My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Unleashed is the first in the Sydney Rye novel series by Emily Kimelman. The story opens with a prologue hinting at how the life of protagonist, young directionless coffeehouse server, Joy Humbolt, takes a 90 degree turn and she becomes Sydney Rye. In this first book, New Yorker Joy loses her job and her (not great) boyfriend in 24 hours, but instead gains a huge dog, Blue. Encouraged by her neighbour to meet with a friend of a friend who is selling her dog-walking business, Joy is surprised to be gifted the business and by its owner, Charlene Miller’s, apparent desperation to give it up and get away from the city. When walking one of her new ‘clients’, Joy’s charge sniffs out the bloodied corpse – and detached toupee – of one of her other dog-owning customers. Disturbed by what she’s seen, perturbed by Charlene’s subsequent and sudden disappearance, and hassled by the detective in charge, Joy is determined to solve the mystery, but soon finds herself in dangerous waters.
Unleashed is a fun and witty mystery with a spirited and feisty lead character, elements of violence and some adult language and themes. Joy is dryly humorous and gutsy and the supporting characters are entertaining and well written. The mystery is complex and intriguing and there are a number of potential red herrings, in the form of a sexy mounted policeman, a gossiping clique of dog-walkers, a secretive, underground society and the local politicians. Emily Kimelman’s book is perfect for anyone who likes a kick-ass heroine with balls and attitude, is partial to some sassy lines and sexy interludes and it not bothered by a little bad language. I’ve already downloaded the next book, Death in the Dark, and am looking forward to see where Joy ends up next. For Readers’ Favorite.