HOUNDING THE PAVEMENT
The temptation to use dog-related puns is overwhelming but must be ignored in order to give this excellent story a fair shake. The real mystery is how a book based on a character who communicates with dogs can be impossible to put down. The crisp writing, humorous dialogue and delightful characters -- both human and canine -- all make this book a winner.
Ellie Engleman, a professional dog walker on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, has a dream job. She enjoys being her own boss and relishes the company of small dogs. Being able to understand and converse with the dogs is an added benefit. This talent, however, is Ellie's secret. But when she discovers one of her clients dead, her dream job turns into a nightmare.
Detective Sam Ryder suspects Ellie of funny business, but he knows she's not a murderer. Sam is trying to track a killer while Ellie searches for the deceased's missing, prize-winning bichon. Can Sam and Ellie put aside their hostility and ignore the sexual sparks flying in order to solve a murder and a dognapping? (OBSIDIAN, Mar., 336 pp., $7.50)