Barking Up the Wrong Bakery by Stella St. Claire opens with us witnessing a murder. The only problem is that we don’t get to see who commits it. Olivia, a professional dog walker in the small town of Lexinberg, comes upon the body of Yvette inside the food truck Yvette runs, and immediately Olivia is certain that someone has murdered Yvette. Against the advice of her boyfriend, Andrew, and her sister, Janelle, Olivia gets involved in investigating on her own. In the meantime she can see that Andrew has been trying to propose to her, and the commitment scares her.
This book contains a search into the mystery, all while following the lives of the individuals in the story. Everyone tries to discourage Olivia from putting herself in harm’s way to investigate the case, and she does make an effort at times, but the case keeps falling into her lap. The dogs help her as well.
We have fun seeing the dogs Olivia walks in the book, but I wish it gave more descriptions of the dogs. Since her own dog, Goodwin, a rescue dog, features so significantly in the book, I wanted to know at least what breed and size Goodwin is, as well as the other dogs Olivia walks. I didn’t learn until the end of the book that he is part mastiff, part wolfhound, and part lab, very different than I had pictured Olivia’s special friend.
The people characters hold a degree of interest, but Olivia’s obsession with trying to prevent Andrew from proposing to her gets a little tiring at times, and she also exhibits fear of committing to purchasing the building her sister has been renting for her bakery. But aside from Olivia and Andrew, who come across ad real people, only Janelle has a semi- round character. I did appreciate the ending, which was entirely logical without giving away the ending in advance.
Machelle Williams performs the audio edition of this book. It took me time to get comfortable with her narration. She almost sounded like she was reading to children. The book begins some chapters by sharing part of the midst mystery audiobook that Olivia is listening to, but on audio, this proves confusing, as it was hard to make it obvious when she was reading from the novel within the novel and when Williams reads the main text.
One of the best quotes about an audiobook came in this book:
“You almost die, and the only thing thday concerns you is that you couldn’t finish your book?!?” I really laughed at how realistic that line was for so many of us.
Barking Up the Wrong Bakery has promise, but I did not find it gripping. It also needed more work from an editor, a problem that usually gets addressed before a book gets to audio form. Sometimes it would call Olivia Rose, the name of her audiobook heroine, and it also mixed up some other names, creating some confusion. I give the book three stars.
Disclaimer: I received this audiobook for free from the author. That in no way affected my review.
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