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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Excerpt from Karma’s a Killer by Tracy Weber

Author's note: I’ve been entranced by the friendship my dog has with several local crows for years, so it seemed natural to include them in my newest mystery.  The excerpt below features Blackie, a rehabilitated crow who will play an interesting role in the mystery. ~ 

Excerpt from Karma's a Killer
Judith yelled, “Hey, stop! What are you doing?” Even Tiffany ran over to check out the commotion.
Blackie’s cage lay open on the ground. He stood next to it, looking confused. A teenage girl waved her arms and stomped her feet, trying to scare him away. “Go on, fly! Be free! Animals should never be prisoners!”
I’d never met the young woman who was yelling, but I recognized her outfit: black jeans, black boots, long-sleeved black T-shirt decorated with an orange flame emblem. The jagged ends of her purple-black hair brushed against multiple silver ear-piercings.
Black lipstick and eyeliner highlighted the matching jewelry in her left eyebrow and lower lip. The Goth Girl kept yelling, sounding frustrated. “Go on, you stupid bird, fly! You’re free!”
Blackie cocked his head right, then left, then right again, as if paradoxically confused, entranced, and annoyed by the oddly adorned female. He tried to approach her; he tried to make friends; I’m pretty sure he asked for a peanut. Each time he hopped closer, she shooed him away, calling him names and ordering him to take flight.He finally took her advice. He flapped his wings and soared—away from his supposed freedom and straight to Judith’s shoulder.The whole episode was laughable, at least at first. Blackie clicked, preened, and nuzzled Judith’s ear, looking happy and completely at home. Goth Girl yelled, waved her arms, and tried to scare him away from afar. “Get out of here before that evil animal terrorist traps you again!”Judith turned toward Goth Girl and shouted, “Shut your trap, you little punk! You’ll scare him.”Blackie ignored them both. He let out a loud caw and flew from Judith’s shoulder to my table, where he landed next to Maggie’s clipboard. He cocked his head forward and stared, transfixed by her shiny keys.“Blackie, no!” Judith yelled.
Her words had no effect. Three quick hops later, Blackie leaned down and picked up the key ring. Judith snatched Bella’s bag of dog cookies, grabbed a large handful, and threw. Miniature goats rained to the ground in a five-foot radius.“Look, Blackie! Treats!”It almost worked.Blackie paused, distracted by the yummy-looking morsels littering the grass. For a split second, he dropped the keys.
Judith lunged, faster than I would have thought possible for a seventy-five-year-old woman with obvious arthritis. But before she could reach him, Blackie picked up the key ring again, looped it securely around the bottom half of his beak, and took flight, carrying his treasure off into the distance.Crows cawed from every direction, as if celebrating his victory. A half-dozen dropped down to clean up the plunder. By the time I looked back at Blackie’s cage, Goth Girl had disappeared.

About Karma’s a Killer:
Yoga instructor Kate Davidson is about to discover that when it comes to murder, there’s no place like om. When she agrees to teach doga—yoga for dogs—at a fundraiser for Dogma, a local animal rescue, Kate believes the only real damage will be to her reputation. But when an animal rights protest at the event leads to a suspicious fire and a drowning, a few downward-facing dogs will be the least of Kate’s problems…
The police arrest Dharma, a woman claiming to be Kate’s estranged mother, and charge her with murder. To prove Dharma’s innocence, Kate, her boyfriend Michael, and her German shepherd sidekick Bella dive deeply into the worlds of animal activism, organizational politics, and the dangerous obsessions that drive them.
And if solving a murder weren't complicated enough, Kate will also have to decide whether or not to reconcile with the estranged mother who abandoned her over thirty years ago. Not to mention having to contend with an almost-bankrupt animal rescue, a cantankerous crow, an unwanted pigeon houseguest, and a rabbit in a doga class. What could possibly go wrong?
A taut tale with more twists and turns than a vinyasa yoga class, Karma’s a Killer brims with suspense, wit and whimsy. With a to-die-for plot, sensational storyline, and charming characters—of both the two- and four-legged varieties—Karma’s a Killer is a clever, colorful, and utterly captivating cozy mystery.

Tracy Weber is the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series.  The first book in the series, Murder Strikes a Pose, won the Maxwell Award for Fiction and was nominated for the Agatha award for Best First Novel.
A certified yoga therapist, Tracy is the owner of Whole Life Yoga, a Seattle yoga studio, as well as the creator and director of Whole Life Yoga’s teacher training program. She loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any way possible.
Tracy and her husband Marc 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. 
Karma’s a Killer is her third novel. For more information on Tracy and the Downward Dog Mysteries, visit her author website: http://TracyWeberAuthor.com/

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