Customer Reviews: Hare Today, Dead Tomorrow (Reigning Cats & Dogs Mysteries, No. 4)
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on July 5, 2006
On the North Fork of Long Island harvesters are working to gather grapes, and begin preparing some of the most delicious wines a mouth could ever taste. But on top of merlot and chardonnay, this season's crop includes one very to-die-for specialty...murder. The victim being the heiress to one of the North Fork's biggest and most prestigious wineries. And, as if that weren't enough to get Jess's wheels turning, the fact that her best friend is the prime suspect in the case, definitely has. Now, between working to keep her menagerie - including the one-eyed Dalmatian, Lou; a tiger kitten named Tink; and a tailless Westie named Max - calm, Jess is trying to get over her commitment-phobic ways, and adjust to the fact that her long-time boyfriend - and first-year law student - Nick Burby, is now living with her. But even the prospect of living in such close quarters with the harried Nick proves easy compared to the crazy twists and turns she's encountered as she plays a game of cat and mouse, trying to catch the killer, and clear her friend's name. Now, it's up to Jess to beat the killer at their game, as they set out to set Jess up for something that she never could have expected...her own death. And if she's not careful, and doesn't reveal the identity of the killer in the nick of time, she may just be dealing with something new - being six-feet under.

From the first time I picked up one of Cynthia Baxter's REIGNING CATS AND DOGS MYSTERIES, I knew that she had crafted something special, and that ingeniousness has only grown with each new installment in this spectacular series. Jessica Popper, as always, is exuberant, and lights up the pages of HARE TODAY, DEAD TOMORROW, as she plays the amateur sleuth - with smarts, sassiness, and a little bit of trickery - and lands herself smack dab in the middle of a whirlwind of a roller coaster ride that takes her all over Long Island. Baxter's descriptions of Long Island, from the North Fork, to the LIE (Long Island Expressway), to various hot spots dotting the community, make for an enjoyable thrill ride that will leave the reader gripping the edge of their seats. An impeccable, unpredictable addition to the amateur sleuth genre that will keep the reader begging - pardon the pun - for more of Jessica and her adorable menagerie of pets - and human pals!

Erika Sorocco

Book Review Columnist for The Community Bugle Newspaper
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VINE VOICEon May 27, 2007
I bought this book at the local library's sale, at the recommendation of another shopper who thought the series was wonderful. The other reviews are positive as well, so maybe I am insane, but I thought this was a dreadful book. The author is in desperate need of an editor: for example,we read that a character is accused of stabbing someone in the hand with scissors, except that in the same chapter it is also referred to as "the pen incident." (Was it a pen instead of scissors in the first draft??) Problems surface immediately, as the book opens with a conversation between the heroine and her friend, who is sure she is about to be accused of murder. The author drops the information in a subsequent chapter that the heroine has JUST been released from the hospital. Did I miss something? Surely that kind of thing was introduced in the first chapter ... ah, no. Why our heroine wants to help someone who ignores her recent brush with death we don't know. Presumably the author made some attempt to give her characters a personality in earlier books, but not here. Here they just sort of wander through the story refusing to follow up clues and generally acting stupid. Even the animals are mostly background noise, welcoming her home or giving her an excuse to visit a location she wants to investigate. The crime itself is worse than the dumbest plot ever broadcast on Murder She Wrote (a show I enjoyed, btw): you have to believe that someone dying a gory, bloody death would assemble symbolic clues because she couldn't find writing materials in an office (forget that anyone with enough energy to grab this stuff could simply write the name of the killer with her own blood -- the fact that most offices would normally contain none of the items she used doesn't help matters). I made it to the end of the book, but mostly because I have a strong need for closure. I wasted my time reading this dreck -- I'm writing this as a public service to save you from wasting yours.
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on April 25, 2006
Veterinarian Dr. Jessica Popper has a mobile practice using her van as her office in which she travels to her patients. She has so far also solved three homicide investigations. The last one got her poisoned and she had to stay in the hospital for forty-eight hours after getting her stomach pumped. When she gets out of the hospital all she wants to do is go home to bed but a call from her best friend and fellow vet Suzanne Fox has her going to her pal's house instead.

