cover image Murder Unleashed: A Dead-End Job Mystery

Murder Unleashed: A Dead-End Job Mystery

Elaine Viets, . . NAL, $19.95 (262pp) ISBN 978-0-451-21840-7

Full of wry social commentary, Viets's fifth Dead-End Job mystery (after 2005's Just Murdered ) finds series heroine Helen Hawthorne, former St. Louis biz whiz, still on the lam and working off the books at a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., shop called Pampered Pets to avoid paying alimony to a philandering ex-husband. The murders of two Pampered Pets customers—Tammie Grimsby, an aging, sex-crazed trophy wife; and Willoughby Barclay, owner of Barkley, a "Labradoodle" who's the object of a custody dispute in an ugly divorce—sets Helen on the sleuthing trail. Viets wickedly explores the trendy and sometimes cruel fashion of using dogs as accessories and exuberantly depicts this elite pet world, which includes dueling dog groomers as well as murder suspects. A hurricane threat adds zest to the hunt for the killer. 5-city author tour. (May)