Verdict: Designed with journal entry chapter titles, MAXIMUM SECURITY is a fun and exhilarating read.
A homicide investigation turns dangerous when the lead detective’s girlfriend does her own sleuthing.
Lia Anderson’s newest rescue dog, Max, who has a fetish for running off, finds the skeletal remains of a human. Detective Peter Dourson, Lia’s boyfriend, and his partner, Brent, determine that the dead man was one who frequented the same dog park as Lia. As the detectives get the run around trying to nail suspects, Lia’s investigations take a different bent, especially when she learns that the dead man’s dog is still on the loose.
Author Carol Ann Newsome’s third novel in the Lia Anderson Dog Park Mysteries is another eye-opening adventure centered in southern Ohio. Set in her hometown of Cincinnati, Newsome’s mystery series consistently features a handful of real locations that make up her characters’ surroundings. In this latest story, Newsome mentions sites such as Hudepohl Brewery, Emanu East African Restaurant, and the diverse community of Pleasant Ridge—to name a few. But unique to the Dog Park Mysteries is Mount Airy Dog Park, where all the furry companions meet with their owners. Particular to MAXIMUM SECURITY, it is just beyond that spot deep within a wooded patch where Lia’s Max locates the scene of a crime.
Newsome’s plot includes much more than the assumed first appearance of all things canine. While MAXIMUM SECURITY’s front cover features a German Shepherd, Newsome’s plot includes an intriguing well-developed cast who function in supportive as well as foiled roles in Lia Anderson’s life. Newsome zeroes in on a young woman who is learning how to handle life’s issues, such as love and marriage. Indeed, Lia’s boyfriend Peter sees wedding bells. But Lia’s previous relationship leaves her riddled with relational uncertainty and fears of long-term commitment. Newsome uses Lia’s situation to carefully weave in—without using much terminology on the topic—the seriousness behind domestic violence. Highlighting the importance of this issue, Newsome includes the National Domestic Violence Hotline for those who need further information or help at the story’s closure.
Also unique to Newsome’s storytelling is the way she incorporates various literary tools to keep her plot fresh. Newsome utilizes playful sarcasm throughout many of Lia’s interactions, especially in her relationship with Peter. But as Newsome alternates between character scenes, she also includes comedic dialogue between Peter and his sleuthing partner, Brent.
Designed with journal entry chapter titles, MAXIMUM SECURITY is a fun and exhilarating read.