Minotaur/St. Martin’s Press © 2017
Also available as an ebook
The first in a projected series featuring Kay Powell (an entertainerturned lawyer turned talent agent—she represents animals) and her parents (Jay Powell & Eleanor Ray); as a trio, they played resort hotels as Jay, Kay, and El until Kay broke up the act by going semi-straight. Her parents forged ahead as a double act on cruise ships.
Kay’s office in in New York and she lives in New Jersey with her two dogs, Steve and Eydie. Her newest client is Bruno, who’s up for the part of Sandy in a revival of “Annie,” slated to replace the current performer (Horatio). Bruno is a large, shaggy sweetheart of a dog and a natural performer, of indeterminate breeding. His owners (Trent and Louise Barclay) are something of a problem at the audition, but that gets partly resolved when Trent is murdered later late that night.
Kay sort of tries to stay out of things, but the detective in charge of the investigation pretty much coerces her into becoming a CI (confidential informant), because she knows both the people involved and the environment in which they work. And in short order things get complicated. Someone wants Bruno, and is apparently willing to go to great lengths to get him. But what’s going on? Why would anyone want a mutt? Is this related to Trent’s murder or not? Why is the Les the director’s assistant (Akra) acting so strangely?
In the end, of course, everything becomes clear, Bruno is saved, and justice is done. (And, given when I was reading the book, I sort of needed that.)
Kay’s narrative voice is very good, and her parents are delightful (El has a great response early on when Kay says “Mom, I don’t think you’re getting exactly what I’m risking here;”Jay is constantly playing a part). Copperman does the settings, both in the city and in Jersey, very, very well. And sneaks in a reference that made me smile. I’m assuming that Jay and El will manage to find their way to the NY/NJ area in subsequent adventures (I’ll miss them if they’re not there). And I’m hoping Kay’s assistand in the agenting business, Consuela, and Consuela’s son Dee, will be part of the ensemble (with more to do.
This is probably going to get tagged as a “cozy,” and maybe it is. But it’s also pretty tough underneath. I think you’ll enjoy this installment; I know I’m already looking forward to #2.