The best mysteries with dogs

Tammy L. Grace Author Of Cold Killer: A Cooper Harrington Detective Novel
By Tammy L. Grace

Who am I?

I’ve always loved mysteries and puzzles and have been an avid mystery reader since devouring all the Nancy Drew books at our library. There’s such satisfaction that comes from solving a mystery. When I started writing, my faithful golden retriever was always resting at my feet. She was the inspiration and the reason I chose to include dogs in all my books. Having a dog alongside my character allows me to show more depth in the humans in my stories and reveal weaknesses and vulnerabilities they may not be able to show others. I hope you enjoy my top picks as much as I have.


I wrote...

Cold Killer: A Cooper Harrington Detective Novel

By Tammy L. Grace,

Book cover of Cold Killer: A Cooper Harrington Detective Novel

What is my book about?

Coop’s new client has been dead for the last twenty-five years. Twenty-five years ago, two horrific accidents threatened to ruin the Covington family’s successful business. This, followed by two deaths in the family, forever change them. Now, the patriarch of the family is dying, and the son everyone thought died so long ago, returns.

Dax, presumed dead, ran away all those years ago, convinced he knew who the killer was and the motive, but was he right? He needs Coop’s help getting to the truth, even if it means the worst—someone he loves is the killer. Will Coop be able to unearth old evidence and solve the case before it’s too late?

The books I picked & why

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Open and Shut (The Andy Carpenter Series, 1)

By David Rosenfelt,

Book cover of Open and Shut (The Andy Carpenter Series, 1)

Why this book?

I love this series that features Andy Carpenter, a defense attorney, and his golden retriever Tara. I enjoy the realistic and procedural portions of the book concerning the legal case, this one involving Andy’s father from years ago. Andy’s dad was the District Attorney on Andy’s current death row appeals case, which creates an interesting conflict—the first of many in this exciting case. I think I’m drawn to it because of Andy’s connection to his dad. My dad and I bat around ideas when I’m writing my mysteries, since he’s been in law enforcement for decades. 

I also like the subplot of learning more about Andy, his history, and family, since it makes his character feel more realistic and the addition of his golden retriever makes it a must-read for me. 

Open and Shut (The Andy Carpenter Series, 1)

By David Rosenfelt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Open and Shut (The Andy Carpenter Series, 1) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Defense attorney Andy Carpenter manages to sail through any tough situation, whether inside the courtroom or in his personal life. But this all changes when his marriage breaks up and his father suddenly dies, leaving him distraught - and 22 million dollars richer. Andy doesn't know how his father accumulated this fortune or why his father begged him to take on the appeal of a death row prisoner. With the help of his newfound love, P.I. Laurie Collins, and the support of his golden retriever companion, Tara, he discovers a link between three of the most prominent men in New…


Dog on It: The Chet and Bernie Mystery, Book 1

By Spencer Quinn,

Book cover of Dog on It: The Chet and Bernie Mystery, Book 1

Why this book?

This is the first in a mystery series and what I enjoy most about it, is the story is told from Chet’s point of view. He and his human, Bernie, a private investigator solve cases together. I love the unique aspect of the dog being the narrator of the story.

I’ve also written a couple of books, with a good portion told from the perspective of the dog and those chapters are among the favorites I’ve ever written. As the reader is reading this series, it’s easy to forget Chet is a dog, since he seems like a human. That’s what I find so appealing and my dog characters would agree. Reading this series makes me want to write more books told from the dog’s perspective.

Dog on It: The Chet and Bernie Mystery, Book 1

By Spencer Quinn,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Dog on It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first book of the New York Times bestselling Chet and Bernie mystery series, an “enchanting one-of-a-kind novel” (Stephen King) that is “nothing short of masterful” (Los Angeles Times).

