Winner of the Shamus Award for Best First PI Novel: In the first book of Carol Lea Benjamin’s acclaimed mystery series, Greenwich Village PI Rachel Alexander and her loyal pit bull must find a killer and a missing show dog
Divorced dog trainer–turned–private-eye Rachel Alexander and her canine assistant Dash—short for Dashiell—are hired by a man named Dennis Keaton to investigate the hit-and-run death of his friend and neighbor Clifford Cole, whose body was found on an isolated Christopher Street pier. The police are treating the gay painter’s suspicious death as a hate crime, but Dennis insists Cliff hadn’t cruised the waterfront in months. Plus, Magritte, Cliff’s champion basenji—a competitor in the upcoming Westminster Dog Show—may have been a witness to the crime and is now missing.
The search for answers takes Rachel and Dash from the SoHo art scene to the most famous dog show in America. Now Rachel is in the sights of a killer hunting her across a treacherous urban landscape. There’s no one she can trust—especially not of the two-legged variety.
This Dog for Hire is the 1st book in the Rachel Alexander and Dash Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
Benjamin's spirited debut, featuring Greenwich Village PI Rachel Alexander and her trusty sidekick, a prescient pit bull named Dash (short for Dashiell), is written with enough flair to make it appealing to more than just dog lovers. Rachel is hired by a gay man whose painter friend, Clifford, was the victim of a hit-and-run driver. In addition, Cliff's pet basenji, a barkless show dog, is missing. It takes Rachel no time to find the dog because he has a National Dog Registry tattoo. But she realizes that tracing the car and driver that ran over the young man as he stood on the Christopher Street pier won't be as easy. She begins by examining the three most obvious parts of Cliff's life: his lover, his art and his dog. She finds his lover in cahoots with his art dealer, who plans to make a killing from Cliff's sudden notoriety. Cliff's art is a disturbing, personal expose of his childhood, and the dog's handler has been making a tidy sum on the side in stud fees with frozen sperm. With this host of leads, Rachel goes from an elegant gallery opening to the most famous dog show in America, Westminster, becoming, alternately, both stalker and stalked. Street-savvy Rachel, resilient in the face of obstacles, and Dash, whose talent for opening doors and sensing danger is immense, come through it okay and nab the bad guy. And Benjamin writes with a wit nearly as sharp as Dash's teeth.