Review: Dog’s Don’t Lie {Pru Marlowe Pet Noir #1} by Clea Simon

Title: Dog’s Don’t Lie {Pru Marlowe Pet Noir #1}

Author: Clea Simon

Published: Poisoned Press April 2011 {ARC courtesy NetGalley}

Sypnosis: Pru Marlowe isn’t your ordinary animal psychic. A tough girl on the  run from her own gift, Pru left the big city to return to her   picturesque Berkshires hometown looking for a little peace. Too bad   that her training as an animal behaviorist got her mixed up with  Lily, a rescue dog, and Charles, her person. Now Charles is dead, and   Lily looks good for it.

Status: Read from April 03 to 05, 2011 — I own a copy

My Thoughts:

Dog’s Don’t Lie wasn’t the lighthearted paranormal mystery I was expecting. The first in a new series, Simon introduces Pru Marlowe, who develops a psychic sensitivity to animals after a physical collapse, just weeks shy of graduating as an animal behavourist. Overwhelmed, Pru returns to her hometown, ostensibly to care for her ailing mother, but desperately needing to adjust to her new ability. With her mother’s death, Pru decides to put her training to use and is hired by Charles to train the traumatised pitbull he has rescued from a dog fighting ring. When Charles is discovered with his throat torn out, Pru is determined to prove that Tetris/Lily is innocent, drawing her a murder investigation where she is both a suspect and potentially the next victim.
The story has a noir edge that is a little dark and subdued. Simon has an unsentimental style of writing, the prose is lean and the tone is deliberate. The mystery is well thought out with multiple suspects, but I thought the pace was a bit slow, particularly given that the novel is on the short side, and the plot didn’t really gain momentum until the second half of the book.
Simon develops believable motivation for her characters actions but with only Pru’s narrow perspective it’s hard to develop a rounded sense of them.  I am personally uncomfortable with the first person point of view, and I found it difficult to relate to Pru because of it, yet I found her character intriguing. She is genuinely struggling with returning home, establishing her credibility and accepting her ability which I respect but she takes herself quite seriously and I thought she could have benefited with from a bit more warmth in her personality.
I thought Simon portrayed Pru’s interaction with the animals in a fascinating manner, particularly as Pru considers the accuracy of her translations. Simon shares an unique perspective of the animal’s thoughts and impressions. The animals in the story have their own personalities but are not anthropomorphosised, only Wallis is capable of cogent thought but she also has the aloof attitude ascribed to her species. Lily’s communication with Pru is less intentional and while other animals such as the kitten, Floyd and Frank the ferret can share images and sensations their vocabulary is limited.
Dog’s Don’t Lie is an original series debut, to be honest I’m not sure if I will follow up on it, but I think it will find a place with mystery readers looking for something unusual to peruse



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Clea Simon
    Apr 06, 2011 @ 14:45:36

    Thanks for an interesting and thoughtful review. You got what I was trying for (though I’m sorry you found the opening slow!). Pru is a chilly character. The arc of the series may see her warming up a bit, but… she’s got issues. As does Wallis. Hope you give book #2, “Cats Can’t Shoot,” a shot.
    – Clea Simon



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