BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Thrifty Thursday Review: Unleashed by Emily Kimelman

Series: The Sydney Rye Mysteries #1
Read As A Stand Alone: Yes
Publisher: Emily Kimelman
Source: Amazon, free at purchase
Purchase Date: June 29, 2019
Release Date: June 27th, 2011
Buying Links: Amazon* | Apple Books*  | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Google Books | Kobo |
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

The Sydney Rye series of mysteries features a strong female protagonist and her rescue dog, Blue. This series is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, don't mind dirty language, and are up for a dash of sex. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery!

When the series begins Sydney Rye is named Joy Humbolt. She does not like people telling her what to do, so it comes as no surprise that she was just fired from her last job. When she buys Charlene Miller's dog-walking business on Manhattan's exclusive upper east side, it seems like the perfect fit: Quiet environment, minimal contact with people.

But then one of her clients turns up dead, and Charlene disappears. Rumors say Charlene was having an affair with the victim--and of course, everyone assumes Joy must know where she is. Joy begins to look into the crime, first out of curiosity then out of anger when there is another murder and threats start to come her way.

When police detective Mulberry is assigned to the case, Joy finds a kindred spirit--cynical and none-too-fond of the human race. As they dig deep into the secrets of Manhattan's elite, they not only get closer to the killer but also to a point of no return. One last murder sends Joy Humbolt hurtling over the edge. Her only chance of survival is to become Sydney Rye.

The purpose of Thrifty Thursday is to read a book which was free at some point. This meme was started by Books of My Heart.

These are only Kindle freebies I get from Amazon, ones through author newsletters which anyone can sign up and get for free, or free promotions. I won’t include things like Kindle Unlimited, Prime Free Reading, or Audible Escape. Audible has occasional free audio books for all and I will include those. Since I download or 1-click many freebies every week, I decided to participate in this feature to make sure I read at least some of them.

My Thoughts:

I found this author a few years ago during one of those multi-author free promos that have become so popular. I acquired several books in this series as freebies and figured it was time I started reading them.

This is Sydney Rye's origin story. In a matter of a few pages and about two days, Sydney, who is Joy Humbolt when the book starts, dumps her boyfriend, quits/gets fired from her job, adopts a rescue dog, and buys a dog walking business. Things really pick up when one of her dog walking clients is killed on her first day and she finds the body. Sydney gets drawn into the case, as a witness and as a potential suspect. The more she digs, the more complicated and crazier things gets.

The story definitely stretched plausibility, though it seems as if Kimelman did some interesting research on the history of New York City. But some of the events and actions required a strong suspension of belief. Sydney/Joy is drifting when the story starts and initially she's reactive, not proactive. That changes during the story as she discovers what matters to her. Family for one, even though her mother and stepfather are deeply flawed. Both had the potential to be cliches but Kimelman took them further and gave them depth, especially the mother. Most of the characters are well developed even the minor ones.

My fave character was not Sydney, though I liked her well enough. No, my fave was her brother, James, and also his boyfriend, Hugh. I hope they make appearances in the later books. The plot, as I mentioned, went a little nuts. There were multiple murders, kidnapping, an S&M party, blackmail, adultery, treasure, theft, and I'm probably forgetting something. It was a wild ride, and there were a few plot holes, but overall I enjoyed it and I'll be reading more of the books in the series.

And if you are wondering about the MCs name change? Dear reader, you must read. :) Oh, and though the dog, Blue, is injured, he survives. :) 


  1. I'm sure I have one-clicked this one also. Well no, I have #3 and #7. Since I prefer to read in order, I'll have to watch for this one. It's not at the library. Great review! I'm sure I will have problems with the disbelief issues also but I do love a story with dogs.

    Anne - Books of My Heart

  2. I don't know if the series works out of order, it may, but I strongly suggest reading book 1 before starting any of the others. Like I said, it's her origin story. And yeah, the dog was a plus for me too. :)

  3. It definitely sounds like there is a whole lot going on in this one and it gets a little crazy but it sounds kind of fun. Great review, Bea!

    1. Thanks Carole. :) I don't know that fun is the right word, but entertaining would describe it.


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