Death by Dog by Aya Walksfar

Death by Dog

From the "Special Crimes Team" series, volume 5
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The Special Crimes Team must crack a new case that soon leads to murder in this fifth installment of a series.

Walksfar (Beyond the Silence, 2016, etc.) continues chronicling the adventures of the Special Crimes Team through the story of heroine Sgt. Nita Slowater. In the previous novel in the series, Nita and her partner, intrepid reporter Dawn Samira, survived a deadly arson attack on their home in Seattle. Now, the two have moved back into their repaired house, and Nita and the other members of the crime team take on a new case when a teenage informant stumbles on a dogfighting ring. Dawn, who works for the Seattle Times, assembles a group of street teens to try to investigate the ring (“Those kids can go places and they know people that are off limits to any cop, including you, Nita”). Meanwhile, Nita and the others on her team, including her boss, Lt. Michael Williams, and computer guru Ronald Arneau, zero in on the perpetrators, who may be involved in other criminal activities, including drug trafficking and gambling. But the case gets deadlier when people who owned or purchased fighting dogs suddenly start turning up dead. When team members find themselves in danger, Nita, Dawn, and the rest of the gang must work fast to save their own lives. Walksfar has molded an enjoyable narrative here (if anything that focuses on the gruesome crime of dogfighting can be pleasurable). She crafts a story that is complicated without being incoherent, and she peppers the tale with superb, specific details about Seattle. She also focuses the novel on fully fleshed-out, complex characters. Dawn and Nita especially are captivating heroines; as a three-dimensional couple, with individual flaws but ultimately a deep love for each other, they are refreshingly realistic and give the narrative emotional substance. Not all the characters are so fully drawn, especially when it comes to the bad guys; there are too many villains who walk around spouting lines like “What the hell do you want? This is private property.” The novel also draws on elements of the previous books in the series; there are a few subplots, such as Nita’s wrestling with her Native American heritage, that are more developed in other volumes. Still, readers should be able to savor this tale on its own.

An engaging thriller about dogfighting that features two appealing heroines.

Pub Date: April 3rd, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-5237-5787-9
Page count: 394pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2016


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