Archive for August 18, 2015

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Hair Of The Dog

A Dan Mahoney Mystery

by Susan Slater


Genre: Mystery
Published by: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: July 7, 2015
Number of Pages: 240
ISBN: 978-1-4642-0420-3
Purchase Links:


My Review

It’s supposed to be kind of their practice honeymoon. Soon to be married, Dan entices his fiancee Elaine to spend some time with him in tropical Florida. He works an an investigator for United Life and Casualty. They have a case he needs to check out. Five prized dogs were lost in a fire at the Greyhound Racing Park. Things look all in order and Dan can steal some quality time with Elaine. Should be an easy wrap.

That is until Elaine stumbles upon a stray dog while taking a walk and the dog has a clue in it’s mouth.

I was drawn to this book because of the Greyhound racing. I live in Alabama and we don’t have horse racing, which I love. I was introduced to the Mobile Greyhound Racing Club and found it just as fun and exciting. I was an amateur and chose my bets by catchy names for the dogs. Never did win much but I loved watching those elegant, sleek dogs chase that rabbit.

I did enjoy the characters. Each had their own mysteries. Dan had to determine if the insurance company should pay off on the fire and the lost greyhounds. Elaine was getting her P.I. license and working a case for her mother-in law, Maggie. And Maggie was worried that her new fiance, Stanley, might be someone other than he who says he is.

In an area renowned for ex mobsters provided with new identities from the witness protection agency, who knows who Stanley really is. About to uproot herself and move to Palm Beach, Maggie wants to make sure she doesn’t have a rotten apple from the barrel.

And lets not forget Fucher. What a sweetie. He’s a bit slow but loves the dogs and taking care of them, especially his beloved Sadie. An employee at the track, he’s the perfect patsy for the cops to arrest. It’s not just arson either. Kennel owner, Jackson Sanchez, was found stabbed to death with the word thief carved into his forehead. Could Fucher have done it? He recently came into a lot of money and perhaps he loaned some to Jackson , and he wasn’t paying it back?

The police believe they have their man and are content to look no further.

Mystery upon mystery, the plot is afoot. I was kept on my toes, for sure. The author had me going in circles and, until the smoke cleared, I had no idea who the true culprit or culprits were.

I chased that rabbit and got my reward.

4 Stars



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.

Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads


Read an excerpt:


Morning. The gold-orange glow shimmered in the narrow window high above him barely illuminating the computers and file cabinets. He turned over and rubbed his right hip bone. Musta slept on that spring poking up through the cotton batting. Cheap mattress, cheap cot, but when he was working with the dogs late, he could sleep in the office—didn’t have to travel ten miles to get home. On his bicycle. If his mother had taught him one thing, it was not to look the gift horse in the mouth and to thank the Lord for small favors. All in all, he didn’t have no regrets.

He could hear the dogs. Mostly barking but there were a couple howlers out there. And it was breakfast time. They never waited much past sunrise to let him know they were expecting a bowl of raw meat and kibble. These dogs were as precious as race horses, even if they only chased a mechanical rabbit a couple times a week. He swung his legs over the cot’s side and sat up, taking a deep breath. Acrid smoke settled around his head and the deep breath sent him to his knees in a spasm of coughing. Fire. Oh, God, help him. He had to get the dogs out. The barking was at a fever pitch now. Had the fire reached the kennels? He grabbed his pillow and pressed it to his nose and mouth. Better. He could take them to the turnout. That area of scruffy grass where potential bettors could size up the day’s might-be stars. No time for muzzles. Bites would be the least of his worries about now.
He moved the pillow away from his mouth, “Sadie? Come here, girl.” She never left his side that sleek, brown-eyed silver greyhound. Knew without words that he’d saved her life some four years back. Slept with him curled into a ball at the foot of the cot. Shared his lunch and dinner. She was a real pushover for shrimp fried rice and pot stickers. Frantically he tried to see in the haze. The office door was open. That was odd. Could he have forgotten to latch it? Oh well, he’d find her outside in the hall or maybe in the kennel. She wouldn’t be far.

