My rating: 4 of 5 stars
4 stars to Tracy Weber‘s A Fatal Twist, the fourth book in her Downward Dog mystery series. I don’t usually read a book from the middle of a series, but this one fell in my lap and I decided to give it a chance. I will go back and read the earlier ones next.
Kate’s a yoga instructor with a penchant for finding dead bodies and adopting homeless pets. When a pair of 6 week old puppies appear on her doorstep, she and boyfriend, Michael, agree to watch them until finding a better home. But their older dog, Bella, not the friendliest of animals to those she doesn’t know, has medical issues, which makes it difficult. And then Kate’s student’s husband is found murdered in the birthing hospital where Kate’s just started working as a doula. She’s got a cast of doctors, nurses and ex-girlfriends to tackle in trying to save her friend from being put in prison. Weaving the puppy adoption, her new career as a doula, her increasing investigation skills and decisions on her relationship lead Kate through many twists and turns, but in the end, she solves the case and finds a home for the puppies. And almost avoids another near-death injury.
I know nothing about yoga, but I learned a few things. Might even give a class a try one day. I love dogs and there are many lighthearted and funny moments to make readers think of their own pets.
The entire concept of the doula was new to me, and very interesting. Being a man, and not having children, the concept of childbirth is a bit foreign to me. I know enough now! 🙂 But not in a bad way. The details were handled with great aplomb, and always from a very medical and nurturing perspective. Makes me wonder how I would feel about natural childbirth.
The mystery was in that middle sweet spot. Not easy. Not difficult. Enough characters to create some red herrings, side stories and realistic clues. Very little interaction with the police, which makes the book so much more believable when a non-detective gets close to a murder investigation. I never found myself thinking “this couldn’t happen.”
Characters are funny, sweet and memorable. I want to know what happens to them in the future. Michael and Kate. Nicole and Rachel. Sam and Rene. Betty. Bella.
Writing is clear, direct and at the right level. Not simple. Not convoluted. A few great narrative sections, witty dialogue and descriptive settings.
I’m not sure the title fits. But that’s not a very big issue, is it? Of course it was fatal, and there’s always a twist in the cozy mystery.
I think someone would have figured out the murderer’s true problem (don’t want to give away spoilers) before Kate, given this takes place in a hospital among people “in the know.” But I can close my eyes and squint to see how this turn of events would have happened.
I enjoy the series. It’s got lots of side stories between yoga, dogs, medicine, birthing, etc. And the backstory seems interesting, so it’s probably worth reading from the beginning. Plus it takes place in Seattle. Can’t wait to see more of the surroundings!