I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
People stumbled over their words. They blundered when it came to their feelings. Dogs always knew what to do. She could always count on a dog.
Jazz is an administrative assistant at an all girl's Catholic High School and trains cadaver dogs on the side. When helping to train a friend's dog, they actually end up finding a real human body. When Jazz realizes that she knew the girl murdered, she sets out to find who could have possibly done this.
This is first in a series that doesn't have a cliffhanger ending but will obviously continue following our central character Jazz. The story is told from her point of view and we are introduced to her detective ex-boyfriend Nick, along with her colleague best-friend, brothers, fellow cadaver dog handlers, and mother. Jazz's father died in a fire a year ago, she's dealing with the grief, along with the loss of her dog Manny, and lingering attraction to Nick.
Even with Jazz vaguely remembering Flori (the murder victim) from her going to the school Jazz works at, it seemed a bit of a stretch as to why she was going around trying to conduct her own investigation. There were even a couple of times that she tampered or withheld evidence that could have ruined Nick's investigation. The murder mystery itself threw out enough red-herrings to be interesting but some misleads ended up feeling very contrived.
“Damn.” One corner of his mouth thinned and he shook his head and followed her up the stairs. “Come on, Jazz. What we had, was it that bad?”
When she turned the key and shoved the door open, her smile was hard-edged. “ Even after all this time, you haven’t figured it out yet, have you? And I thought you were a smart guy. Don’t you get it, Nick? It wasn’t that bad. It was that good.”
The romance takes a big backseat to Jazz trying to figure out who killed Flori, Nick only appears a handful of times. We don't get any flashbacks to when they were in a relationship, it's discussed how it ended because of how their schedules never worked out. The author leaves some hope for them to get together again and the relationship will obviously be progressed further in the next book. There is some background given on Nick but his character isn't really felt, I never felt like I knew him. With this being all from Jazz's point of view, she obviously dominates and for the most part was a strong enough character to control the story, her motivations were sometimes a bit weak.
Jazz's involvement in trying to catch Flori's murderer was somewhat shaky but the mystery was stirring enough to keep me reading. The romance between her and Nick was extremely anemic and more of a tease to lead you to read the next to see if they can make time for each other. Jazz's world was sketched out enough to set a solid foundation for the series, I would have liked even more of her side job with working with cadaver dogs. This was a fair starter book to a series, hoping the next in the series colors in the sketching.