Series: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot #2
Published by St. Martin's Press on 8/26/14
Genres: Cozy Mystery, Paranormal mystery
Source: the publisher through NetGalley
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Also in this series: A Taste Fur Murder, Marked Fur Murder
Also by this author: A Taste Fur Murder, Marked Fur Murder
Deirdre "Foxtrot" Lancaster is back. With trusted companions Whiskey and Tango, she’s on the prowl for a brand-new predator…
Foxtrot has her hands full, as usual. Working as as a Jill-of-all-trades for a zany billionaire like Zelda Zoransky means the daily grind is closer to a juggling act, and this week is no exception—especially when her side job is directing spiritual traffic in Zelda’s pet cemetery. With ZZ hosting a party for some of the world’s wealthiest animal collectors and a rare albino liger named Augustus in residence at the private zoo, Foxtrot is ready for trouble to take a big bite out of her schedule…She doesn’t have to wait long. The half-ton big cat is dead, and there’s a houseful of colorful suspects, each one wackier than the next. But if they were all bidding to buy him, who would want Augustus dead? With the help of Tango’s feline telepathy and Whiskey the canine shapeshifter, Foxtrot learns that there’s much more to Augustus than meets the eye. Now they just have to sniff out a killer before any more fur flies…
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
The Whiskey Tango Foxtrot series combines mystery, humor, animals, and the paranormal, all rolled into one very fun package. I really like Foxtrot and her humorous, sometimes snarky narration. The banter between Foxtrot, her spirit dog Whiskey, and her cat Tango (now on her 7th life) is often laugh-out-loud funny. And the mysteries, though admittedly far-fetched, are both entertaining and perplexing. As the narrator, Foxtrot does sometimes withhold clues and/or her conclusions, but that’s usually necessary to make the mystery work – and a savvy mystery reader just might be able to figure things out on their own anyway.
To Die Fur includes all the things I liked about the first book (or should I say the furst book?) and takes them further. I particularly enjoyed the character development of Ben, the Thunderbird, who is also ZZ’s cook. Both his relationship with Foxtrot and his supernatural abilities grow in this book, and Ben struggles a bit to adjust to having his worldview so abruptly expanded. I also formed a slightly better opinion of Oscar, ZZ’s inebriated and somewhat ne-er-do-well son, who shows some unexpected depths in this book. I wish there were more scenes with ZZ, Foxtrot’s boss; she’s a great secondary character, but she’s a bit more subdued in this book than in A Taste Fur Murder. The animals are a delight, as always – both the live ones and the dead ones.
To Die Fur does take the paranormal stuff a whole lot further than the last book, so if you’re not cool with animal gods, telepathy, and cosmic whirlwinds a la Oz, it’s probably not for you. (No witches, vampires or werewolves so far, though; Dixie Lyle’s brand of paranormal seems to be a different approach entirely.) Mix in some decidedly high-level criminal types, an exceedingly rare animal, and a competition to own him that may not be as straightforward as it seems, and there’s quite a mess for Foxtrot to deal with.
The book falters in one place, when Foxtrot tries out a few false scenarios in explaining how her relationship with Ben is progressing before coming out with what appears to be the real one. The fake stories didn’t seem to have a point, and they’re told to the reader, not anyone else. That left me wondering why she told us the fake stories, and sowed some seeds of doubt in her reliability as a narrator. To be honest, it feels like a misstep on the author’s part, since I don’t think making the reader doubt Foxtrot’s veracity was her goal.
A few aspects of the climax and denouement also felt a little forced, but since the whole plot is rather unbelievable from a real-life point of view, that didn’t really bother me; it hangs together internally and works within the world the author is creating, and that’s what counts.
On the whole, though, this is a fun and refreshingly different series, and I can’t wait to see what the next book has in store! Marked Fur Murder is due out on March 31 of next year.
Favorite quote: “Apocalyptic,” said Eli. It was a word that didn’t need any others to sound scary; it was a whole badass gang all by itself. It probably beat up other words and stole their punctuation.
Rating: 3.75 stars
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- COYER Summer Vacation 2014
- Cruisin' Thru the Cozies 2014