Murder Unleashed: A Dead-End Job Mystery, is the 5th book in the Dead-End Job mystery series. In this series, Helen is on the run and takes a series of dead end jobs to make ends meet.
In this instalment, Helen is employed at Barker Brothers Pampered Pet Boutique. When she delivers a dog to one of the clients, she finds that client dead by the pool with a pair of scissors sticking out of her chest. Because of her past, Helen’s afraid to call the police and runs away instead. Later that afternoon, another dog is dogknapped from the shop. If that wasn’t bad enough there’s a hurricane on the way, leaving Helen little time to sort this entire thing out. With the other employees acting strangely, Helen soon discovers she’s not the only one with secrets to keep.
Even though it's the 5th book in the series, it's the first one I read. I really enjoyed it. It was witty, fun, easy to read and packed temperamental employees, unruly clients and pampered pets. I’d really like to read the first one to get some additional background information on Helen and her predicament. Having said that, I don't think it's necessary to read these books in order. I found that this one, at least, can be enjoyed on its own.
Helen was a really good protagonist and amateur detective. She was frightened that her past would catch up with her and lied to the police, but she stuck it out to clear her name and finger the culprit. I liked that everyone at the boutique had a motive and could be considered a suspect. I couldn't wait to find out their secrets and discover who done it. The ending was a little disappointing and the overall story line wasn't as suspenseful as it could have been, but I enjoyed it nevertheless.
I especially liked the social commentary part about how pets are treated; the good, the bad and the atrocious. I don't have pets (Achoo!), but I really hate to see animals treated badly. It makes me sad. On the flip side, I was amazed at how spoiled some pets can be. Designer outfits, fancy collars and leashes, and pet furniture can all be purchased at the boutique. Some people should be so fortunate.
I have not experienced a hurricane and I hope I never do. I wasn't totally convinced that this as how people act with a hurricane was approaching. I didn't understand how the business could remain open. I can understand a grocery store, a gas station, or a place where emergency supplies are sold, but a pet boutique? Also, I didn't get the sense of urgency. I would be absolutely frantic. Maybe once you've lived through it, you handle it better.
Recommended. I’d definitely read another book by this author.
For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit Penguin's website.
For more information about the author and her other books, please visit Elaine Viets’s website.
Murder Unleashed: A Dead-End Job Mystery, Signet (New American Library, Penguin), ©2007. ISBN 9780451221087(Mass Market), 266p.