Blurb: Introducing an animal-loving Gal Friday with a telepathic cat, a shapeshifting dog, and a ghost of a chance of solving supernatural crime…
Meet Deirdre “Foxtrot” Lancaster. Trusted employee of eccentric zillionairess Zelda Zoransky, Foxtrot manages a mansion, a private zoo, and anything else that strikes her boss’s fancy. Her job title is Administrative Assistant, but chaos handler would be more accurate. Especially after she glimpses a giant ghost-beast in Zelda’s pet cemetery. For some strange reason, Foxtrot is seeing animal spirits. And, ready or not, in this mystery from Dixie Lyle, the fur’s about to hit the fan…
Still reeling, Foxtrot comes home to find her cat Tango—her dead cat Tango—alive and well and communicating telepathically. But that’s not all: There’s an ectoplasmic dog named Tiny who changes breeds with a shake of his tail…and can sniff out a clue like nobody’s business. So when a coworker drops dead while organizing closets, Tiny is on the case. Can Foxtrot and her new companions ferret out the killer among a menagerie of suspects—human and otherwise—before death takes another bite?
My Review: The moment I first laid eyes on the cover of this book with the creepy house shrouded in fog and the cat in the graveyard, I was practically counting down the days until I could hold it in my hands. This is a paranormal cozy unlike anything you have ever read.
Deidre "Foxtrot" Lancaster is the Personal Assistant of eccentric billionaire Zelda Zoransky (ZZ). Foxtrot's favorite place to escape from the craziness of her workday is the pet graveyard on the property. Her life is forever changed when one day she spots a gigantic ghost/beast in the graveyard and then goes home to discover her dead cat Tango has returned (on her 7th life) and they are able to communicate telepathically. Furthermore, she is introduced to Tiny, a ghost dog with the ability to change breeds at will. They explain to her that she has been chosen as the "Guardian" of the graveyard...a murder is about to take place, and presumably ZZ will be the victim, as the death will put the graveyard in jeopardy. When a maid dies while organizing closets it's written off as a heart attack or stroke, but Foxtrot has to wonder if the maid was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and if ZZ may still be in mortal danger.
There is a poignancy to this mystery novel that is immediately apparent. The pet cemetery is actually a portal for deceased animals, obviously a take-off on the famous Rainbow Bridge story. At several points during the book various characters discuss the unbreakable bond between humans and their pets, some of which were real tear-jerkers. I really hope that in subsequent books we get to learn more of the back stories of the various animal spirits.
The human and animal characters are both well-developed and unique, from the zany ZZ to the snarky Tango. Tango and Tiny's interactions are absolutely hysterical. One of the most memorable characters was actually a real-life figure. Have you ever heard of Topsy the elephant? I never had and immediately sought out more information about her. The abused elephant was electrocuted in 1903 by Thomas Edison at Coney Island after she was deemed dangerous because she killed one of her tormentors. Her story is horrific yet fascinating, and her fictional interactions with Foxtrot are captivating.
This book is an intricately plotted mystery, but not so much as to distract it from being a real page-turner. I was completely stumped until the very end who the real killer was. If you love whodunits, the paranormal, animals, and especially well-written stories, I guarantee that you will love this book as much as I did. The crime-solving trio of Whiskey, Tango and Foxtrot has completely won this reader's heart and imagination.
Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher with the request for a review.