Tracy Weber,
A Fatal Twist: A Downward Dog Mystery
(Midnight Ink, 2017)

Picture this: It's a long weekend. You have no firmed-up plans, and you are halfway through a deep, dark, novel your best friend recommended, and you want to finish it in time to give it back to her before you move on to some other book that is more fun, and less meh. Your eyes light upon a book recommended by another friend, and you remember she told you it was part of a series of books, and you grab it. A Fatal Twist by Tracy Weber is the fourth novel in the Downward Dog series, and the first of these novels to be read by me. This book is not dark, dreary, nor overly deep, yet it is full of interesting characters, good plot twists, and nicely incorporated yoga, dogs, puppies and friendship.

Kate Davidson, yoga instructor, girlfriend to Michael and friend to Rene, has agreed to be Rene's douala while she goes through labor and delivery of her first child. A douala is a woman that is experienced in birth who provides physical, emotional and informational help to a laboring woman as well as giving her critical support before, during and after childbirth. Although Kate has never given birth, Rene is her best friend, and so she readily agrees to provide this vital service, despite knowing nothing about the process. Additionally, Michael has had thrust upon him two puppies that are found strays that are making Bella, Kate's special-needs dog, sick, and Kate is working with Tiffany, a young woman providing community service to Kate for having destroyed her car several months previously. With all these good deeds, one would think the rewards would be great, but soon Kate is thrust into solving the murder of a philandering physician and her client Rachel, his wife, being accused of doing the deed.

In many of these series books one will find that murder finds the protagonist like dogs find a bone. In A Fatal Twist, Kate finds that life's questions are not easily answered, and are often fraught with deeper truths than can be painful. Along the way, Tiffany becomes less a community service charge, and more of a friend and ally. Kate also finds herself examining the depth of her relationship to Michael and what she truly values, all while putting herself in danger from the person that doesn't want anyone to find out who really killed the doctor, and why.

The author of this series is a certified yoga instructor, and nicely incorporates yoga and its proper practices into her books. Her characters are real, and the book is quite enjoyable. Murder may cause mayhem, but yoga, dogs and friends can soon sort things out.

book review by
Ann Flynt

6 May 2017

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