Book Review: To Catch a Treat

To Catch a Treat Book Cover To Catch a Treat
Linda O Johnston
Mystery, Cozy Mystery
Midnight Ink
May 8th 2016

Carrie Kennersly, veterinary technician and owner of the Barkery and Biscuits bake shop, agrees to a day of hiking with her brother Neal mostly because she wants to meet—and critique—his latest romantic interest, Janelle Blaystone. But instead of judgment, Carrie has only sympathy for Janelle, whose beloved black Labrador, Go, was recently dognapped along with many other purebred pets.

Janelle thinks the culprit is Ada Arnist, a wealthy homeowner spotted at the dog parks where Go and the others were stolen. Soon after Janelle confronts her, though, Ada is found dead. With Janelle and Neal on the suspect list, Carrie must solve the mystery before the police bark up the wrong tree.

my Review

I’m a big fan of cozy mysteries. Agatha Christie, the queen of the cozy mystery, is one of my all time favorite authors. I also love dogs, which you probably know if you watch my videos. So when I saw “To Catch a Treat” pop up on NetGalley, I thought it would be a great palate cleanser after all the intense history books I’ve finished lately. Sadly, this book did nothing but annoy me.

The story? Let me save you a few hours; Leading lady, Carrie, meets brother’s new fling, who recently had her dog stolen. Carrie accidentally saves the day, this leads to a murder, 200 pages of nothing, then Carrie accidentally saves the day again and the story is resolved. The End. Yeah.
It really feels like Carrie doesn’t do much in this story in relation to the mystery. She leads someone somewhere once and follows someone twice. That’s it. The rest of the book consists of Carrie juggling two (three? Since one is two businesses?) jobs, wandering around meeting people (mostly men, but I’ll get to that), and her kinda-sorta-but-not-really-relationship with her boss. It’s those last two that really annoyed the hell outta me.

Let’s take the “meeting people” one first. Carrie must be really insecure. Whenever a new female character is introduced, her weight/figure is mentioned within the first few lines. If I thought this book had that much depth, I would think that this book was trying to introduce some kind of mental issue with Carrie, ie “The Girl Who Works in a Bakery with an Eating Disorder”. But this book isn’t that deep and neither is Carrie. Now, the men. As I said, Carrie must be really insecure, because every time a man is introduced Carrie feels the need to narrate how he either a) is currently flirting with her/pursuing a relationship, b) has previously flirted/pursued a relationship, or c) might want to flirt with her/pursue a relationship and she doesn’t want him to. No joke. Every man, with the exception of one elderly married man, totally wants to hit dat, at least in Carrie’s mind. Trouble is, we rarely actually see evidence of it, leading me to believe that Carrie’s insecurities have led to delusional thinking. Or maybe it’s just poor writing.

Now, Carrie’s kinda-sorta-but-not-really-relationship with her boss, Reed (the only man in the book, by the way, who actually is interested in being in a relationship with Carrie, despite her delusions). This might be my own personal bugaboo hitting here, but the fact that Carrie seems to never want to acknowledge the fact that she is in a relationship with this man, really annoyed me. When the book started, it was (paraphrasing here, since I really don’t want to have to go back and read any of this book again) “he is a nice guy, but I’m not ready to commit cause there are other men who are pursuing me too”. Ok. Fine. No problem. I think these other men are all in Carrie’s mind, but whatever. But her mentality never changed…. She was never “in a relationship” with him, almost 300 pages later, despite several dates and even after she started sleeping with him (this book is very PG, so it’s never actually stated, but it’s very clear to anyone over the age of nine what is going on)! Come on, Carrie. Break out of your delusional thinking. There aren’t a bunch of other men who want you, just this one. I actually ended up feeling really bad for her boss/boyfriend, since it was clear she was going to make his life miserable with her insecurities (when the brother’s fling is introduced, Carrie immediately judges her looks and seems frightened that Reed is going to flirt with her). My piece of advice: Run, Reed, Run.

Ignoring the annoying lead character, this book still doesn’t have much going for it. There is no mystery to solve as you aren’t really given clues. It’s just 300 pages of being dragged along until the story ends. If you want a good cozy mystery, read Agatha Christie or Dorothy Sayers. Not even the dogs make this one redeemable.

**I received this copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review** Professional Reader

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