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Book Review: Wrong Side of the Paw by Laurie Cass


After returning to this series following a long lull, I had hoped that by now, every page would be the proverbial page turner. It has been, but only to see how many pages I have left.

This installment starts out pretty good, with bookmobile librarian Minnie Hamilton, her cat Eddie and assistant Julia helping the residents of Tonedagana County in northwest lower Michigan. But on this early autumn day, Eddie manages to escape from the bookmobile after Leese Lacombe pulls up.

Eddie hops into the back of Leese's borrowed truck and as Minnie retrieves the cat, she sees a pair of blue eyes staring back her under a tarp. The victim, Leese's father Dale is as dead as a doornail.

Leese is taken into custody as the elder lawyer protests that she was only borrowing Dale's truck while her car was being repaired.

With the colder weather soon to arrive, Minnie begins to plan her move back to her Aunt Frances' boardinghouse (earlier than expected) and trudges through the days when she's working at the library since new director Jennifer isn't people friendly.

Plus, Minnie begins to doubt her relationship with her detective in training boyfriend, Ash, since there isn't the passion that she was hoping for. However, she's happy that her betrothed aunt isn't rushing into marriage, but she is concerned because she's debating whether or not to sell the boardinghouse, which has become an institution.

As a builder/contractor, Minnie finds out that Dale wasn't well liked and learns that while in college, her friend Rafe was an employee and had threatened Dale, but Minnie takes it seriously.

She also learns that Leese's stepsister, Mia has confessed to Dale's murder and her stepbrother Brad, a one-time employee also, has lost his job at a local brewery since the beer was tampered with causing a few people to get sick. Mia also loses her job at a major computer company and since Leese has come back to Chilson and started her own firm, her small assortment of clients have decided to go elsewhere for their elder law care advice.

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As the story continues, the weather changes and after the region is hit with a few inches of snow, Jennifer asks where all of the people are, and Minnie explains that Chilson's a tourist town and the crowds won't be back until the spring.

With this in mind, Jennifer decides to quit since she didn't know it would snow and really, when people go out of town, do they actually visit a library? I think if it's a famous library then yes, people would visit it, but the Chilson library? Not so much.

While the book for a change doesn't have any grammatical errors, I was confused a lot with the time passages. One day it's September, the next October and because the chapters are sooooo long, half the time I wasn't committed to the book.

I think the problem is Cass wants to give as much information as possible, but it takes away from the story. Plus, there are too many very minor characters once again who have a backstory that's unnecessary. As an example, there's a ghost couple that's talked about, she meets their neighbors in Grand Rapids (who has a backstory) and that's about it.

For the majority of the book, I was reediting it my mind and kept telling myself, "Get rid of this, etc." which made my mind drift farther away.

Cass isn't a bad writer, and this series really shouldn't be in the crimozy family. Take out the murders and you'd have a different type of story. And really, half the time, it's the other story that should be written.

It seems like there's a lot of pressure to start the "mystery" portion which makes it even more confusing.

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