Chet, the wise and lovable canine narrator of Dog on It, and Bernie, a down-on-his-luck private investigator, are quick to take a new case involving a frantic mother searching for her teenage daughter. This well-behaved and gifted student may or may not have been kidnapped, but she has definitely gotten mixed up with some very unsavory characters. With Chet’s highly trained nose leading the way, their hunt for clues takes them…


A Borrowing of Bones: A Mystery

By Paula Munier,

Book cover of A Borrowing of Bones: A Mystery

Why this book?

This series is interesting due to the complexity of the characters. Mercy, the main character, an ex-military police officer, and her dog Elvis, also ex-military and suffering from canine PTSD are sent home from action. Both of the characters are wounded and grieving the loss of one man-Mercy’s fiance and Elvis’s handler. Along with a compelling mystery the two stumble upon, the readers also get an understanding of the incredible power dogs have to help humans heal.

We often reveal much more of ourselves to our canine companions and the reader is able to learn more about the human characters from their interactions with dogs. I love including dogs in my books because of that special connection and relationship and this one is very powerful. 

A Borrowing of Bones: A Mystery

By Paula Munier,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Borrowing of Bones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It may be the Fourth of July weekend, but for retired soldiers Mercy Carr and Belgian Malinois Elvis, it's just another walk in the remote Lye Brook Wilderness - until the former bomb-sniffing dog alerts to explosives and they find a squalling baby abandoned near a shallow grave filled with what appear to be human bones. U.S. Game Warden Troy Warner and his search and rescue Newfoundland Susie Bear respond to Mercy's 911 call, and the four must work together to track down a missing mother, solve a cold-case murder, and keep the citizens of Vermont safe on potentially the…


Tahoe Deathfall (An Owen McKenna Mystery Thriller)

By Todd Borg,

Book cover of Tahoe Deathfall (An Owen McKenna Mystery Thriller)

Why this book?

Todd Borg is a “local” author living not far from me and I had the chance to meet him in person when we were both invited to an author event at a local library. My mom is one of his biggest fans and was delighted to meet him. His books feature a retired detective and his huge Great Dane, Spot. They all take place in familiar settings for me, near Lake Tahoe, where Borg makes his home.

It’s always fun to read about one of your favorite places you know and having the bonus of intriguing mysteries makes it all the better.

Tahoe Deathfall (An Owen McKenna Mystery Thriller)

By Todd Borg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tahoe Deathfall (An Owen McKenna Mystery Thriller) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Disaster struck when twin sisters Jennifer and Melissa Salazar went hiking with their grandmother on their sixth birthday. Melissa got lost, fell off a cliff on the rock slide above Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe and died. Eight years later, fourteen-year-old Jennifer wants to hire Detective Owen McKenna to look into the death, which she believes was a murder. When Owen begins to investigate, another body is discovered. Owen's girlfriend Street Casey, a forensic entomologist, analyzes maggots found in the corpse. Her information helps Owen connect the body to the case. Owen uncovers information that takes him from Tahoe to San…


The Search

By Nora Roberts,

Book cover of The Search

Why this book?

I loved this book that’s a bit of women’s fiction and a mystery in one, woven together by one of my favorites, Nora Roberts. This one is set in the Pacific Northwest and Fiona, the main character, lives on a small island off the coast of Washington. I also write women’s fiction and my first series is set in the San Juan Islands of Washington, so this book appealed to me for the setting, along with the aspect of the canine search and rescue work the main character does. 

A puppy named Jaws brings a new human into Fiona’s life and sets up the emotional elements of the story. I can’t resist a story where a dog introduces two of the main characters! 

The Search

By Nora Roberts,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Search as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A canine Search and Rescue volunteer fights danger and finds love in the Pacific Northwest wilderness in this riveting #1 New York Times bestseller from Nora Roberts.

To most people, Fiona Bristow seems to have an idyllic life-a quaint house on an island off Seattle's coast, a thriving dog-training school and a challenging volunteer job performing Canine Search and Rescue. But Fiona got to this point by surviving a nightmare: an encounter with the Red Scarf Killer, who shot and killed Fiona's cop fiance and his K-9 partner.

On Orcas Island, Fiona has found the peace and solitude necessary to…


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