The Dog Park Club

Cynthia Robinson, Author
Cynthia Robinson, Author . Minotaur $24.99 (295p) ISBN 978-0-312-55973-1
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Robinson's debut may disappoint those expecting a lighthearted, pet-themed cozy. Max Bravo, a wise-cracking gay opera singer, and his best friend, advertising whiz Claudia Fantini, who's heartbroken that her husband wants a divorce, find solace taking the husband's dog, Asta, to a Berkeley, Calif., dog park. There Claudia and Max hang out with a variety of fellow dog lovers, including a “hoary-headed Vietnam vet,” a “sartorially offensive” software engineer from Barcelona, and bank loan officer Amy Carter, who's pregnant. After the popular Amy vanishes and the police fail to find her, Max and company, including Max's visiting German boyfriend, investigate, staking out Amy's house because they suspect her husband has killed her. An uncertain blend of mystery, humor, and the paranormal, this first in a projected series builds to a downer of an ending. Robinson has style, but she needs to settle on a more consistent tone in the sequel. (July)

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