Four Paws Up for ‘Paw Enforcement’ by Diane Kelly

The gist: A hapless Fort Worth cop, Megan Lutz, nearly loses her job after tasering her insufferable partner. She reluctantly partners up with a canine cop and signs up for anger-management classes. Probably a good idea since she’s prone to kicking her sexist colleagues where it counts! But hey, who could blame her? While working the shopping mall beat, she and her four-legged sleuth, Bridget, find themselves in the crosshairs of the next Unabomber…or I should say Tuna-bomber! When they’re not chasing down skate-boarding mall rats or writing out speeding tickets, our intrepid sleuths must ferret out the homegrown terrorist before the whole mall goes up in smoke!

What worked: Lately I’ve been getting really tired of these cozy mysteries starring prim and proper sleuths with little to no bad habits and character flaws. Their good manners and even-keeled dispositions don’t add much to the story or to their likability. I need a character who’s riddled with flaws, self-doubt and terrible habits. And I’m happy to say Megan Lutz is that character!  I love that she’s struggling with anger issues (I feel ya, girl!) and her ability to succeed in a male-dominated profession. She drives a tiny Smart Car, cries uncontrollably in the bathtub (with her furry sidekick by her side) and is a tad OCD about her diet. This girl is a bit of a mess—and I love her all the more for it!

Bass Master, a recently adopted Austin Pets Alive dog, gave this book four paws up!

At first I was a little put off by her reluctance to partner up with a big, gorgeous and somewhat sassy canine cop . But thankfully I soon learned that she’s a dog-lover at heart. It was a lot of fun watching their love story unfold. Nothing gets past these two crackerjack detectives—especially with Bridget’s drug-sniffing super powers!

What didn’t work: I love that Bridget gets to narrate a few chapters here and there—but those chapters are too short! I simply need more Bridget! Wouldn’t it be great if she could have her very own spinoff novella? Perhaps a murder mystery that delves deeper into her tragic backstory? Bass Master and I would love to know more about her journey from a downtrodden shelter dog to ace detective. Hint hint, Miss Kelly!

Overall: This is a fabulous series that is sure to win the hearts of mystery fans and dog lovers alike! The mystery is fun, but it’s the characters that pull me into the story.  So if you like humorous (but not slapstick), character-driven mysteries, this book is for you.

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