I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
Diane Kelly writes the most excellent Tara Holloway series and in 2013 released a short-story cross-over to this new series . It was good, but I'm not generally a fan of multiple POVs, nor am I a fan of an animal having one of the POVs - both of which Ms. Kelly clearly intended to include in this new series. But I really like her writing and I figured "what the hell" - and it languished on my TBR pile for almost a year.
Megan and Brigit inadvertently stumble across a bomb one day having lunch, ruining the bomber's plans by evacuating the building and avoiding any serious injuries. Eager to make detective asap, she volunteers to assist the detective-in-charge in her off-time. She meets Seth and his dog Blast from the bomb squad along the way, adding a bit of romantic tension to the story line.
The story started out rocky: the writing felt a bit preachy, with too much philosophising as Megan is introduced and we learn how she ended up with a K-9 partner. Everything felt too ramped up. The book also started off with an alarming number of lists, and Brigit's canine thoughts were ridiculous; fortunately both became non-issues as the story progressed. I also HATED the author's use of harm to animals, even though it was a small scene and ultimately crucial to the solution: she could have done it differently and I wish she would have.
After the first bomb went off, the story took off too: the writing smoothed out, the characters evened out and Brigid, though still getting her own very short chapters, acted more like the dog she is. I don't think it added anything to the story itself, save for keeping everything lighter, but it didn't hurt the story as I expected it to either.
I liked a lot: there's a realistic time-line; months go by instead of everything being crammed into a week. The romantic element isn't rushed; there's tension but nobody is rushing to bed and there's a lot of baggage on both sides (but no melodrama). Readers are going to discover Seth's baggage over time, right along with Megan if she sticks with him. Finally, this isn't a typical cozy plot: there's no "big reveal" and the reader finds out who the bomber is before Megan - assuming the reader is paying attention. All of this made for an incredibly refreshing change from the ordinary formula; so much so by the end I totally didn't mind having to read Brigit's thoughts.
I classified this as "cozy" on my shelf but it would seriously offend those with less tolerance. Ms. Kelly doesn't tippy-toe around profanity and the flashback of how Megan ended up part of a K-9 unit is flat-out vulgar: like I said, I'd have used a gun, screw the taser.
[PopSugar 2015 Challenge: A book with non-human characters.]