In honor of Sunday – a day I reserve for reading and lollygagging – I bring you a short and sweet book review! For more of my “Short & Sweet” reviews, go here.
The gist: This fun little mystery series revolves around an animal-loving ex-cop named Dixie Hemingway (no relation to you-know-who). Haunted by the tragic death of her husband and daughter, Dixie abandons her life as a sheriff’s deputy and starts her own pet-sitting business. Everyone thinks she’s crazy anyway – so why not? What could go wrong taking care of fuzzy four-legged puppies and kitties? Oh you’d be surprised!
When Dixie takes Big Bubba, a smart-mouthed parrot with a big vocabulary, to the vet, she meets a distressed teen in the waiting room. Her father just ran over a poor little bunny rabbit and could care less about his daughter’s tears. Dixie soon discovers the mysterious teen is in a heap load of trouble when a band of knife-wielding teenage gangsters come looking for her. Why is this girl so afraid of her father? And why is she hiding out at Siesta Key’s most posh seaside hotel? Dixie is determined to find out!
The plot thickens when Dixie’s old high school friend, Maureen, comes out of the woodwork. Her millionaire husband has been kidnapped and she needs Dixie to help her deliver the $1 million ransom. Even though Maureen dropped her like a hot potato after she struck gold with a moneygrubbing sugar daddy, Dixie can’t help but to rescue a friend in need. Soon she finds herself caught up in a tangled web of druglords, extortion, murder and mayhem!
What surprised me: At first glance, these books look like your typical fun and fluffy chick lit mysteries filled with zany stiletto-wearing sleuths, cute fuzzy animals and steamy romance. But these pet-sitter mysteries are much heavier than you’d think. Dixie deals with some serious issues – parental abandonment, grief and loss to name a few – and finds solace in the quiet comfort of animals. Despite all the shit she’s been through, she carries on and slowly mends her wounds in each book.
Why I love Dixie Hemingway: Where do I begin? I love everything about her! Being the crazy cat lady that I am, I immediately fell in love with this character when she professed her passion for all things feline. I’m not sure if the author did this intentionally, but it seems like Dixie is very catlike herself. She loves looking at water, but hates getting in it. She practically purrs when she eats her brother’s luscious cooking. She’s a creature of habit, something I can totally understand. And when someone sets her off – she roars like a lioness! Dixie is a force to be reckoned with, and I commend her for her tenacity and strength!
The setting: Blaize Clement does an amazing job describing Siesta Key’s lush landscape. The ethereal sunsets, the sandy beaches, the wildlife –all captured beautifully in her eloquent prose. Boy I sure am craving a key lime pie right about now!
This book is best paired with: A sparkling mimosa, flip flops and an ocean view. Don’t have an ocean view? No problem, I’m sure there’s an app for that.
Will I read another book by this author again? You betcha! I’m hooked on this series. But sadly Blaize Clement is no longer with us, so I’m going to slowly savor each of her books. Total bummer, I know. But here’s some good news, her son is writing the next two installments, so we can look forward to a couple more Dixie Hemingway adventures. For more about this amazing author, read this write-up in the Sarasota Herald Tribune.