CHOW DOWN by Laurien Berenson


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A breeder gets wound up tighter than her poodle’s topknot when murder disrupts six pooches’ bids to become top dog in a kibble contest.

Melanie Travis (Hot Dog, 2002, etc.) is shocked at the letter from Champions Dog Food congratulating her on her prizewinning standard poodle Faith’s selection as finalist in their “All Dogs are Champions” contest—until she learns that her nine-year-old son Davey, bored with waiting for Mel and her hunky new husband Sam to produce a sibling for him to play with, filled out the online application himself. And once Doug Allen, Champions’ VP of marketing, reminds her that the application is a binding contract to compete, Faith must join energetic Bill and Allison Redding’s spaniel,Ginger; washed-up soap star Ben O’Donnell’s boxer, Brando; formidable dowager Dorothy Foyle’s Scottish terrier, MacDuff; and Larry and Lisa Kim’s Yorkie, Yoda, in a series of increasingly outlandish publicity stunts cooked up by Champions’ PR director Simone Dorsey and ad director Chris Hovick. As the contestants develop questionable alliances with each other and with the Champions staff, the whirl of receptions and public appearances leaves Melanie barely enough time to show Eve, Faith’s offspring, in the final competition of her championship, and even less to hunt for clues when Larry Kim is killed in a fall and Lisa mysteriously disappears.

Although there’s some question as to who’ll become the Champions spokesdog, Melanie’s success in solving the murder is never in doubt.

Pub Date: Sept. 6th, 2006
ISBN: 0-7582-0815-4
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Kensington
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2006


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