Sacred Cows by Karen E. Olson
Reasons for reading: A Herding Cats II selection, recommended by Literary Feline
Summary: "After a late night on the town, New Haven police reporter Annie Seymour is yanked from her bed by an early morning phone call from her editor. Soon she's shivering on a wet, dark city street, staring down at the once beautiful, now broken body of a Yale University coed. Paid to observe and get just the facts before writing up her stories for the New Haven Herald, Annie finds herself drawn to the story of an Ivy League sophomore whose secret moonlighting led to her violent murder. But after Annie links the girl's death to a network of vice and fraud buried deep in the city's shadows, the cynical reporter is shocked to discover her own mother is involved. With help from a sexy private investigator, Annie investigates but stumbles upon one obstacle after another. Her cop lover stonewalls her, her editor pulls her off the assignment to cover a surreal parade of fiberglass cows grazing throughout the city, and an overeager cub reporter nips at her heels to get the scoop for himself. Caught in the center of a treacherous scheme, Annie must take the biggest gamble of her career - outwit a dangerous con man to uncover the truth that could win her that elusive Pulitzer ... or a mention in the next day's obituary."
First line: "My hand closed over the cold steel in that second between hearing the phone ring and before my eyes opened."
My thoughts: I couldn't resist this one once I read that it included a parade of fibreglass cows. My husband and I were in Edinburgh for their cow fest a few years ago and we still fondly remember the Braveheart Cow. But Annie doesn't enjoy the cows like we did, and a lot of the book's humour comes from that. Here are some examples of how Annie feels about the cows:
"It worried me, those naked cows, just placidly standing there while those artists did what they would to them."
And, I believe this one is repeated fairly often throughout the book, "F***k the cows."
Literary Feline says that Annie is a character after her own heart and looking back after finishing the book, I see her a bit more fondly. But she's very curmudgeonly indeed, which can be a bit off-putting. Vinny the private eye alternated between sexy and annoying. The whodunnit wasn't a total shocker, but it wasn't too bad. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for a mystery, so it didn't grab me as much as it could have.
The verdict: Not a bad mystery, especially if you like antisocial heroines. And the cow jokes make it different and fun.