Thoughts on BENDING THE PAW

Hello, hello! I know it’s not the last Wednesday of the month, but St. Martin’s Press offered me access to Diane Kelly’s latest canine police procedural mystery, Bending the Paw and I couldn’t say no (I actually could say no, but I wanted to read it). It’s the ninth book in her Paw Enforcement series about a Fort Worth police officer and her K-9 partner. Publication isn’t until the 27th, but I was told an early review was fine. I received access to the ARC through NetGalley, so I must thank them as well as Sara Beth Haring at St. Martin’s Press for the chance to read it in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Let’s get to it!

Cute cover that actually has to do with the plot!

Bending the Paw follows Officer Megan Luz and her K-9 partner Brigit as they try to help detective Jackson solve what appears to be a grizzly murder. The problem? There’s no body, only ludicrous amounts of blood. Throw in an engagement and wedding prep, plus a hailstorm and the onslaught of both legitimate and scam artists roofers, and you’ve got everything you need to keep this pair busy.

I’ll say it. I knew what was going to happen from the first couple of pages. The whole main plot was fairly standard. However, the subplots with Megan’s engagement and the whole roofing company thing kept the story interesting even though they were pretty predictable as well. It might just be all of the stuff I read and watch, but it wasn’t hard to see where everything was going. But again, that didn’t make it any less enjoyable to read.

I don’t want to give everything away if you’re going to read it, so feel free to skip ahead to the end of the spoilers, which start now.

My biggest complaint with this book is that despite all of the tests they do on the blood, no blood thinners are detected. Blood coagulates! In order for it to be collected over a period of time, something has to keep it thin, especially in this instance. And I’m sure a seemingly legitimate excuse for the presence of blood thinners could have been devised by the “killers.” They seem smart enough for that.

No more spoilers.

Beyond that, I didn’t really have any major problems with the book. I love Brigit. Megan’s a little annoying with her whole making it known she’s a K-9 officer so she can take Brigit in restaurants and other places when she’s off duty, but other than that she’s an interesting character. Frankie and Seth seem cool, but I’ll have to go back and read the first eight books to get a better grasp of them. That being said, it’s fine starting at book nine. It works well as a standalone.

Just a cute pupper.

The writing was tight and fast-paced. Kelly does a wonderful job at giving you pertinent details from previous books to help make reading this one possible without having to start from book one. It’s a quick and fun read.

Ultimately, I really enjoyed Bending the Paw. In fact, I’ve added the first couple of books to my want-to-read list so I can pick them up soon. I might also check out some of Diane Kelly’s other series.

starstarstarstarstar outline

Overall, I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. Probably closer to 3.5, but that’s just because I figured it out so early. If you want a quick, fun read, you should check it out.

An Art & Words Show

Hi all!  This past Saturday (Sept. 26th), my dad and I ventured out to Fort Worth to attend the opening of Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam’s Art & Words Show.  It was the fourth annual show and the third year that I have attended, so I decided that I wanted to share my experience with all of you.

043
Bonnie reading for one of the authors who couldn’t be there.

I met Bonnie at Stonecoast.  She graduated in July 2013, so we didn’t have much time to get to know each other very well, but she was the first fellow Texan I found in the program.  When I learned about her Art & Words Show, I had to check it out.  What is an Art & Words Show, you ask?  Well, Bonnie takes submissions from both writers and visual artists (submissions usually open around March if you’re interested), then she chooses roughly 10 written pieces and an equal number of artworks.  At that point, there’s a selection process where the writers choose a piece of art and the artists choose a story or poem, which they then have to interpret (authors write a story/poem based on the art and vice versa for the artists).

Where is the show held, you might be wondering.  It’s held at Art on the Boulevard in Fort Worth on Camp Bowie Blvd (check the website for the full address).  The show runs for about a week, so if you’re in the area and have some free time between now and Saturday (Oct. 3rd), check it out!

11160623_968687293154939_2336343179193231458_o
Borrowed from their Facebook page.

As someone who loves ekphrastic writing, this whole project intrigued me from the beginning.  I haven’t had a piece featured yet, but I have submitted in the past and plan to submit next year.  It’s like any other project writers submit to, there’s a good chance of rejection, but you have to try.  I actually didn’t have anything to submit this past year, so I volunteered to work behind the scenes (yes, I was a slush reader).  It actually gave me a little perspective on the whole rejection thing.  Narrowing down the submissions (most of which were really good), not to mention picking just 10, is quite a task.  If you ever get the chance to be a slush reader for anything, do it.  It gives you a new appreciation for rejection.

029
Sean R. Robinson reading.

040
Karen Bovenmyer reading.

Anyway, on opening night, Bonnie holds a small reception where she invites the writers to read.  A lot of the local artists tend to show up as well.  It’s a lovely experience.  My only complaint is the lack of accessibility (there are no curb cuts or ramps near the place and there are steps between the nearest ramp and the shop), which I fully blame the city of Fort Worth for.  For a place that’s commonly on top 10 lists for accommodations and accessibility, I expected more.  Step up your game, Fort Worth!  Aside from my issues with the location, the show itself is wonderful and I fully encourage both writers and visual artists to submit next year.

Until next time (which will finally be a food review)!