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Saturday, April 04, 2020

Second Installment of Cadaver Dog Mystery Series Not Quite As Enjoyable As First

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note:  Although this review will not contain spoilers for The Secrets of Bones, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from its predecessor, The Scent of Murder.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

Although Jazz Ramsey makes her living as an administrative assistant at St. Catherine's Preparatory Academy for Girls, her real passion is training cadaver dogs.  As the school embarks on its annual career day, in which local women visit campus to teach the students about their jobs, Jazz is asked to showcase her work with the animals.  To give the girls an exciting demo, she hides a bone in an unused attic space.  Her audience is delighted when Gus finds it easily; they're all shocked, however, when he scents human remains that were not hidden by Jazz.  When a skeleton is recovered from its hiding place in the attic, Jazz gets an even bigger surprise—the bones appear to belong to a fanatical religion teacher who mysteriously resigned from her job three years ago.  

Bernadette Quinn was almost universally disliked by St. Catherine's student body, administration, and presumably everyone who knew her.  Still, who would murder the pious teacher?  When the police zero in on Sister Eileen, Jazz refuses to stand by and let her beloved boss's name get dragged through the mud.  If the authorities are too inept to find the real killer, she'll launch her own investigation.  The more she digs, the closer Jazz gets to shocking secrets someone doesn't want revealed.  It soon becomes obvious that someone will stop at nothing to stop her from digging.  Can Jazz find the murderer before she becomes the next victim?

I enjoyed The Scent of Murder, the first installment in Kylie Logan's Jazz Ramsey mystery series, so I was eager to read the second, The Secrets of Bones (available May 5, 2020).  While I ended up enjoying the former more than the latter, I still found The Secrets of Bones to be intriguing and entertaining.  Jazz is a likable character, as are her canine companions.  It's always interesting to see working dogs in action; in fact, I wanted more of that in this installment.  As far as the mystery goes, I saw some of the plot twists coming, but not all of them.  There were a few plot holes that didn't get tied up satisfactorily to me.  In addition, I wanted more personality from Nick, Jazz's love interest.  Overall, then, I didn't love The Secrets of Bones.  Still, it was engaging and entertaining enough to convince me to keep with the series.  I just hope the next installment is a little tighter, with a stronger emphasis on Jazz's work as a cadaver dog trainer.

(Readalikes:  The Scent of Murder by Kylie Logan; also reminds me of A Borrowing of Bones by Paula Munier)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (no F-bombs), violence, innuendo, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of The Secrets of Bones from the lovely folks at Macmillan via those at Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!


  1. I haven't read this one yet, but I do like this character. Although I agree, I want to see more of her with her dogs. Hopefully in the third book. :)

    1. Are you on Edelweiss? E-ARCs are available there. And, yes, I'm really hoping for more action with Jazz's dog in the next one.

  2. What a fun premise for a series to include a cadaver dog! I often think second novels in a series are the weakest so it will be interesting to see if the third one ends up being really good again.

  3. Too bad this one wasn't quite as good. Hate when the 2nd book falls short but hopefully the 3rd book will be amazing. I have the first book but haven't read it but I need to get to it soon.

  4. Interesting series. Unusual enough to make it stand out from the crowd, too. I love watching dogs at their work and always had to remind myself not to interact with the "drug dogs" at the airport - when I was at the airport back in the good old days...last year.

  5. I do enjoy books dealing with working dogs and would like to try this series. I like the dogs to be an integral part though, so I hope that happens in the next book. Nice review Susan.


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