Saturday, April 23, 2016

Aloha to Diane Kelly and LAYING DOWN THE PAW (Paw Enforcement No. 3) - Book Review

Laying Down the Paw (Paw Enforcement, #3)

Police officer Megan Luz and her K-9 partner are back-with a vengeance.

When a raging tornado hits Forth Worth, Megan's squad car is flipped over-and her devoted police dog, Brigit, is not amused. But that's not all that's upside-down. The streets are littered with looters-and members of a violent street gang-and no local business is safe. It's time to get back on all fours and see that the job of protecting the public is done.

But Megan, outmanned and outgunned, has no choice but to let the gang members get away. Later, when she learns that one of them is a suspect in an unsolved murder case, Megan is determined to see that justice is served. But will she end up in the doghouse? Her investigation has her and Brigit barking up the wrong tree at every turn. Meanwhile, a killer's on the loose....who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

Laying down the paw in the sand ...

A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him. - David Brinkley

LAYING DOWN THE PAW is Book 3 in the Paw Enforcement Series. Kelly reintroduces readers to the heroine, Megan Luz, an average Irish Mexican Catholic Texan. She grew up with a stutter, prompting her to develop a quiet personality. Yet Megan listened to others, a quality that came full circle once she became a Fort Worth police officer. After tasering her misogynist partner, she is reassigned to K-9 duty with Brigit, a German shepherd rescued from the pound for her keen sense of smell. Megan spends her off duty time helping Detective Johnson, a female mentor, with background investigations as the first step to becoming a detective herself. Megan has a special talent as a baton twirler - a skill she sometimes employs with her police baton during her patrols. Brigit has a special talent of finding food and tackling suspects, sometimes at the same time.

As with the previous two books, the plot unfolds through three perspectives: Megan's first person narrative, Brigit's third person, er, dog musings, and the "villain's" third person point of view. LAYING DOWN THE PAW opens with the brutal murder of a drug dealer - a mystery that plagues the Fort Worth Police Department throughout the plot. Megan is the first officer on the scene and finds herself sickened by the violence. Once Detective Jackson arrives, she advises Megan that it never gets easier to accept the bloodshed. Days later, Megan is caught in a tornado during her patrol. After climbing out of her damaged car, she and Brigit secure the area, only to come face to face with armed looters. Unable to safely defuse the confrontation, Megan allows the looters to walk away with their ill gotten gains. She later realizes that one of the looters resembles the police sketch of the murder suspect. The chase begins to find the killer.

Kelly combines humor with grit in LAYING DOWN THE PAW. I applaud Kelly for creating a flawed heroine who takes life one day at a time. Megan may have flinched when confronted by the armed looters but she learns from her fear. The grisly murder is offset by Megan's budding romance with Seth, an Army veteran-turned-bomb detonator with the Fort Worth Fire Department. His canine partner, Blast, provides welcome company for Brigit. Brigit makes it clear in her musings that she is the Alpha Dog while Blast is the Beta companion. Megan breaks out of her comfort zone by spontaneously renting a house with Frankie, a Roller Derby skater who carries her own emotional baggage. The move enables Megan to escape from a cramped apartment, give Brigit a yard, and establish a female friendship outside the police force.

As much as I enjoy Megan's character, the "villain" steals the attention in LAYING DOWN THE PAW. I was drawn into his world with disgust and sympathy. It takes a skilled writer like Kelly to simultaneously create those conflicting emotions. Kelly evokes the question of how to define "good" versus "evil" as the "villain" seeks to survive in his grim world of the forgotten poor. Kelly incorporates diverse characters with distinct personalities to create an authentic cross section of our society. Finally, Kelly added small details, such as the ongoing joke of vegetarian lasagna, to create a feel good book despite being a murder mystery. The plot kept my attention and I read this book in one sitting.

I look forward to more books from Kelly to follow Megan's path to detective, Brigit's search for food, the budding romance with Seth, and new friendship with Frankie.

I purchased a copy of LAYING DOWN THE PAW after reading the first two books in the series.

Books 1 and 2 in the series

I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,

1. Leave a comment about dogs - what is your experience with them? Although I cohabitate with four cats, I often care for dogs when their owners are away.  Clearly, they love to walk!

2. Comments are open through Saturday, April 30, 10 pm in Baltimore. 

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, May 1.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Learn more about Diane and her books at

AGAINST THE PAW, Book 4 in the series, is available May 3, 2016 (link).



  1. I'm a cat person and don't know much about dogs.

  2. I am without dogs right now, but my neighbour has the most gorgeous, rather huge, chocolate brown poodle. Ralph is a darling.

  3. We used to have a K9 named Hondo. He was an amazing tracker and very smart. I had dogs growing up but my youngest is very allergic to dogs.

  4. We had dogs......I loved my Magic and GiGi.....but now I'm a cat person.

  5. I've had 5 dogs...they are a great addition to my family!

  6. I've seen Diane Kelly's books advertised but have previously never purchased one. But I will now. I enjoyed this post and the blurb about Laying Down the Paw. She has picked a clever way of titling her books and including dogs, which are my love. Hubby and I have a Yorkie because of our apartment living (size is important!), but I've admired the K-9 dogs for quite awhile. It will be great to read a series about one. Thanks for the post, Kim!

  7. I've had two wonderful dogs. The first was a beagle that we got when my husband was in the service in MS. Our second was a rescue that we had for 17 wonderful years and she was the sweetest dog ever. Then the cats took over lol.

  8. We had our dog, a Yorkie, for almost 17 years. We lost him 2 weeks after my mother-in-law died, so it was a very heart wrenching time for us. I love dogs, and my neighbor has a cute little Maltese who always comes running up to me when her owner is out walking her.

  9. I don't have any dogs but I chat with any I see walking with their owners!


  10. I had 2 dogs both of them were my lifeline unfortunately one crossed the rainbow bridge so I only have 1 left who is spoiled rotten

  11. I love dogs! They make great characters in books too.

  12. I do like dogs and we have a miniature beagle however I like cats better :)

  13. I have no pets, but had one as a kid. Do like them.
    Patty B.

  14. I love dogs and cats (don't tell my dog, but if I had to choose between the 2, I'd pick cats - I really appreciate their attitude). I'm lucky enough to get to work where animals are welcome. Today I got to play with 2 adorable 9 week old golden retriever puppies!

  15. Have a cat. do like dogs.

  16. I love dogs. Now we have Wyatt, a little mutt of a few different small breed dogs. May do the DNA testing to find out. He is a rascal and he is sweet.

  17. I have 2 dogs. A father and daughter Toy Tea Poodles. They are loving and very protective of me. I love how they greet you at the door and know when you need a snuggle.