After his business tanks and his wife leaves him for a Pilates coach, Andy Skyberg flees the big city for the peace and quiet of his hometown. All he wants is a decent job, a steady girlfriend, a plasma screen TV with a hundred-plus channels, and one loyal dog. But fate has something else in store for Andy, when his big mutt King Harald starts sniffing out crime.
It’s clear that someone has it in for the town’s New Age retailer, Trudi Bock. And it’s also clear that Trudi wants to rekindle the steamy romance she and Andy enjoyed back in college. Andy has to fend her off, while placating his fiery girlfriend, Deputy Sheriff Cass Conlin.
Meanwhile, Harald keeps digging up more mayhem. And it falls to Andy to channel his inner sleuth and make sense of it all.
Throw into this mix one legendary (but lost) ebelskiver recipe…a gimlet-eyed church lady…a van full of federal agents…a crusty socialist…a beloved iguana…and an overabundance of rosemaling…
And you have all the makings for The Karma of King Harald.
Animal on the cover? Check. Set in a small town? Check. Dastardly crime? Check.
Male main character and author? Wow! Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but you have to admit, most cozies seem to be written by woman and have female MC's. And, as it turns out, the King Harald series is every bit as engaging as any cozy I've read to date! (And I've read quite a lot of them!)
King Harald (the dog) is probably one of my top five animal characters in cozies! He's a big goofy dog with a heart of gold. And he has every chance of starring in the sequel to "Cats and Dogs", entitled "Dogs and Squirrels"! (Note: there is no such film in the works (that I know of), but a girl (and/or a dog) can dream, right?)
It's really quite refreshing to have this male point of view into the world of cozy mysteries. I'm not putting the cozy MC heroines down, by any stretch of the imagination, just letting them know it's ok to make some room on the shelf for the guys.
You know the old saying, 'You can't judge a book by it's cover"? These aren't the most elaborate covers, but what's inside is a whole lot tastier! ;)
Last thought: What is the only thing better than a King Harald mystery? TWO King Harald mysteries! Keep reading...
Join King Harald and Andy Skyberg on their second adventure! As the leaves begin to change color in New Bergen, Andy Skyberg wants to turn his full attention to his sister’s new café and art gallery—and to the beautiful Finnish architect who is managing the project. But the good-natured, go-to guy can’t seem to catch a moment’s peace. His next-door neighbors—two elderly sisters—want him to fend off a pushy historian who thinks they had a scandalous past. His parents enlist him to entertain a narcissistic, boring couple they would like to ditch. And his ever-scheming Aunt Bev tricks Andy into seeking an improbable new gig that could land him in the hot seat. Even Andy’s big ol’ mutt King Harald has a kennel full of trouble in store for him, beginning with a pilfered thousand-dollar bill and a naughty garden gnome. Before long, New Bergen’s favorite crime-sniffing pooch finds even more deep doo-doo to toss his boss into. Havoc and hilarity ensue, as Andy and his happy hound get to the bottom of King Harald’s Heist.
Long live King Harald!
I could identify even more with Andy in this sequel to The Karma of King Harald. His love interest has moved on to greener pastures. (Of course, she did catch another woman at Andy's house in the morning, wearing nothing but a shirt, but still.) His new friend is beautiful, but not at all what meets the eye.
And I've always liked me some feisty old ladies. Andy lives between two sisters who are knee-deep in their golden years. And they are loyal to each other, but just can't get along enough of the time to live together. Many of us with siblings can attest to that. We love them dearly, and we'd have their back in a fight, but we just need a break every now and again.
There's a historian in town, looking to add a feather to his cap by dredging up some relationships from the past (that may involve a whole lot of money). He doesn't seem to care what happens to other people's lives so long as he gets his byline. He's also ticking off the town's most wealthy and influential family. He also has the idea that "what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine" when it comes to the work of his associates. And the man has *ahem* anatomically correct garden gnomes. Yes, he has book smarts, and like many in academia, he is holier-than-thou with it. But the man has little if any street smarts. But he gets 'schooled'.
I did not see the reveal coming (in terms of the person or persons who committed the crime.) Of course, this makes the book all the more enjoyable.
If I remember correctly, the canine model on the covers has since gone on to the great squirrel-hunting grounds in the sky, but hopefully his literary counterpart has many more chases left to go. The residents of New Bergen look out for King Harald, he's got another fan in the world outside his books.
Richard Audry is the pen name of D. R. Martin. As Richard Audry, he is the author of the King Harald Canine Cozy mystery series and the Mary MacDougall historical mystery series. Under his own name he has written the Johnny Graphic middle-grade ghost adventure series, the Marta Hjelm mystery, Smoking Ruin, and two books of literary commentary: Travis McGee & Me; and Four Science Fiction Masters.
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(Disclosure: I received copies of both books from the author and publishers via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my objective reviews.)