Saturday, June 9, 2018

Review: Hair of the Dog by Carlene O'Neill

Hair of the Dog (Cypress Cove Mystery, Book #3)
by Carlene O'Neill
Release Date: April 23rd 2018
2018 Carlene O'Neill
Kindle Edition; 300 Pages
ISBN: 978-0999270301
Genre: Fiction / Cozy Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

4 / 5 Stars

Amateur sleuth Penny Lively is working her tail off trying to keep her family winery afloat. For the first time in her life she's too busy to go looking for trouble. But when drugs are stolen from town veterinarian Annie Moore, Penny is there to help. After all, Annie is her cousin and best friend.
When Annie is later found over the body of her business partner, Penny knows it doesn’t look good. The police dig up a motive for Annie and she quickly becomes the primary suspect. Penny knows Annie is no murderer, and is determined to find the real culprit. When a second body turns up, Penny knows she needs to find the killer before anyone else is muzzled, permanently. 

My Thoughts
Hair of the Dog is the third book in a Cypress Cove Mystery series, and although I haven't yet read the first two books in this series, I didn't feel like I was missing anything with regards to the setting or the characters.  The author was pretty good at laying out who the characters were without giving away too much information from previous novels and I had no trouble understanding who was who.

The main character, Penny Lively, is a hoot.  I love her personality and found myself laughing out loud quite a few times at her irreverent thoughts about those around her - nothing ever really rude, just really funny, the kind of thing to which most of us as women would really relate.  Sometimes her inner voice would be echoing my inner voice and I couldn't help but laugh.  Despite all of that though, Penny is really quite nosy, but has this way about her that endears her to people and they open up to her even though they realize she can be quite abrupt and really shouldn't be asking the questions she does.  There are definitely some people who can get away with that and some people who should never open their mouths in public, you know?  I like how loyal she was to her friend, despite the fact that Annie was caught standing over a dead body with a knife in her hand, also discovering later about a huge insurance payout in Annie's name should anything happen to her partner.  And being caught with said knife and body in front of the person whom you fired just hours ago definitely didn't look good.  So, Penny definitely had her work cut out for her.

The twists and turns leading up to the big conclusion were quite lively and fun, even if it was easy to spot who the murderer was from the beginning; I only had trouble trying to figure out the motive as it was not what I initially thought even though it was there in front of me the whole time.  I have to commend the author for that one as she did keep me guessing as to the motive.  Although the book is a slow starter, it picks up rather quickly and moves along rather nicely.  I didn't find it bogged down with too many suspects, and could keep track of their whereabouts and actions quite easily.  What I truly enjoyed about the book though, is that it wasn't just about the mystery; there was a number of winery events thrown in with good food, good company, and fun, kind of showing you what a winery does although that grow grapes and create different kinds of wine.  I also like how this book showed how the weather can really affect a winery as it was constantly raining and it showed the effects the water had on the grapes and vines.  Even though I grew up close to wine country, I was never really involved in a winery, other than to go to tastings and weddings, so it was interesting to see the inner workings of one.

Hair of the Dog was a fun cozy mystery and I recommend it to anyone who has an interest in reading this genre.  The characters were interesting, and there was even a touch of romance between Penny and Connor, Penny's estate manager, which I hope to see develop in future books.  And even though I knew who did it early on, it didn't take away from the fun of the novel and I enjoyed following the twists and turns, and I definitely did not figure out the motive, did not even suspect what it was.  Cypress Cove is a place I would definitely love to visit.