Sunday, August 14, 2011

Unleashed by Emily Kimelman


When Joy Humbolt loses her job and breaks up with her boyfriend she impulsively adopts a giant mutt named Blue. Soon a dog walking business on the exclusive Upper East Side of Manhattan is thrown in her lap. On her first day, Joy discovers a dead body and is quickly sucked into a hidden world of political power, wealth, and secrets.

While Joy tries to expose the murderer, she will learn just how far some people will go for money and how far she is willing to go to protect her family.

4 Stars

After mouthing off to a customer and then compounding the error by making a rude comment to her smarmy boss Joy Humbolt is fired.  It’s been a tumultuous few days for Joy who had just broken up with her loser boyfriend the night before, then decided to buy companionship in the form of an enormous dog named Blue. When an opportunity is presented to take over a dog-walking business for upper-crust clients, it seems too good to be true.  Turns out it really is.  Joy gets caught up in a murder investigation that will literally change her life. But when the chips are down, Joy digs in.  Someone wants Joy out of the picture, but she and Blue are not going down without a fight.

This story was flawlessly constructed; new little snippets of information coming to light as Joy struggled to understand what she had innocently stepped into.  I loved Joy.  Her quirky, irreverent humor and cheeky sass was refreshing.  Yet, for me, she never crossed that line from uniquely personable to obnoxiously unlikeable.  The story flowed so smoothly and unfolded at a near perfect pace throughout – there were just a couple of places that I felt an unwelcome slowdown that in my opinion failed to propel the story forward quite quickly enough.  Still, I was kept engrossed in the action, and kept guessing about what would happen next. Always, Joy is resourceful, with often brilliant perceptive skills.  I also particularly enjoyed the relationship between Joy and her brother, James. The affection the siblings shared was heart-warming.  A magnificent mystery that just would not let me out of its grip until the very end; there are plenty of twists, and enough appealing secondary characters to appease even the most discriminating armchair sleuth. Highly entertaining!

Reviewed by Laurie-J

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