Jazz Ramsey gets a call from her boyfriend Nick’s alcoholic mother, Kim, in the middle of the night saying there is a dead man in her backyard. Jazz and Wally, the dog she is training to be a human remains detection (HRD) dog find no evidence of a body. But when a man is found dead two miles away with a photo of Kim and her son in his pocket, things start to get dicey.
Jazz makes for a great protagonist, with a caring and persistent but sometimes skeptical personality that tends to put herself in danger while trying to help others. It seems no one wants her trying to solve the murder, including Nick and his mom. But Jazz doesn’t let that stop her from trying.
There is some character growth in both Nick and Kim. During the course of the novel readers also get to see a lot of Wally, as well meeting a retired HRD dog and a search and rescue dog. However, there is only a small amount of information regarding their training. The author did a good job of setting the scenes in Kim’s neighborhood as well as some of the places Jazz went while investigating the murder.
The plot is steadily-paced, compelling, and kept me fully engaged. There are several red herrings and a twist or two. Will you be able to determine who the killer is and the reason for the death? Jazz’s upbeat nature along with Wally make this an enjoyable read. While this isn’t set in a small town like most cozy mysteries, it is limited to certain communities within Cleveland and isn’t graphic. The writing style pulled me in to the story immediately. It flowed well and kept me turning the pages.
A Trail of Lies is suspenseful, captivating, and entertaining. If you enjoy cozy mysteries or mysteries involving dogs, then this may be the next series for you. This is the third book in the Jazz Ramsey Mystery series, but it worked well as a standalone novel for me. Themes include alcoholism, murder, helping those in need, intimidation, and the importance of family. I can’t wait to find out what is next, as well as go back and read the first two books in this series.
St. Martin’s Press – Minotaur Books and Kylie Logan provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. This is my honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way. Publication date is currently set for May 11, 2021.