Edith here, packing to go on vacation in New Hampshire and Maine for a week!
And also so happy to welcome Liz Milliron back to the blog, with a new Laurel Highlands mystery. Read on and you’ll see why this one is close to her heart – and isn’t that a gorgeous cover?
Here’s the blurb: Trooper Jim Duncan’s first day with the Criminal Investigation Division starts off with a bang when he is called to a murder scene with a badly decomposed body. After he finds an abused greyhound in the victim’s garage, the simple homicide becomes more complicated. Why would anyone want an unreliable racetrack employee dead, especially when greyhound racing is illegal in Pennsylvania?
Assistant public defender Sally Castle is facing her own career change. When she accepts a position with an old law school friend, her first case seems to be one that is exactly what she wants to do. Then she learns the greyhound adoption group her client may have embezzled from has ties to the shooting victim. What else is her client hiding?
Jim and Sally work their respective investigations, which may or may not be related. Along the way, they learn important lessons about themselves, those they work with, and the people they protect. But can they complete their tasks without falling prey to a killer?
Thanks, Wickeds, for having me back. I’m very excited about this book, Lie Down with Dogs, the fifth in the Laurel Highlands Mysteries series. Let me explain why.
In January of 2019, my husband said the words I’d been waiting for since my last dog passed away in 2011. “I think it’s time to get a dog.”
I, of course, was prepared for this. I knew what dog I wanted. I’d known for several years, ever since a friend of mine brought her retired-racer to a morning swim practice (our kids were on the same summer swim team). I wanted a greyhound. Solomon was a beautiful, gentle, well-mannered dog in a lovely fawn color. I was determined to own a retired-racer one day.
Of course, it wasn’t that easy. My husband wasn’t convinced. We did research. In the end, he agreed and we filled out an application to adopt a greyhound. And in March of 2019, we met Koda at the kennel and that, as they say, was that.
Needless to say, there aren’t a lot of greyhounds in my neighborhood, so I always got a lot of questions when I walked him. I also did “meet and greet” events at a local pet store with the adoption group I worked with. People were fascinated by the dogs. Here are the top five comments/questions I received (and still do when Koda and I are out).
1. Is he fast?
Yes. Koda was not a superb racer, which is why he retired early. But he did place in slightly more than 60% of his races. As a breed, a greyhound can run up to 45mph and it takes him just three strides to hit that speed. That makes him the second-fastest land animal on the planet. Of course, he’s a sprinter, so after about thirty seconds to a minute, he’s ready to lie down and take a nap.
2. He’s so soft!
When people see a dog with short hair, they expect them to feel a bit bristly. Add this to the fact that a lot of hounds have slightly oily coats. That’s because they spend a lot of time outdoors in the rain. Greyhounds are velvety soft all over. Koda is especially fun to pet after he’s been to the groomer and had his bath. And his ears are like velvet. Fortunately, he likes ear rubs, because I like touching them.
3. Is he hyper?
No. Greyhounds sleep anywhere from 18-20 hours a day. See above about being sprinters. A greyhound needs 1-2 good walks a day, or access to a nice-size yard. After that, he’s pretty chill. They are nicknamed “45mph couch potatoes” and they come by that name honestly. They make great apartment dogs, because they don’t bark a lot, don’t require excessive amounts of exercise, and can curl themselves up in surprisingly small spots.
4. He’s so friendly!
Greyhounds in general do not make good guard dogs. Why? Because they like people. For a snack and a belly rub, Koda will show an intruder where we keep the silver and smile while he does it. The dogs truly are gentle giants, good with small children and older people. Some greyhounds can be slightly aloof. They gladly accept affection, but they can be indifferent about seeking it. Not Koda. He’ll trot up and introduce himself to anyone. In a way, it’s a good thing because it means on the few occasions he’s gotten out of the yard, he never gets very far before he meets someone and has to stop for attention.
5. Does he eat a lot?
Yes. Besides his two-cups-of-dog-food-per-meal, Koda is a bottomless pit. He’ll eat just about anything, not just meat or fish. He once won a contest called “my dog will eat that.” Some of the odd things he’s gladly munched: broccoli, green beans, carrots, spinach, parsley, grapefruit, orange slices, marshmallows, cereal, asparagus, peas (in and out of the pod), cooked mushrooms (not raw), celery, berries, and melon. I’ve probably forgotten something, but you get the idea.
If you’ve gotten the idea that I’d heartily recommend a retired-racer greyhound as a pet, you’d be right. Some people think they look big and scary, but they truly are sweethearts. To learn more, visit www.ngap.org or look for a greyhound adoption group near you.
Readers: What questions do you have about greyhounds?
Liz Milliron is the author of The Laurel Highlands Mysteries series, set in the scenic Laurel Highlands and The Homefront Mysteries, set in Buffalo, NY during the early years of World War II. She is a member of Pennwriters, Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and The Historical Novel Society and is the current vice-President of the Pittsburgh chapter of Sisters in Crime. Liz splits her time between homes in Pittsburgh and the Laurel Highlands, were she lives with her husband and a very spoiled retired-racer greyhound. Find her at her web site, on Facebook , and on Instagram.