Bite the Dust by Jackie Layton

Title: Bite the Dust ( A Low Country Dog Walker Mystery #1)

Author: Jackie Layton

Published on: 28 February 2020

Genre: Cozy Mystery

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Andi Grace Scott, a dog-walker, discovers a client’s body one fine morning. The client, Peter Roth, appears to be murdered. On hearing Andi Grace scream, Peter’s neighbor, Marc Williams appears on the scene of the crime. Soon, the police come in and Andi Grace becomes the main suspect. (Marc initially suspected her of committing the crime)

When Andi Grace’s parents died twelve years ago, Andi had to put a full stop to her dreams of becoming a journalist. Instead of leaving her two younger siblings to foster care, she decided to look after them. Peter Roth helped Andi in setting up a dog-walking business.

Andi’s parents were killed in a hit-and-run accident and the police never found the driver. Twelve years later, Andi is not sure if the police are competent enough to catch Peter’s killer. So she decides to dig for clues, even if it puts her in harm’s way.

What a wonderful start to a new cozy mystery series. A dog walker turned amateur sleuth Andi Grace decides to solve the mystery behind the murder of her friend Peter.

Marc Williams, an attorney turned boat builder, helps Andi look for clues. He’s intrigued by Andi’s curiosity and his lawyer-y instincts kick-in. Peter’s dog Chubb is currently with Marc – Andi already has a dog (Sunny) and cannot afford to keep Chubb.

We are also introduced to the rest of Andi’s friends and family circle – Nate (brother), Lacey Jane (sister) and Juliet (friend). The local Sheriff Ward and Andi were classmates but they are not on friendly terms. We also see Andi’s ex-boyfriend Danny making an appearance or two.

The mystery is really good and keeps you hooked on to the story. The suspects are plenty and Andi Grace does a good job of ticking them off the list as and when she confirms their alibis and motives. The twists and turns are sure to surprise the readers. The final twist to the story – almost at the end – blew my mind. I, certainly, wasn’t expecting this – this brought the story to a whole new level of ‘suspense’.

The above-mentioned suspense is, no doubt, the best part of the story. We also see a little of romance brewing between Marc and Andi. Also, as the story ends, Andi re-evaluates her choices and makes certain decisions – this is going to form the base for the second book of the series or so I hope.

Though I have given this book a rating of 4.5, I do have a niggle or two. Andi Grace’s belief and numerous references to God (in a positive way) wasn’t something I was expecting to read in this story. A mention or two is quite okay but in this story, the mentions are quite noticeable. Andi Grace refers to her younger siblings as kids. I agree it sounds a little weird for a sister to call her siblings ‘my kids’ and smother them with motherly love. But at the same time, the reader has to keep in mind Andi Grace choose to look after her siblings instead of sending them to foster care. So, this motherly love is her way of making up for the parenting her siblings never had.

I did not let these niggles affect my read in any way. The mystery behind Peter Roth’s murder is sure to keep the reader on the edge of their seats. Maybe the identity of Peter’s killer was a little obvious but it is the other discovery that stole the spotlight in the end.

Overall, Bite the Dust by Jackie Layton was an engrossing and entertaining mystery. I recommend it to those who love to read books of the genre (cozy) mystery.

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