Published: January 8, 2017
Number of pages: 312
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Downward Dog Mystery #4
Yoga instructor Kate Davidson’s life takes a chaotic turn once she agrees to not only be the doula for her pregnant best friend, but also play foster mother to two puppies. The chaos only gets worse when Kate finds the dead body of a philandering fertility doctor and Rachel, one of her yoga students, fleeing the scene.
Kate is convinced her student is innocent, and she sets out to find the real killer before her testimony condemns Rachel to a life behind bars. But her hands are full with caring for three dogs, teaching yoga classes, and gaining an unexpected crime-solving partner. If she’s not careful, Kate’s next yoga pose may be a fatal one.
About The AuthorTracy Weber is the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series featuring yoga teacher Kate Davidson and her feisty German shepherd, Bella. Tracy loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible. Her first book, Murder Strikes a Pose won the Maxwell Award for Fiction and is a 2015 Agatha award nominee for Best First Novel.
Tracy and her husband live in Seattle with their challenging yet amazing German shepherd Tasha. When she’s not writing, Tracy spends her time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house.
Page 99 Test: A Fatal Twist
Novelist and literary critic, Ford Maddox Ford, recommended evaluating a novel by reading its 99th page. I’m not sure what’s so special about page 99, other than that the story is well underway by that time. Writers are coached to pay extra attention to the first chapters, the first pages, even the first line. So maybe he had a point. Maybe by page 99, authors have let down their guard. Maybe page 99 is that dreaded “middle” that gives so much of us trouble. Maybe by page 99, you see the real us.
I decided to put my newest work, A Fatal Twist, to the test. I love this passage, because it shares some of my beliefs about yoga while exploring the developing friendship between Kate, my yoga-teacher protagonist, and Nicole, the teenage step daughter of the murder victim.
I gestured at my mismatched sweats and torn T-shirt. “You didn’t think you could rock the yoga fashion world the way Tiffany and I do?”
Nicole’s lopsided grin hinted at the mischievous teenager she kept hidden inside. “I hate the tight yoga pants people like Tiffany wear, but that’s not it. I don’t like working out.” She shuddered. “I hated gym. So no offense, but watching a bunch of rubber-band Barbies shove their butts in the air didn’t sound all that fun to me.”
I didn’t consider yoga a workout—it was a practice that integrated the full human system, body, mind, and spirit—but I didn’t correct her.
She continued. “But then I came to your studio, and you turned out to be okay. You don’t focus on what the poses look like at all. When I practice, I feel like I’m alone. Yoga class is the one time I don’t feel self-conscious.”
I knew what she meant. When I practiced yoga, the world evaporated. In a good way.
She lifted her eyes to meet mine. “They should offer yoga classes in high school. It would totally beat weightlifting and track.”
“I’m glad it helps.”
I handed her the black puppy. Nicole nuzzled his belly with her nose. “You’re so lucky to have three dogs. I wanted a pet, but Richard hated animals. A friend gave me a kitten after my dad died, and Richard threatened to drown it. Mom made me give it back.”
I bit back the vile words threatening to spew from my lips. Dad taught me to never speak ill of the dead. But when they threatened a kitten? That had to be some sort of exception. Still, badmouthing Nicole’s dead stepfather wouldn’t help anyone. I stuck with a safer topic.
What do you think? If you opened A Fatal Twist and read the above page, would you keep going from the beginning?
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