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The Dog Walker - by Lesley Thomson

At the time of writing, this book has over 70 reviews on Amazon with an average rating of just under 41/2 stars. I can only assume that the higher ratings have been added by the author’s dedicated fans, or possibly those of an advanced readers group.

This particular book is number 5 in a collection known as the detective’s daughter series, written by an author I’d not heard of, but an award winner never the less.

Rarely do I feel like giving up on a book, but this one tested my patience to extreme limits. Maybe reading the books in order would make this one easier to follow? – A suggestion only, I simply don’t know.

The story revolves around a missing woman, presumed murdered, from several years ago: she had been walking her dog alongside the Thames, only the dog returned. The neighbours are a rather peculiar mixture with at least one falling under suspicion.

The husband of the 'victim' asks a woman running a cleaning company and part-time detective agency to find out what happened once and for all. How, or why, this agency was selected or will solve a mystery that the police couldn’t, is a complete mystery in itself.

I found this an incredibly difficult book to get into. Somehow, the first few chapters just didn’t work for me. They were incredibly confusing and I found myself searching back to see if I’d missed anything.

I even got confused with a few of the key characters. Again, I had to skim back to refresh my memory.

One of the things I found particularly frustrating was the constant hopping backwards and forwards in time. One minute we are reliving yet another repeat of the events on the night of the disappearance, the next we are in the present with our part-time sleuth walking along the very same tow-path, but with her sidekick, who is what can only be described as a paranormal ‘sensitive’.

I felt stifled with the minutiae of detail that was handed to me in the present. Do I really need to know the sniffing habits of each dog encountered on a walk? Surely such detail ought to be reserved for the past events where clues as to what actually happened ought to be buried?

Fiction is all about getting your reader to suspend their disbelief and to go along with your flow of events. It is also about developing well rounded and believable characters: characters that the readers are willing on to succeed in their quest. This book totally failed to do any of this with me. Time and time again I found myself asking if this, or that, could really have happened, and asking why a particular character would behave as they did.

Recognising the time and effort that goes into creating a book I do feel a bit mean by writing this review as I have done, but I can only say things as I see them. Apologies Lesley, but I can only run to 2 anchors on this: it simply wasn’t a book for me.