Title: Caught and Collared (A Low Country Dog Walker Mystery #4)
Author: Jackie Layton
Published on: 15 February 2022
Genre: Cozy Mystery
The town is hosting its first-ever scavenger hunt and Low Country dogwalker Andi Grace and her best friend Juliet are participating. A screech of a car’s tire brings Andi Grace and Juliet’s attention to the road. An unattended dog is wandering on the streets. Andi Grace picks up the dog and learns of its owner’s name through the collar tag – Olivia Caswell.
As the two women reach Olivia’s place, they find the door open. The dog rushes upstairs and into the bedroom and Andi Grace follows. She finds the owner asleep on the bed. Olivia is rude and uncaring. She sends away Andi Grace without even a note of thanks. Andi Grace hears another dog bark from a closed room. When she lets it out, the dog runs to the pool. Andi Grace runs in time and stops the dog… but what she sees next shocks her to the core.
There’s a man floating in the pool. She pulls the man from the pool with the help of Juliet and begins to perform CPR while Juliet calls the paramedics. The local sheriff arrives too and a few minutes later, the man found in the pool is declared dead.
The victim was a well-known podcaster and also hosted a local radio show named ‘Cut to the truth’ based on unsolved mysteries in the Low Country. The rumor was, Dirk was to reveal important information about a cold case in his next program. Was Dirk about to reveal the identity of the killer?
Caught and Collared is the fourth book in Jackie Layton’s Low Country Dog Walker Cozy Mystery series.
Have you ever followed a series from the beginning and felt that with each installment, the story gets better and better? I have been following the Low Country Dog Walker Mystery series from the start and I am a huge fan! Andi Grace, our protagonist has come a long way. When her parents died in an accident years ago, Andi Grace put her studies on hold and decided to look after her younger siblings Nate and Lacey Jane. Years later, here she is, a dog walker, owner of a large estate and engaged to be married to a lawyer named Marc Williams.
The local cops know better than to stop Andi Grace from ‘investigating’ a crime. When she finds Dirk Cutter in the pool, Sheriff Wade asks her not to interfere – clearly knowing she will. Andi Grace says she won’t as she is busy with wedding preparations. But turns out, one of the suspects (and Andi Grace’s frenemy) wants Andi Grace to help her out. Oh boy! This means Andi Grace has to investigate… that is not going to be easy, considering there’s a wedding in the near future and the dog grooming business and the estate and the… phew!
As Andi Grace starts to investigate, she learns the victim was separated from his wife – Olivia Caswell. Olivia is cold-hearted and selfish. When her dog falls ill, she orders Andi Grace to take it to the vet and do whatever is needed. *rolls eyes* Marc’s friend is a local country music star. Turns out, the musician was acquainted with Dirk and was to meet him to discuss something personal. This puts him too in the list of suspects.
Then there is the killer – the absconding perp from the California cold case – Dirk was to reveal something vital pertaining to the case. And of course, there is the lover…
The stars of this series are the furry babies – Sunny (Andi Grace’s German Shepherd) and Chubbs (Marc’s Labrador.) In this book, Andi Grace adopts the victim’s beagle Peanut. She tries to find a home for the poor dog – but the dog’s behavior on seeing a certain somebody makes her suspicious. The person laughs it off saying they are not a dog person. But we all know dogs don’t go about barking and attacking people for no reason…
The mystery behind the murder mysteries (Dirk and the cold case) kept me guessing till the end. Andi Grace is an excellent amateur sleuth, no doubt about that. But this time, she has to juggle between solving the mystery and prepping up for her wedding. Her fiancé Marc is busy and won’t be able to help her this time. She knows she has to act fast and find the killer before… before she becomes their next victim!
As I mentioned previously, I have been following this series from the start and I have enjoyed reading each and every book so far. I feel the series is now at a turning point. We have all the recurring characters almost fulfilling at least one of their dreams – career, finding love, etc – and all there is left now to see what’s next. Will Andi Grace stop sleuthing once she and Marc are married? What about Juliet and Nate? What would they do once they settle down? Only time will tell…
Caught and Collared by Jackie Layton is an engrossing and enjoyable cozy mystery. If you love cozy mysteries featuring pets, you might want to add the Low Country Dog Walker Mystery series to your TBR.
I received an ARC from Beyond the Page Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.