Stormi and I had been doing a Tag Team Review feature in 2016 and we decided to revamp it and rename it for 2017. We hadn't had the best of luck with our last read so I put it in Stormi's hands to pick something we thought we both might enjoy and she managed to rock it. So please enjoy my review below and then head over to Stormi's to see what she thought about the book as well. Also, a big thanks to Michelle from Because Reading is Better Than Real Life for the awesome graphic.
AUTHOR: Bethany Blake
PUBLISHING DATE: February 28, 2017
FROM GOODREADS: Pet sitter Daphne Templeton has a soft spot for every stray and misfit who wanders into the quaint, lakeside village of Sylvan Creek. But even Daphne doesn’t like arrogant, womanizing Steve Beamus, the controversial owner of Blue Ribbon K-9 Academy. When Steve turns up dead during a dog agility trial, Daphne can think of a long list of people with motives for homicide, and so can the police. Unfortunately, at the top of the list is Daphne’s sister, Piper—Steve’s latest wronged girlfriend.
Certain that Piper is innocent, in spite of mounting evidence to the contrary, Daphne sets out to clear her sister’s name—and find Axis, Steve’s prize-winning chocolate Labrador, who went missing the night of Steve’s death. Aided by Socrates, her taciturn basset hound, and a hyperactive one-eared Chihuahua named Artie, Daphne quickly runs afoul of Detective Jonathan Black, a handsome and enigmatic newcomer to town, who has no appreciation for Daphne’s unorthodox sleuthing.
Can a free-spirited pet sitter, armed only with a Ph.D. in Philosophy and her two incompatible dogs, find the real killer before she becomes the next victim?
MY THOUGHTS: I knew I had to request this book when I saw it on Netgalley because my Canine ADHD kicked in after seeing the basset hound on the cover. I'm glad I did because I found "Death by Chocolate Lab" to be a quick-paced cozy mystery and a strong start to a new series. Daphne is a pet sitter and since she has a Ph.D in philosophy, she doesn't quite see things as many around her would. She lives with her sister and kind of strikes me as a jack of all trades because although she pet sits, I don't think her life has a whole lot of focus. When her sister's ex Steve turns up dead and her sister Piper is the prime suspect, Daphne takes it upon herself to solve the mystery because she doesn't have faith that the new hot police detective in town, Detective Black, is looking in the right places.
I liked a lot of the characters in this book as well as the setting, and I believe both are crucial for a good cozy mystery. I found Daphne to be somewhat annoying at times because she is super presumptuous and makes a lot of hasty decisions and has to be bailed out tons. However, she grew on me at the book progressed and she didn't interfere with my overall reading enjoyment. I wasn't able to solve the mystery right away and there is a bunch of zany characters which I'm sure will make the future installments that much more fun to read.
Now a word about the dogs. Daphne basically ends up collecting strays and fostering homeless pets throughout the book. Her basset Socrates is a permanent fixture, and she spends the whole book trying to find someone to adopt Archie, a misshapened Chihuahua. At one point, she is also caring for 3 Rottweilers as well as the Chocolate Lab mentioned in the title. Socrates is quite an aloof animal and his name definitely fits him. He doesn't get shaken up or excited about too many things and he is a nice juxtaposition for Daphne.
I really enjoyed reading this and look forward to future installments. If you like animals in your cozy mystery series, than don't pass this one up.
I received this book from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest opinion.
BOOKER T's THOUGHTS: Can I trade Cassius for Archie? Just saying. Mom seemed to really like this tiny little creature and don't tell Cass but I've been secretly looking for a replacement. Oops, Mom just told me that was mean! I take it back....sort of.