But he couldn’t go out in his skivvies. He put the pillow down and pulled on overalls, no time for a shirt or shoes and, bending low, pillow again over his mouth and nose, with eyes squinted almost shut, he sprinted for the door. And went sprawling. Through the doorway, crashing with a thud on one knee, slamming head-first onto the tile, shoulder scraping against the doorjamb, propelled forward, splayed out on all fours. And all because he caught his foot on … on … on a body. He pushed up, sitting back hard on his haunches, then bolted upright, heart pounding, slipping in the blood pooling beside the inert man dressed in Levis and plaid shirt, lying facedown, but with a knife handle sticking straight up out of his back. He couldn’t stop his hands from shaking. He backed up against the wall knowing the keening sounds were his, a low-pitched wail that rose in intensity. Help me. God and my mama, help me.
The smoke was thick now. He had to do something. He bent over, dropped to all fours, grasped the knife handle and closed his eyes. The jerk threw him backwards as the knife slipped out easily and clattered across the tile. It was out, but he knew it wouldn’t matter none to the man on the floor. He was dead. Absolutely, totally not getting up anytime soon. He knelt beside the body and leaning across it firmly put his left hand on the shoulder opposite, and right hand around the man’s upper arm and pulled. The man flopped over against his thigh, then slipped down leaving a smear of red and settled into the pooled blood. “Jackson?”

He stared down at the biggest kennel owner at the Daytona track. But no time to wonder about what had happened, that fire wasn’t slowing down. Smoke billowed thick above his head. He grabbed up the pillow, and squinting into the acrid gray cloud, raced along the corridor to the room of large metal crates lining every wall, each holding a dog. Much less smoke back here. He tossed the pillow aside and set to work. He started with the crates closest to the hall. He twisted handles and jerked doors open as fast as he could, stopping only to cross the hall and throw wide the double doors to the outside.

Dogs pushed against him, jostling to enter the run that emptied into the observation and exercise area. Fifty dogs. All being held over for Thursday’s races, with a hundred more arriving that morning. They had sent a whole bunch for training earlier that evening. And now the transport carrying the new racers was due at nine. Thank the Lord they hadn’t gotten here yet. He needed to make sure the dogs still kenneled at the track were all accounted for. But no counting now. He’d save that for later; he needed to keep going. He didn’t stop until the last crate had been opened and the last greyhound had bolted for what they thought might be freedom. But had he gotten everyone out the exit? Dogs were everywhere, and the smoke wasn’t clearing. Thin tendrils hung in the air.
Only one thing to do. He grabbed two packages of stew meat from a fridge in the hall and waved handfuls above his head to get the attention of the errant few still circling frantically. He led them through the exit to safety, slamming the door behind him.

Still, no Sadie. He yelled her name but doubted she could hear over the raucous, panicked dogs. Had she run with the pack and was already safely out in the chain-link enclosure? He could have easily missed her in all the confusion. Maybe she was fighting over turf or circling the fence looking for him right now. The smoke was thinner outdoors, but behind him, the office was engulfed in flames. No time to check now. She’d wait for him. She wouldn’t run away.

The body. Oh no. He’d forgotten. He wasn’t thinking straight. He should have pulled it out of the doorway. He couldn’t just leave it to burn. Dead or not, that wasn’t showing respect to the family. He knew Jackson had a mother. You could find her every Wednesday when the programs were free, putting down a big chunk of her Social Security check at a betting window. He had to give Jackson back to his mama.

He started to run. The closer to the office, the thicker the smoke. He dropped to all fours and crawled forward. He stopped. Had he passed the office? No. He was in front of the door. There was the blood spot darker now around the edges. But no body. Jackson was gone. Maybe he’d been wrong about him being dead; maybe Jackson had crawled away. And he took his knife with him. There wasn’t any knife where it used to be. That was a puzzle. What if the body had been a dream?
He could hear sirens, trucks turning in from South Williamson Road. Tendrils of fire now licked out of the office coming way too close to his clothing. No more wondering, he needed to leave. He crawled backwards and then stood and ran toward the dogs. He needed to do a count and find Sadie and then feed the dogs their breakfast. He’d grab some muzzles—he hoped there hadn’t already been fights. Funny how some dogs were just jealous and needed to have their way. He’d bet old Pete had already put the chomp on somebody. Sadie’d be smart. She’d stay out of the way. He tried to whistle for her but there was too much noise. She’d never be able to hear him.



