Thursday, June 02, 2011

Dogs Don't Lie by Clea Simon

Title: Dogs Don't Lie
Author: Clea Simon
ISBN: 9781590588628
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press, 2011
Paperback, 260 pages
Genre: Cozy, Amateur Sleuth, #1 Pru Marlowe Pet Noir
Rating: C
Source: Purchased from The Poisoned Pen.

First Line: The problem with murder is that it's messy.

Pru Marlowe is an animal psychic. To escape the cacophony of furry voices in her head, she ran from the big city back to her small town home in the Berkshires hoping for a little peace. Unfortunately her training as an animal behaviourist and her need for money to pay the bills put her right in the path of Lily, a rescue dog, and Charles, her person. Now Charles is dead, and the distraught Lily looks like the killer. After all, she's a pit bull-- a drop-out from the fighting ring. The dog is so traumatized, however, that she can't give Pru a clear picture of what happened.

Even though Pru can't tell anyone about her gift, she feels that Lily deserves justice, and she begins gathering clues and discovering what sort of secrets a small town can hide. Relying on her grumpy cat, Wallis, Pru comes to realize that, if she does clear Lily, Pru herself is going to become either the new prime suspect... or next on the killer's list.

My rating of this book has little to do with how well written it is-- and it is-- and more to do with my expectations. I was well aware that Simon is the author of two mystery series featuring cats, and I've avoided them because I do not like cats. Once I stop sneezing and itching, I might tell you the other reasons why I do not care for our feline friends. When I saw the title of the book, saw "Pet Noir" and "animal psychic", I thought that I was going to be reading a book that focused primarily on dogs. I was wrong.

The book is centered on Pru-- a character I really liked-- and her tabby cat, Wallis-- a smug, superior piece of fur that I didn't like at all. Dogs featured very little in the action, and many times canine intellect was brought into question, which really rubbed my fur the wrong way.

The book is well-written and well-paced, and I didn't identify the killer until shortly before the reveal. Simon also has a lot of interesting, common sense things to say about animals and their owners. I like the whole concept of an animal psychic as lead in a mystery series. I would just prefer the psychic didn't team up  with a cat.

If you like cats, or if you come to this book without the expectations that I did, you should be in for an enjoyable read.


  1. Cathy - I know what you mean about expectations. This one does have an interesting premise - one I hadn't really thought of before. Not sure I'll read it, but it is interesting...

  2. I *do* like cats but I'm not sure an animal psychic is for me.

  3. I'm not a cat lover in general but the idea of a pet psychic with an animal in intriguing. Will have to look for the series!

  4. I had heard of this series and I like the Berkshires, but the whole premise just sounded too far out for me.

  5. I'm sorry Wallis rubbed you the wrong way. The cover image was supposed to clue you in,but I guess it didn't work. Thank you for giving the book a chance, however. And thanks for your kind words about the writing, plotting. et al.
    If any of your readers would like to try the book and see for themselves if they'd like it (Barbara - I think you'll find the premise presented pretty naturally), they can find an excerpt on my website: - just click on the DDL cover.

  6. Margot-- I know... the "woo woo" isn't everyone's cup of tea.

    Beth-- You sceptic, you!

    Harvee-- I'm glad you'll be taking a look. Hope you enjoy it!

    Barbara-- It's not as far out as you think.

    Clea-- You're probably "talking" to one of the few females who pay very little attention to covers. Yes, I use them in my reviews, but that's because so many of my readers are cover junkies. I will admit to an "oh oh" when I saw Wallis on the cover, but kept on anyway. Thanks for mentioning the excerpt because I know I have many feline fans who are readers.

  7. I love cats (I confess, far more than dogs, but that's probably just because I didn't grow up with dogs) and I love mysteries with psychics. This one does sound like it would be right up my alley!

  8. Belle-- I'm sure you'll enjoy it!


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