Sunday, 1 November 2015

Book review: The Dead Dog Day, Jackie Kabler

"When your Monday morning begins with a dead dog and ends with a dead boss, you know it's going to be one of those days. And breakfast TV reporter Cora Baxter has already had the weekend from hell, after the man she'd planned a fabulous future with unceremoniously dumped her. 

Now Cora's much-hated boss has been murdered - the list of suspects isn't exactly short, but as the enquiry continues the trail leads frighteningly close to home. Why is Cora's rival, glamorous, bitchy newsreader Alice Lomas, so devastated by their boss's death? What dark secrets are Cora's camera crew hiding? And why has her now ex-boyfriend vanished? 

The race to stop the killer striking again is on..."

When I received a copy of The Dead Dog Day I was immediately intrigued as to what this read would entail. It sounded like the perfect mix of rom-com and crime novel, and I'm pleased to say that's exactly what it was.

Cora Baxter works in TV as a reporter for a popular breakfast programme, which sees her traipsing up and down the country at an ungodly hour for different stories. I loved this insight into the TV world and found it so interesting... you can really tell Jackie has experience with this as it sounds so true to life. Cora is surrounded by a great crew who have become firm friends, and I loved the banter they shared, particularly with the camera crew when they are on location. They're a mixed bunch and their different personalities really compliment one another.

Things take a mysterious turn when the TV stations much-hated boss is murdered on one particularly stressful work day. Now, the start of this day is really funny and had me laughing out loud at the ludicrous requests of the director. It's no wonder she's so hated and that it's difficult to pinpoint who would want to kill her... as there's a long list! Once she's discovered dead, pushed out of a window, Cora and the rest of the crew begin to question things... who would actually act on their hatred in such a way? 

As ever in the world of TV, life moves on and Sam, Cora's best friend takes over the directing of the programme and the police come in to try and solve the murder. As a reader we follow Cora as she thrusts herself into her work, to not only avoid the murder of her boss, but also to avoid her rather messy personal life. She is a great main character and I loved watching her deal with the many difficult situations life throws at her. She is hard-working and supportive to her friends, whilst also dealing with the after-math of her break up.

She bumps into mega-famous TV star Benjamin Boland on a night out at a bar, and their initial meeting had me laughing out loud thanks to Cora's outgoing drunken comments. I liked watching their relationship develop throughout the story and really hoped she'd find happiness. Although Benjamin was a little self-absorbed for my liking, you can tell that in his own unusual way he really cared for Cora and I liked seeing her happy, although I wasn't convinced it would be a happy ever after.

While the murder is being investigated, handsome police officer DI Adam is in charge of the case. I developed a real soft spot for him as he was more wholesome than Benjamin and just an all round nice guy. I was willing for Cora to act on the spark between the two of them, as they had real chemistry, even when she was settled with Benjamin. I suppose this does highlight her slightly flitty personality - even when she's in a relationship with Benjamin she is thinking about DI Adam. She also gets with Benjamin pretty soon after her long-term relationship ends. I know this could be seen as a negative, but for me it was realistic, it shows her very real flaws and, I thought, was true to life.

The Dead Dog Day is mainly told  from Cora's viewpoint, although we do also delve into the mind of the killer on occasion. Hearing from the Killer built up suspense and always left you wanting more - questions were whirling in my mind after we'd heard from them and it was a great addition to the story. I kept changing my mind as to who the killer would be, but I never guessed who it actually was! It made for a great surprise and meant the suspense and build-up to the event was well worth it - especially when the identity of the killer was, for me, such a shocking twist!

The Dead Dog Day was an absorbing read that I raced through. It's one of those books that once you start it, you can't stop, so make sure you have a free afternoon to read this as you won't want to do anything else! This is Jackie Kabler's debut novel but it doesn't read like it - it's engaging, well written and a unique plot that I really, really enjoyed. There's a wonderful mixture of mystery, friendships (and ALOT of wine drinking!) dating and romance. I'd heartily recommend The Dead Dog Day to romance lovers wanting to delve into the crime genre as it is a wonderful blend of both. More writing please, Jackie!!

*A big thank you to Jackie Kabler and Accent Press for an advance copy of the story, in exchange for an honest review. 


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