Sunday, February 22, 2015

Review and Giveaway: A Killer Retreat by Tracy Weber

A Killer Retreat (A Downward Dog Mystery, Book #2)
by Tracy Weber
Release Date: January 1st, 2015
2015 Midnight Ink
Ebook Edition; 336 Pages
ISBN: 978-0738742090
Genre: Fiction / Cozy / Mystery
Source: Review copy from Partners in Crime Tours

3 / 5 Stars

When Kate Davidson gets an offer to teach yoga classes at the Elysian Springs resort, she jumps at the opportunity--even if it means enduring the wedding ceremony of the center's two caretakers. But avoiding the M-word turns out to be the least of Kate's problems when a wedding guest is found floating face-down in the resort's hot tub, shortly after a loud, public fight with Kate.

The police pick Kate as their number-one suspect, so she teams up with her boyfriend Michael, best friend Rene, and German shepherd sidekick Bella to find the real killer. They must solve the crime before the police arrest Kate, or her next gig may last a lifetime--behind bars.

My Thoughts
A Killer Retreat is the second book in the Downward Dog Mystery series featuring Kate Davidson and her newly-beloved dog Bella. How she acquires this dog is a mystery from the first book, but I adore Bella and am so glad she has found a new and loving home.  

In this installment, Kate, Michael, and Bella are off to the Elysian Springs Resort for a peaceful holiday where Kate hopes she and Michael can spend some romantic time together and get to know each other a bit better.  As a trade for free room and board, Kate also receives an offer to teach yoga classes at resort, and offer she just couldn't refuse.  After, why not indulge in her two favourite things?  Michael and yoga?  Although yoga teaches one to learn how to cope with stress and to develop inner peace, Kate finds this very difficult to do as she senses Michael become more serious about their relationship and panics when she thinks he wants to have the 'serious' talk.  I have to admit that this is where Kate drove me crazy at times as her avoidance behaviours tended to border on the childish and immature, sometimes making her appear sulky and whiny.  And the way she treated Michael during these times was deplorable; he definitely didn't deserve such treatment from her, especially without an explanation.  And then to be angry at him because he took her behaviour personally?  I'm not quite sure what she expected from him, but he is a bigger man than he should have been and definitely put up with a lot of behaviour that I know many wouldn't, and shouldn't.  I also don't really feel like Michael and Kate really solved their issues; he just happened to ask a different question than the one she was expecting, and suddenly things were much better between them.  Avoiding problems doesn't solve them and I wasn't too crazy about how this wrapped up.

Now, that being said, there were some instances where Kate did lose her temper, and it wasn't at Michael, or forgot to filter her mouth, and had to deal with ramifications that I thought were quite funny, even if Kate didn't.  I thought she deserved it, you know, the karma thing coming back at you.  Being put in your place is good for the soul and makes you think about your actions and your words and how they can affect everyone around you.  I thought the author did a great job explaining the tenets of yoga and how they pertained to Kate and her life, and how she managed to break quite a few of them through her thoughts and behaviours.  It was quite fascinating actually, enough that I have been considering taking it up myself.  

As for the plot, I found the interactions between the characters far more interesting than the actual murder investigation, which was a bit lacking in my estimation. I really like Rene and Sam, Kate's best friends, and am really happy they showed up at the resort; and naturally, they brought their own drama with them, which was quite easy to figure out. Bella is adorable, but then I adore dogs, and Bella's antics were quite funny and did add some hilarious moments to this novel.  I'm not really sure I bought into the reason for why the murderer did what they did as it didn't quite feel right, but there you have it.  As for the mistakes Kate made during this investigation, don't even get me started.  She had a father who was a cop. Didn't she learn anything growing up?

A Killer Retreat is one of those novels that I enjoyed more for the development of the main characters than I did for the actual mystery.  I liked the intricate manoeuvres between both the secondary and main characters as I tried to figure out the many puzzles and complications that were going on in their lives.  The murder was just one of those things that brought out more of the puzzle pieces between the characters and helped to put those pieces together, but I didn't actually find the murder, or the investigation, to be all that interesting.  And finally, I actually liked Kate much better in the first book than in this one.  I found myself looking forward to scenes where she kind of faded to the background as I tired pretty quickly of her whining and her treatment of others.  I think I had a hard time reconciling the fact that she got on my nerves and I was more interested in the other characters.  As for the cozy mystery genre, I enjoy it tremendously, as it's a nice treat to read something other than serious murder mystery / police procedural (although anyone who follows my blog knows that those are at the top of my genre list), and I find them quirky and fun.  As I did enjoy the first entry in this series, I am willing to give the third book in this series a shot.

Author Bio:

Tracy Weber is the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series featuring yoga teacher Kate and her feisty German shepherd, Bella. Tracy loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible.

Tracy and her husband live in Seattle with their challenging yet amazing German shepherd Tasha. When she’s not writing, Tracy spends her time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house.

Visit Tracy at:

A Killer Retreat Giveaway

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  1. Thanks so much for sharing your review on this 2nd in series cozy mystery. Sounds like it features an interesting cast of characters!

    1. I thought the characters were fun and quirky. Really, really enjoyed them. It was Kate I wasn't so crazy about this time round.

    2. Kate was certainly going through some personal "stuff" this time. ;-) It all sets the basis for a huge transformation for her in book three. She is learning, growing, and becoming a better person in the series, in no small part due to Bella. Without giving anything away to your readers, Kate's behavior in this book and its consequences will cause Kate to do a lot of introspection before book three, which will also be a part of her growth in that book. So stay tuned!

    3. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens in book three. It sounds quite fascinating. And I had no issues with Kate going through personal stuff, I guess I just developed a huge liking for Michael LOL We readers do tend to get caught up in our characters, you know?

  2. I need to catch up and read the first one. Love the cute cover.

  3. Thank you so much for reading and reviewing A Killer Retreat! Cozy in Texas, if you do read the first book, please let me know what you think!

    1. I did read the first one and I really, really enjoyed it. I liked the development of the secondary characters in this one, but I really liked the story in Murder Strikes a Pose better. It was funny and cute, and Bella is adorable!!

    2. Thanks! Bella is based on my own dog, so anyone who thinks she's adorable is my friend for life!

  4. A very good review! I think I've seen the first one mentioned before.

    1. Thanks, William! The first book just won the Malcolm Award for fiction, and it's also nominated for the Agatha Award for best first novel!