Karmas a Killer by Tracy Webber is the third book in the Downward Dog Mystery series. I have not read the previous two books in this fun cozy mystery series, but I feel like I caught up quickly. I think having read the previous books would have given me a head start in getting to know the main players, I did not feel like there were major puzzle pieces missing because of that lack.
When Seattle yoga teacher Kate Davidson agrees to teach doga (yoga for dogs) at a fundraiser for a local animal rescue, she believes the only damage will be to her reputation. But a few downward-facing dogs are the least of Kate’s problems when an animal rights protest at the event leads to a suspicious fire and a drowning. The police arrest a woman claiming to be Kate’s estranged mother and charge her with murder. To prove her innocence, Kate, boyfriend Michael, and German shepherd sidekick Bella dive deeply into the worlds of animal activism, organizational politics, and the dangerous obsessions that drive them.
Karmas a Killer is a fun but still emotionally deep mystery. Family drama, dealing with trauma and trust issues, helping animals, and so much more all play significant roles in what I was fully prepared to be light and fluffy. That is not to say that there is not plenty of fun and humor, there certainly is. However, there is also much more to it for those that like to sink in to the characters. Kate is a flawed hero, well aware of her quirks and owning her issues while still trying to face down her demons. Michael has his own issues, as do most of the people (and animals) in Kate's circle of close friends. I liked the contrast of characters, and the depth that some of the more secondary characters received in such a relatively short book. The mystery was well laid out and there was a good combination of red herrings and foreshadowing that had the characters, and myself, thinking just about anyone could have committed the crime. I was impressed in the the amount of twists and turns the story had, and where some of them tool me.
Karmas a Killer was a satisfying read, even though I had not read the previous books, I will be adding the first books to my ever expanding to be read pile. I think readers that like characters that have suffered trauma and are out there taking chances, surviving, and moving on while still being entertaining and witty will enjoy the series.