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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Book Reviews: Desperate Housedogs and Get Fluffy by Sparkle Abbey

This is a light read and fun romp with the dogs.
by Sparkle Abbey
  • File Size: 513 KB
  • Print Length: 202 pages
  • Publisher: Bell Bridge Books (October 17, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005WZL0RK
Genre: Mystery
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0

Product Description
When Caro Lamont, former psychologist turned pet therapist makes a house call to help Kevin Blackstone with his two misbehaving German Shepherd dogs, she expects frantic dogs, she expects a frantic dog owner, she even expects frantic neighbors. What she doesn’t expect is that two hours later the police will find Kevin dead, his dogs impounded; and that as the last person to see Kevin alive (well, except for the killer) she is suddenly a person of interest, at least according to Homicide Detective Judd Malone. Sparkle Abbey is the pseudonym of two mystery authors (Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter). They are friends and neighbors as well as co-writers of the Pampered Pets Mystery Series. The pen name was created by combining the names of their rescue pets - Sparkle (Mary Lee’s cat) and Abbey (Anita’s dog). They reside in central Iowa, but if they could write anywhere, you would find them on the beach with their laptops and depending on the time of day either an iced tea or a margarita.) 

Caro is a pet therapist and proprietor of Professional Animal Wellness Specialist (or PAWS) Clinic.  Caro deals with some high strung clientele in Laguna Beach, California - human, canine feline and occasionally other critters. Caro and her cousin, Melinda, are both former Texas beauty queens who escaped from their demanding mothers. They might be grand friends if they weren’t fighting over their grandmother’s ugly brooch which had been willed to “my favorite granddaughter.” Both claimed the brooch and part of these stories is the running theft of the brooch from one cousin and back again. It doesn’t matter if they have to break and enter or open safes...anything is fair game.

Caro visits Kevin in his private community to help calm his two distressed German Shepherds, Zeus and Tommy Boy. A few hours later Kevin is discovered dead and Caro is being interrogated by Homicide Detective Judd Malone. Malone is sexy in a macho, leather-clad, cop sort of way and he is rather serious and solemn. He is quickly irritated by cheery Caro doing amateur sleuthing as she continues the rounds of client visits seeking information while dodging nosy and gossipy neighbors. But of course Caro is intent on proving her own innocence.

The characters are nicely, if not deeply, developed. Their basic temperaments and quirks are covered, for owners and pets, adding humor to the story.  The story is told in first person by Caro and it is light and fast paced. There are lots of good descriptions of settings, fashion and pets. There are numerous animal references - like the “Fur Ball”, a “cough-up some cash” black tie affair - which I thought were great fun.

There are several possible suspects and the mystery has a few good twists before being clearly revealed.  Caro’s actions are a bit zany and Detective Malone is a bit annoyed. I enjoyed the interaction and wonder what might occur in future stories between Caro and Malone or between Caro and her new date, the mysterious, handsome stranger, Sam.

This isn’t high brow mystery or thriller material but it is a fun, entertaining romp. If you would like a quick, light comedic mystery this works well.
Some dog influenced passages:
The next day was another day, another dog. L963.
The ACT gallery was packed with people and their pets. It was a veritable zoo of diamonds, furs and designer togs. The diamonds were on the people, the fur on the pets, the Prad and Chanel on both. Location 1583.
This is another fun sleuth romp with the dogs.
by Sparkle Abbey
  • File Size: 503 KB
  • Print Length: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Bell Bridge Books (March 30, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007RPT76E
Genre: Mystery
My Rating: 3.75 of 5.0

Product Description
“A mystery worth barking about.” – Linda O. Johnson, author of THE MORE THE TERRIER, Berkley Prime Crime Disgraced Texas beauty queen, Melinda (Mel) Langston, owns Laguna Beach’s Bow Wow Boutique. Mona Michaels, Mel’s most despised client, owns a star dog, Fluffy, who's worth millions. When Mona is found whacked in the head with Fluffy’s Daytime Emmy, everyone wants Fluffy. And someone won't stop at murder to get the pooch. Secrets. Blackmail. Mel tackles the case like a dog with a bone. But can she dig up the truth before the killer buries her? I stumbled through the doorway into a mini-palace fit for a movie star. Fluffy’s palace. A white sheepskin rug in front of her personal fireplace, a king-sized sleigh bed and a dressing screen (why a dog needed a dressing screen was beyond me). Fresh, filtered water dripped into her Wedgewood doggie bowl.The room looked like it had been ransacked.Mona was sprawled on the floor as if posing for a men’s magazine. It was almost picture-perfect, except for the blood matting her five-hundred-dollar haircut and the gold statue stuck in her head. I hesitantly moved closer. Fluffy nuzzled Mona’s cheek. When she didn’t move, Fluffy pawed her shoulder, still whining. “I don’t think she’s getting up, girl,” I said softly.Mona was deader than a stuffed poodle. Sparkle Abbey is the writing team of Anita Carter and Mary Lee Woods. Visit the authors at

This is book two of the Pampered Pets Mystery Series. This story came paired with Desperate Housedogs for a NetGalley review special.  I hope for the sake of the authors and publisher that this wasn’t the final release version as there were more than a few noticeable typo errors.

Melinda is the wilder cousin of Caro, the heroine amateur sleuth in Desperate Housedogs. The ongoing battle of the brooch, with each cousin stealing the brooch from the other, continues in the background of this tale.  Melinda is the owner of the Bow Wow Boutique in Laguna Beach and her own bulldog, Missy, comes complete with dog drool and other not so pleasant doggy habits. There are quite a few “hoity-toity” women in Laguna Beach and one of the snobbiest is former actress, Mona Michaels. Even her dog, Fluffy, an afghan hound, is a pampered Emmy winning star.

Mona and Melinda aren’t friends and they have a very public and humiliating tif at the fund raising Fur Ball. The argument continues the next day and that evening Melinda is the one to find Mona dead when she attempts to return Fluffy.  When Mel realizes that her best friend Darby may be the primary suspect, Mel sets out to find the real murderer. Mel is warned off by not only her on again/off again fiancé, Grey, but by the stern Homicide Detective, Judd Malone, who is already unhappy with cousin Cora.

Once again there are several suspects and a weaving trail to the true villain. Melinda is a character a little over the edge for me, making such a public scene and then plunging into the investigation after being told repeatedly not too. Really, if Malone weren’t such a nice guy underneath he could have thrown both cousins in jail for obstructing justice and being reckless in their sleuthing. Ah well, it’s all in the cause of fun reading.

Each of the two books I read in this series could be read alone but I think they were fun together. I am still interested in how things will move forward for Cora and hope something develops in future stories.


Welcome to the fancy Fur Ball:
Breezy air kisses and alcohol flowed freely, while we all pretended to be best friends. Trust me, we were one society catfight away from a hell of an entertaining evening.  Location 2645
Description of another community customer:
TV teen star and her dog, Babycakes, a Chinese Crested:
They were both so tiny they could be mistaken for keychain charms. Pooch and human were decked out in hot pink. Location 5076
It was partly cloudy with a chance of clearing Darby’s name.
I received these books as a pair from Bell Bridge through NetGalley.
These were set in Laguna Beach, CA and I will add theseto my ARC, New Author and Mystery Challenge Lists.

1 comment:

  1. Housedogs sounds like a cute fun read! Nice review!


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