Hair of the Dog, by Susan Slater. Poisoned Pen Press. 238 pages. Trade paperback $14.95. Other editions available.
I don’t remember reading – or even reading about – a novel centered on the greyhound racing business. Now Susan Slater has come up with a dazzler set in Daytona. The third “Dan Mahoney Mystery,” it of course follows Dan and his fiancé Elaine Linden through the investigation of claims against Dan’s employer, United Life and Casualty. Five premier, well-insured greyhounds insured by this company have died in a fire at the dog track, or so it seems.
Conveniently, the case provides the impetus for the couple to consider moving permanently to Florida; after all, why should these characters live far away from their creator?
Distraught Dixie Halifax, co-owner of the slowly failing track and casino, has the dog’s ashes in five urns lined up on her desk.
The initial investigation has led to the arrest of Fucher Crumm, and man with some developmental challenges who works at the track. Fucher is charged with arson committed to cover up the murder of Jackson Sanchez, the principal kennel owner at the Daytona Beach Kennel Club and Poker Room. Those who know Fucher can’t believe he could possibly be guilty of such deeds. He’s a gentle soul without guile. Has there been a rush to judgment?
Another curious fact is that the pool of blood under Jackson’s corpse is not his own. Furthermore, in the course of the investigation two other people connected with the dog track turn up dead.
Dan has his hands full with all that’s happening at the track, even though his main interest is whether or not the insurance company should pay off on the policies covering the dogs’ lives. When the cremains turn out to have only human DNA, the question becomes: what happened to the dogs?
Dear reader, that is not for me to answer.
Dan also has his hands full because of his mother’s infatuation with a man who may not be whom he appears to be. In fact, even Dan’s mother Maggie is suspicious of the Lothario who has been wooing her. Maggie turns to Elaine in an attempt to find out if Stanley is on the up and up. Elaine is studying to get a private investigator license in order to team up with her future husband. Her teacher, ex-FBI agent Scott, allows her to make the investigation of Stanley part of her curriculum.
The two story threads get tied together over the discovery that the track and casino operation has been corrupted by a money laundering operation. Guess who is part of it? . . .
To read the entire review, as it appears in the September 2, 2015 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the September 3 Naples, Bonita Springs, Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte, and Palm Beach/West Palm Beach editions, click here: Florida Weekly – Hair of the Dog