Bending the Paw
Paw Enforcement #9
By Diane Kelly
Author’s website: dianekelly.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Make way for the long paw of the law as police officer Megan Luz and her K-9 partner Brigit investigate a baffling new mystery in Bending the Paw, by Diane Kelly.
A MURDER WITHOUT A BODY IS LIKE A DOG WITHOUT A BONE
A bloodbath is a shocking new challenge for Megan and Brigit when Detective Audrey Jackson calls them to the scene of what could only be a brutal murder. But the one thing the nightmarish scene is missing is a victim. The frantic homeowner’s husband is gone, seemingly without a trace—and so is the money he was holding. Has a vicious killer committed what might just be the perfect crime?
Meanwhile, it’s hailing cats and dogs all over Fort Worth, and roofing contractors have descended on the city in droves. With plenty of damage and continuing storms, work delays are building up like so much runoff, but Megan is suspicious that one roofer may be a scam artist. Determined to leash every lawbreaker she and her K-9 partner find, Megan is building a case for prosecution, all while Brigit has her nose to the ground for a murderer…
Office Megan Luz and the best partner ever, K-9 Sergeant Brigit are among my favorite cozy mystery teams. Megan wants to be a detective when she has been with the Fort Worth PD long enough. She has been invaluable help to Detective Audrey Jackson on several cases and Jackson is an excellent mentor.
Megan is called out with Brigit, the best partner ever, to a murder scene where she is warned to expect a lot of blood. Shelby, the weepy wife of her missing husband, Greg, came home to find a blood-splattered kitchen, as if one were mimicking the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre. Is it a coincidence that it is Valentine’s Day? There is more blood than it seems is in the human body, but…there is no body!
Brigit sniffed around the kitchen while Megan took in the crime scene. There seemed to be three sets of footprints, different sizes, different wear patterns. A knife from the block was missing, and there were drag marks going to the garage. Since Greg’s car was missing, it is assumed he was put into the trunk of his own car and the bad guys left in it.
Shelby had an alibi for the entire day. After work, she and some co-workers went to have drinks, as Greg, a manager at a local movie theater, was working that evening. The two of them had reservations to go away for the weekend, so Regina, one of her co-workers, followed her home to meet the dog she would care for the pet in their absence. Shelby held onto hope that Greg would walk in the door any time, despite the amount of blood lost in the kitchen. All the photos of the couple around the home showed a couple still very much in love.
It was a few days before Greg’s empty, blood-stained car was found on a trail overlooking a river where divers were sent to search for anything that might have been dumped. All the divers found was the key ring and a bag of bloody clothes, shoes, and a steak knife. No fingerprints, no clues, and Brigit lost the scent trail when going back to the parking area. The trail was as cold as could be.
Two days later, Megan responded to a possible fraud call while out on her beat. A hailstorm had occurred, and roofing companies were either trying to drum up business from hail damage or their crews were hard at work. A woman had been signed a contract with a professional-looking roofing company rep, gave him a deposit, sent him to a couple of the neighbors who needed work done, and never heard back from his company. The salesman, Tommy Perkins, did not return her phone calls. While it is more of a civil suit than police case, Megan promised to look into it, copied the contract, and planned to do her research on it.
Researching a murder and a disappearing roofer and spending time with Seth, her firefighting sweetheart, leaves little time for Megan and Brigit! They love what they do, and I have been so impressed to see how much Megan has grown over the course of the series. I remember with glee the events leading to Megan being assigned as a K-9 handler and the rocky start she and Brigit had. The characters are defined so well, with enough backstory that a new reader can easily pick up on them. I wouldn’t suggest missing out on the earlier novels, as the author shares laugh-out-loud humor that really helps make the series a favorite. Megan and Brigit are stars in my book!
There are several plot twists, and few clues for even some of the best detectives to get any leads from! Megan is more determined than most and has several lightbulb moments throughout. I delighted in watching her sift through possible clues and how her ideas paid off…even when it didn’t seem like it would. There are excellent surprises that wrap up both cases! I especially enjoyed what happened with the roofing salesman! I was totally satisfied with the resolutions and am looking forward to the next in series. I highly recommend Bending the Paw as well as the rest of the series!