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Review ❤️ Bite Club by Laurien Berenson

July 11, 2019

bite-club-laurien-berenson

Melanie Travis’s new book club caters to readers craving fiction—with bite! But when a real-life murder case bares its fangs, she’ll need to swap dog-eared novels for a lengthy suspect list . . . 
 
Thanks to Aunt Peg and her enthusiastic pedigree dog show pals, Melanie’s aptly named Bite Club reading group has book lovers all over town burying their noses in thrilling murder mysteries. But another pet project surfaces when Melanie reluctantly agrees to train a Bulldog puppy for elusive member Evan Major. Between the unusual bruise on his face and a bizarre run-in with an unknown dog show attendee, introverted Evan can’t dodge trouble. It even sends him to an early grave—while landing Melanie in the hot seat for homicide . . .
 
Caught at the wrong place at the wrong time, Melanie delves into the victim’s shady past to prove her innocence. As she uncovers a juicy scandal that cost Evan his marriage and, possibly, his life, Melanie realizes that booking the real culprit comes down to gathering her pack of suspects together at the next Bite Club meeting. What she doesn’t know is Aunt Peg has been hiding some explosive secrets of her own—secrets that, once unleashed, could pit Melanie against an unpredictable killer bent on bringing this story to an abrupt end . . .


Release Date: Jun 25, 2019
Series: A Melanie Travis Mystery
Book: 23
Publisher: Kensington
Price: $12.99


 

Melanie Travis is a dog-lover and welcomes a few friends to participate in a book club she names the “Bite Club.” Melanie’s opinionated, bossy Aunt Peg invites herself and several others to join and soon takes over leadership of the club. Melanie is annoyed, but is too busy taking care of her family, helping a friend with relationship problems, and assisting an acquaintance from the book club to train his new puppy to do anything about it. When arriving at Evan’s home to give a dog-training lesson, she is dismayed to see the puppy running around his house all by himself with no sign of Evan. Melanie soon learns Evan has been murdered and a nosy neighbor offers Melanie up to the police as the prime suspect. Now it’s up to Melanie, with plenty of help from Aunt Peg, to find the real killer.

Even though this is the twenty-second book in this series, the author does a great job keeping things fresh for returning readers, but still accessible to those new to the series. The series has become a favorite of mine for intriguing mysteries, a likable amateur sleuth, and interesting insider information about the world of dog shows. This book features a seemingly shy, mild-mannered victim who is hiding a shady past. The more Melanie looks into Evan’s background, the more suspects she adds to her investigation. While questioning witnesses and possible suspects, Melanie also helps her friends Terry and Crawford with a possible snag in their relationship. Even though I figured out the truth before Melanie, I enjoyed this subplot. It doesn’t tie into the murder, but is related to the dog show world which is always a highlight of this series.

The side character who plays the biggest part in the book is Melanie’s Aunt Peg. Peg means well, but can be hard to take at times. She irritates me through much of the book, especially when she criticizes Melanie’s thirteen-year-old son who is showing one of Peg’s dogs. However, Aunt Peg makes up for it by the end when she uses information Melanie obtained about the murder to plan a gathering of all the suspects to nab the murderer. I like when Peg is cooperative because at those times, she and Melanie make a formidable team. The ending was dramatic and satisfying with questions answered by the end. Like Melanie and Peg’s champion poodles, Bite Club is a winner.

~ Christine



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