Suzanne tells Jessica that she is a suspect in the stabbing death of the fianc?e of her ex-husband because she was seen coming out of her home shortly before the body was discovered. A neighbor gave a description of Suzanne to the police. To make matters worse, Suzanne lied to the police, claiming she was never in the woman's house. The police know she lied to them and certain other evidence makes Suzanne the prime suspect forcing Jessica to start her own investigation to find the killer so she can clear her friend who she believes is innocent.

The latest "Reigning Cats and Dogs Mystery" is a very entertaining who done it. Cynthia Baxter has a knack for creating eccentric and dysfunctional characters who add humor even when they become prime suspects. The heroine is very easy to like as she not only stands by her friend but does all she can, even risks her own life, to prevent Suzanne from being arrested. Fans will appreciate the delightful amateur sleuth HARE TODAY, DEAD TOMORROW.

Harriet Klausner
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on December 28, 2006
I've read several books in this series and find this to be the best so far (I haven't read the latest book). I only have one real complaint: I just don't like Jessie's boyfriend, Nick Burby. He's demanding, impatient, and has the emotional maturity of a 14 year old. He doesn't really seem to respect her or her feelings and I find it really annoying. He has no wit, no sense of humor and just doesn't seem to really like Jessie for herself. On the other hand, the reporter guy, whose name I forget, is witty and seems to like Jessie fine the way she is. I hope he reappers in future books.
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on July 26, 2008
Dr. Popper is a veterinarian who does house calls with her van. Her work provides the perfect excuse for snooping around other people's homes. I like Dr. Popper's independence, her reluctance to commit to her guy, her love of animals, and her edgy escapades. In this case, she needs to find the real killer when her vet-friend is arrested for murdering her ex-fiance's fiance. Mystery. Surprises. Laughter. Another entry in a fun series.
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on September 8, 2008
Look, I cringe when I think I might hurt an author's feelings, but this lady owes me something for ruining my vacation reading time. I took the whole series on vacation with me, and because of a friend's strong recommendation, that's all I brought.

So... I forced myself to read them all, though browsing the local phone book in the hotel drawer would have been less frustrating. (I know, because that's what I did one night in lieu of reading these books.) Her heroine has a great job: mobile veterinarian. Imagine what could be done with that! But the character is childish and spiteful, as is her omnipresent boyfriend. This is a relationship that wouldn't have lasted two weeks in high school. It's impossible to imagine it lasting any longer between genuine adults.

She mocks her boyfriend for trying to improve himself via law school, and undermines his attempts to study. She picks ludicrous fights with people she's never met before. She "meets cute" (in other words, with empty, unjustifiable antagonism) with the reporter who, for some insane reason, we are supposed to believe *likes* her.

Every old trope turns up: Silly Woman Lies to Cops, Silly Woman Hides Threats and Chooses Danger, Silly Woman Spurns Boyfriend, Silly Woman Hides Evidence, Silliest Woman Fails To Report Corpse, and on, and on. She tosses her head and asserts she's a good detective, when she clearly is not. (She involves herself in murder investigations in the other books in the series with even wispier justification than demonstrated in this one.)

All the books are like this. There are some interesting plot elements, but never enough to redeem the clichés and the 1950's-like aura that hangs over every discussion of her love life. Basically, the heroine is an unadmirable "adult" brat who, in this book and/or others in the series, obstructs justice, conceals evidence, tampers with crime scenes, lies to her boyfriend, lies to the police, and lies to everyone else just for practice.

If you want a decent sleuth who happens to be female and a veterinarian, try the three-book "Andi Pauling" series written by Lillian Roberts in the late 1990's. If you want an animal-oriented mystery series with a lot of humor as well as a truly intriguing and likable veterinarian boyfriend for the dog trainer sleuth, try any of the excellent dog mysteries by Susan Conant. Ms. Baxter, I'm sorry to be so harsh, but I think you are talented enough to give us much better. Just respect your heroine and your audience a little more. Okay, a lot more. Her pouty incompetence is not attractive.
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on May 30, 2010
I enjoyed this book very much. The continuing adventures of veterinarian Jessie Popper continue to be entertaining and amusing.
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on February 4, 2013
This was a cute book to read. It's an easy read. I bought this for my teen daughter, but I enjoyed them as well.
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on June 23, 2015
interesting,different, entertaining
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on July 9, 2015
Love her books!
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