Book Review: Hair of the Dog by Susan Slater

Hair of the DogHair of the Dog
A Dan Mahoney Mystery #3
Susan Slater
Poisoned Pen Press, July 2015
ISBN 978-1-4642-0418-0

From the publisher—

It sounds like some work and mostly play when United Life and Casualty sends its investigator Dan Mahoney to Florida. Five greyhounds—all heavily insured—were lost in a fire at the Daytona dog track.

So simple. Five dogs dead by smoke inhalation, bagged, tagged, and cremated. Papers all in order. Ashes in specialty urns on the desk of Dixie Halifax, track and casino co-owner. In jail, a young employee charged with arson to cover a murder he’s blamed for committing.

Then the body of kennel owner Jackson Sanchez is found face down in a pool of blood, a knife stuck in his back. But Sanchez didn’t die from a knife wound. Someone has carved “thief” on his forehead. The blood pooled underneath his body isn’t his. Should Dan be looking for a second corpse? And the one man who can answer questions, the track vet, dies in a motorcycle accident.

Working this case is not as complicated for Dan as having his mother Maggie move into the FBI’s favorite mob slob haven in nearby Palm Coast, while his fiancée Elaine Linden, on sabbatical, works on a PI license. Perfect—the FBI can set Maggie up to spy on her boyfriend who may be laundering cash in some geriatric mafia scheme in this follow-up to Flash Flood and Rollover.

Sometimes, the best part of reading is in re-discovering an old “friend” and that was certainly the case for me with Hair of the Dog. I first encountered author Susan Slater and her protagonist, Dan Mahoney, almost 13 years ago with Flash Flood and liked it very much but then it seemed Ms. Slater sort of vanished (and, in fact, she sort of did for a long time). I had found her other series featuring Ben Pecos but it was Dan Mahoney I really wanted to see again.

In 2014, his second adventure showed up in Rollover but I just plain missed it so when I heard about Hair of the Dog I was immensely excited and still am, even though I now need to go find Rollover so I can catch up on all Dan’s doings. This third book was a nice re-entry for me because I found the whole concept of murder and mayhem in the dog racing world to be not only very interesting but also a good way for people to learn a little about these wonderful dogs. Yes, it’s sad to read about the deaths that bring Dan to Florida but readers can be assured that Ms. Slater and, by extension, Dan, treat the subject with compassion and sensitivity. It doesn’t hurt that a delightful greyhound named Sadie captured my heart.

This is a mystery so, of course, there are crimes against humans and both humans and greyhounds keep Dan busy and on the alert. Meanwhile, Dan’s fiancee, Elaine, falls for sweet Sadie—who wouldn’t?—and uses her private-investigator-in-training skills to help Dan get to the bottom of things.

Now that Susan Slater is back in my book world, I’ll be looking for much more but, while I wait, I’ll be looking into A Ticket Home, a suggestion from the author for supporting retired greyhounds. I can’t think of a better way to conclude this particular adventure.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2015.



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About the Author

Susan SlaterSusan is the author of the Ben Pecos series (Pumpkin Seed Massacre, A Way to the Manger, Yellow Lies and Thunderbird), a stand-alone (Five O’clock Shadow), a women’s fiction novel (0 to 60), a para-normal short story in Rod Serling’s commemorative Twilight Zone Anthology (Eye for an Eye), and the Dan Mahoney series. Susan lives on the Atlantic coast and writes full-time.

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