What Strange Creatures by Emily Arsenault (William Morrow trade paperback, 22 July 2014).
The story opens as narrator Theresa Battle wonders what one should do when one's brother has just been arrested for murder. What she does, after watching The Colbert Report, cleaning around her kitchen faucet, making herself a protein smoothie, and feeding her pets, is to investigate. As a doctoral candidate who's been working on her dissertation for some years, Theresa knows how to research.
Since Jeff's apartment didn't allow pets, he had asked Theresa to keep his girlfriend Kim's puggle, Wayne, while Kim spent a few days visiting her sister. With no sign of Kim on the day she was to return, Theresa contacts Jeff, who hasn't heard from her either. He can't call her, because she left her cell phone in his car.
Eventually, Kim's body is found, several miles from where she'd been staying, apparently strangled. Jeff is arrested when they find items covered in Kim's blood in the trunk of his car.
Theresa's investigation takes her deep into Kim's past, where she learns that Kim's childhood best friend had been murdered and that Kim was trying to accuse the attorney who'd prosecuted the case of malpractice. This attorney, Donald Wallace, is now a prominent local politician who is very hard to pin down.
Emily Arsenault, author of three unique literary mysteries (The Broken Tea-Glass, In Search of the Rose Notes, and Miss Me When I'm Gone, has created another gripping, un-putdownable story, this time about a young woman who discovers herself while trying to help her brother. Readers who enjoyed those books, as well as fans of Tana French and Erin Kelly, will love this book.
*The title of the book is part of this quote from Jane Austen's Mansfield Park.
FTC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for the e-galley.