Author Bio

authorSusan 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.

Catch Up:
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Adopt a Greyhound! Check out A Ticket Home by clicking on the image below. Aren’t they precious!

With short racing careers, these beautiful dogs need some TLC when the dust settles.


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This is a giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Susan Slater & Poisoned Pen Press. There will be one US winner of 1 Box of Poisoned Pen Press books including Hair of the Dog by Susan Slater. The giveaway begins on August 1st, 2015 and runs through August 31st, 2015.

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm.


Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page.
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My Teaser for this week is from

Ghosts Among Men

A Samantha Davidson Novella

by Laura Del



My Teaser from 18% in the eBook.

“Would you please go away,” I almost begged her. Even for a dead person she was annoying.

Fine. But remember – “

“You’ll be back,” I finished. “I get it.”


My Review

You’d think being able to see and talk to ghosts would be a handy thing if you’re a private investigator. But that doesn’t help Samantha Davidson.

Samantha is working a murder case with her assistant, Mark, and homicide detective, Lance MacDowell. She sees and interviews the murdered girl, Allison.  The problem is, Allison can’t remember what happened to her, who killed her.

Samantha has solved all twenty of her cases so far, from helping loved ones connect to catching adulterers. Not bad for only a year as a P.I. But this case could threaten that record.

Life gets complicated for Samantha. Things aren’t what they appear in this case. Lots of secrets. Lots of money. Lots of ghosts. And she’s trying to have a love life too, crushing on her sexy office manager, Mark.  Hey, a girl’s gotta try.

I’d call this a dark comedy mystery. Heavy on chuckles and mystery.

There’s a scene where Samantha is having dinner with the parents of Allison, the murdered girl. The father doesn’t want his wife to know he’s hired a private investigator, especially one who communicates with ghosts, so Sam poses as the dead girls friend.

Try to picture Sam, struggling to ignore Allison as the ghost butts into every conversation. It’s almost impossible not to blow her cover. Allison is a sassy lass and loves toying with her.

There’s a dark side too. Things got creepy while reading a scene where Sam is dreaming. In her dream, she’s Allison and reliving what happened the night she was murdered. Such an ugly betrayal.

I was surprised by how quickly I came to know the characters in this story. This isn’t a long book, but I easily connected to and liked many of them. They were easy to visualize, even the stereotypical jerks.

And the ending was something else. Bazinga was the first thing that popped into my head when the case unfolded.

I’d recommend this to mystery and paranormal lovers. It’s fast, fun, and you’ll want more.

5 Stars



Samantha Davidson sees ghosts for a living. More specifically, she sees ghosts as a private investigator, working alongside the Chicago Police Department to put away killers and put troubled spirits to rest.

When the daughter of one of Chicago’s wealthiest families turns up dead, Samantha and her assistant Mark team up with homicide detective Lance MacDowell to get to the bottom of the crime.

Allison Allen is tall, blonde, beautiful–and very much dead. As Samantha interviews the girl, who doesn’t remember anything about the circumstances of her own murder, it’s clear that there’s more going on behind the walls of this manicured home than anyone wants to let on—and that Samantha has her work cut out for her this time.

Juggling her own love life, tracking down troubled spirits, and evading attempts to thwart her investigation keeps Samantha on her toes. Good thing Samantha knows how to keep her eyes open, her wits about her, and her sense of humor.

A paranormal mystery that is both dark and funny, Ghosts Among Men will cause chills to run down your back even while you’re laughing out loud at the lovable, strong, and supernaturally sighted private investigator Samantha Davidson.


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How about you? Got a tease? Tell me!

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