A Killer Unleashed by Jackie Layton

Title: A Killer Unleashed (A Low Country Dog Walker Mystery #5)

Author: Jackie Layton

Published on: 14 February 2023

Genre: Cozy Mystery

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

A Killer Unleashed is the fifth book in Jackie Layton’s A Low Country Dog Walker Mystery series.

A frantic client calls Andi Grace – she’s worried about her dog Lady. The client’s husband was supposed to arrive at their vacation spot with the dog but he’s not answering her calls. She worried that he’s left the dog at home and is on his way to her place.

Andi Grace agrees to drop by the client’s house and check up on Lady. But when Andi Grace and her fiance Marc go to the house, the dog is nowhere to be seen. But the husband is there… strangled to death in his office chair. Andi Grace soon finds a ransom note demanding hefty sum for the dog’s safe return.

Andi Grace and Marc are planning for their wedding. And she doesn’t want to dip her toes into a murder investigation. A trail of clues and curiosity gets the better of her and Andi Grace starts to investigate. The people in her suspects list aren’t happy and neither is the killer…

I have been following this series from the start and was excited to catch up on the latest installment. I loved the mystery and the sleuthing. If I have to compare this book to the previous installments, I am tad disappointed with the pacing and repetitions.

Andi Grace didn’t expect to stumble upon another body. She doesn’t want to investigate either – she has a wedding to plan. But when her sister’s biological father (long story short: he and Andi Grace’s mother had a brief affair decades ago) is questioned by the sheriff, Lacey Jane (the sister) wants Andi Grace to prove her father’s innocence. This means Andi Grace must once again don her deer stalker hat and start looking for clues.

The victim was a lawyer and his wife, a real estate agent. There’s a rumor of a local clinic that was a pill mill – the victim used to send his clients there for treatment. Then there’s the victim’s wife to consider – she seems more worried about the missing dog than her dead husband. Finally, a college professor/environmentalist who’s made it to the top of the suspects list.

I felt bad for Marc (Andi Grace’s fiance) – he supports her amateur sleuthing adventures but he’s worried about her. He doesn’t want her to put herself in harm’s way. Andi Grace’s feelings for Marc seemed a bit too cheesy – she couldn’t stop being grateful for getting such a wonderful man as her partner – this was getting a bit repetitive.

Emotions were all over the place and I wonder if this was because Andi Grace was going through a phase of ‘wedding jitters.’ Suspects know she’s looking for clues and she too doesn’t hide the fact that she suspects them of murder. Somehow, this wasn’t up to my liking. Amateur sleuthing, yes. But Andi Grace is getting a bit too brave for my liking. Coming face-to-face with suspects without giving it a second thought. Nope, not a good sign.

Coming to the identity of the killer – this was no shocker. I couldn’t understand why Andi Grace wanted to help a destitute woman when she knew the woman was downright nasty and manipulative.

Overall, this was an okay read. Since this is one of my favorite series, fingers crossed that things will get better in the next installment.

P.S.: You can see my review mentioned on the book cover. I was like WOW! One of the best things that’s happened to me as a reviewer. 🙂 Thank you, Beyond the Page Pub and Jackie for this. 🙂

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