Copyright: June 2011; 293 pages
Series: 2nd in the Portrait of Crime Mysteries
Mystery sub-genre: Private Detective, Paranormal
Main Characters: Rory (Aurora) McCain - a police sketch artist
Setting: Modern day, Suffolk County New York
Obtained Book Through: Publisher for honest review
Rory is now working full time as a private investigator. She is also adjusting to living with the ghost of 1878 Federal Marshal Ezekiel Drummond, aka Zeke. He is old fashioned, stubborn and cantankerous. Dogs and Ghosts don't get along well together so when a stray dog shows up at the house, Rory is quick to take it to the house listed on the tags. This good deed brings her to the murder of Brenda, the dog's just deceased owner. Brenda's other pet, a Maltese is missing. Hobo, the mixed breed, comes home with Rory which makes Zeke unhappy.
A friend of Brenda's hires Rory to investigate a rash of pure-bred dog thefts on the thought that Brenda died from a dog theft gone wrong. Rory will work the dog theft angle while the police work Brenda's death.
For the second book in the series the characters are developing nicely. I feel like I know Rory better after this book, and I am growing fond of her. Of course Ezekial Drummond is still a headstrong entity making her life difficult, but I really appreciate how we see them both trying to make their situation work. Hobo is a great addition to the cast and I already adore him.
Don't let the plot of finding dog-nappers fool you. Rory receives threats and one threat is carried out. There are some tense scenes and "whodunit" is not very cut and dry. This series is enjoyable for its engaging mystery and interesting characters with humor and a few twists. I was very tempted to list this as a cozy because it really is even though Rory is a PI.
One feature I liked in the first book continues in this one. Occasionally a chapter is devoted to Zeke's last investigation that got him killed. Rory is trying to help solve this for Zeke since his own unsolved murder appears to be keeping him here.
Often times a second book after a successful debut novel is hard to pull off. I am happy to report that I felt this book was a great follow up and definitely consider myself a fan now.