Title: The Fox, the Dog, and the King
Author: Matt Doyle
Publisher: Nine Star Press
Publication date: July 23, 2018
Genre: Mystery & Thriller, Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, LGBT
Summary: It was supposed to be date night for Cassie and Lori, but, following the performance, the performer asks to see them, having recognized Cassie as a private investigator. Known only as Kitsune, and outfitted in Tech Shifting gear at all times in public, she asks Cassie to locate her missing dog. Thanks to her interfering girlfriend, Cassie takes the case and is pulled into more than just finding a missing dog, something that involves a king of the criminal world.
This is the second book in the Cassie Tam Files series and, like the first, it’s fast paced. The mystery is almost unrelenting, but the futuristic world is not sacrificed and continues to be built upon. As I was familiar with the world the second time around, it was easier to understand, which was great because another layer was revealed that added depth and complexity.
Despite being science fiction, this is also most definitely a mystery. It had great momentum, and the case kept Cassie almost constantly in motion. The simple case she took snowballed into a much bigger one that led her into a great deal more danger. Even though I know there’s a third book, which makes it likely Cassie would be okay, I was still on the edge of my seat, wondering how it would end. I loved that the fast pace of the mystery meant the story was continually in motion, and that it showcased how incredibly bright and astute Cassie is, much quicker than I am, that’s for sure!
Being science fiction, it takes place at some point in the future. I am in awe of the technology, like the Tech Shifting gear that lets you become virtually any animal you want. At the same time, there was still a great deal of familiarity, as though the past and future were melded, which helped make it easier to digest. What I loved is that Doyle didn’t just repeat all the information from the first book, but instead built very well on top of it, added layers and details that weren’t overwhelming, but were necessary to the story.
The characters were very well done, and felt like they could have walked out of the pages and been real people walking around outside my windows. Well, there are a few I wouldn’t want to come across, but I think you get the idea. They’re dynamic and interesting. At the same time, they’re consistent in who they are. They don’t throw surprises just to make the plot move forward or something else to work. The story and characters worked hand in hand.
The one thing that disappointed me was the relationship between Cassie and Lori. After it being a focus in the first book, I hoped to see more of Lori and watch their relationship blossom and face challenges. Unfortunately, Lori wasn’t seen much and didn’t seem to play much of a role. Of course, I understand this is a science fiction mystery and nowhere near a romance, which I wouldn’t read anyways, but I was so charmed by them in the first book that I was really looking forward to seeing them together more. But I guess the mystery part just kept snowballing so Cassie had to stay in motion, which gave very little time for her to think about Lori. I sure hope Lori knows what she’s gotten herself into!
Overall, this was as delightful as the first book. It has great characters, an interesting world, and a great blend of science fiction and mystery where neither are sacrificed.
How many cups of tea will you need?
An excellent 4 cups will be perfect.
Get your copy (The Lily Cafe is NOT an Amazon Affiliate)