Rachel. Someone other than Tony, of course. It isn't easy, and the options seem to be very limited at first. Digging deeper does produce results, not all of which make sense for a while. The final resolution is interesting, and not what one expects from Rosenfelt, based on his previous work.

Rosenfelt has a cast of characters that recur from book to book. Not all of them are in every book, although most of them surface somewhere along the line. He can sketch a character quite quickly, so there doesn't need to be a lot of back story conveyed in each book. Based on my personal and decades- old memories of the area of New Jersey featured in these books, Rosenfelt knows the area quite well. Plot? Not what I expected, although certainly as believable as anything I've read before. I enjoy Rosenfelt's writing style; he makes me laugh out loud with startling frequency, especially for a novel about murder. HOLY CHOW was, for me, a quick read. I enjoyed it, even when it wasn't quite what I expected from such a well-known writer about dogs. You have been warned.

P.J Coldren: I have been reading and reviewing mystery fiction for over a quarter of a century and read broadly within just about all genres and sub-genres. I live in Northern lower Michigan with my spousal unit, one large cat, and two fairly small dogs.

Reviewed by P.J. Coldren, June 2022

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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