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Murder Unleashed (A Dead-End Job Mystery #5)

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  1,068 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
With a résumé that includes attempted assault and alimony evasion, Helen Hawthorne has no choice but to take on a series of dead-end jobs to make ends meet. At the Pampered Pet Boutique, Helen hustles a selection of canine cuisine and couture that beats anything in her own fridge or closet. And when Helen goes to deliver a dog to a client, she finds the blonde trophy wife ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published May 2nd 2006 by NAL Hardcover (first published 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Chelsea
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elizabeth
Nov 16, 2012 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was a little disappointed in this book for reasons I'm not sure about. Normally when I start a Dead End Job book I can't put it down but I could put this one down. It was still good, just missing something.
Jami
Mar 18, 2012 Jami rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fun-n-easy
I'm glad I stuck with this - I always gave up after reading the first 50 pages, but it is a light read so I kept going. It was entertaining; not sure if I will read any others in the series, but this was good for a light weekend of reading!
Jen
Feb 21, 2010 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! Great plot twists and turns in this one! Loved the grocery store scene near the end! Remind me not to shoot my mouth off about "crazy old ladies" in the produce section!
Jeannie
Just a mindless, fun read.
Enjoyed it taking place in Ft. Lauderdale and Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, FL (some details changed)
Ch J Loveall
Oct 11, 2016 Ch J Loveall rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Author not my taste.
Elusive
Jun 06, 2016 Elusive rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review
In ‘Murder Unleashed’, Helen works at Pamper Pet Boutique. Her hectic days of running around while the customers’ dogs are treated like kings and queens are numbered when a demanding client (Tammie) ends up dead. Helen becomes the top suspect for her murder and has to figure out the identity of the murderer before she winds up behind bars.

Initially, this case was quite interesting. How could it not be? A woman is found naked by the pool except that she’s not sunbathing or enjoying the beautiful
...more
Marie
Aug 15, 2010 Marie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Murder Unleashed: A Dead-End Job Mystery, is the 5th book in the Dead-End Job mystery series. In this series, Helen is on the run and takes a series of dead end jobs to make ends meet.

In this instalment, Helen is employed at Barker Brothers Pampered Pet Boutique. When she delivers a dog to one of the clients, she finds that client dead by the pool with a pair of scissors sticking out of her chest. Because of her past, Helen’s afraid to call the police and runs away instead. Later that afternoon,
...more
Ellen



I finished Murder Unleashed by Elaine Viets this morning. This is about the 3rd book I've read in this series so I am well acquainted with the characters.

In this mystery Helen Hawthorne is working at the Barker Brothers Pampered Pet Boutique by the upper crust members of Lauderdale, Florida. Jeff is the owner and manager of the Boutique with Jonathan and Todd as the groomers.

Helen has continued to reside at the Coronado apts. with Margery as her landlady (and then some) and Phil as her neighbo
...more
Lyn
Helen Hawthorn is forced to work dead end jobs to escape spending the rest of her life paying alimony to her cheating house-husband. She goes on the run, finding a permanent home and good friends in Fort Lauderdale, but her dead end jobs keep getting her in trouble. Her latest is at Pampered Pets Boutique where the furry clients have better lives than most humans.

Helen is not having a good week. First, one of the pet owners comes on to her, next she finds a body, and last, she allows a high earn
...more
VJ
Jan 04, 2013 VJ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
Good mystery and plot.

Having lived in central FL for several years, I can say without a doubt that hurricane parties exist and people get super-excited about them...much like the snow-loving Northerners get excited about a blizzard getting ready to hit. Both are nuts, in my opinion.

I figured half of it out right away and the other half later on. Still a couple f-bombs and I don't like that at all. Phil has a language problem. Think of some less crude expletives, please. Thanks.

This book wasn't
...more
Rogue Reader
I so enjoy Viets' Dead-End Job Mysteries. As one well known author says, "I wish I'd have thought of that!" In Murder Unleashed, Helen's stuck in an upscale dog grooming shop, with bitches on all sides. Helen Hawthorn's down to earth, down and out life never fails to amuse and engage - the players are almost always just horrible. Publishers Weekly says of Viet's work, "Wry social commentary..." and it's true when you think about the jobs.

Viets writes of friendship too, friends that almost always
...more
Ed
Nov 28, 2014 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery
#5 in the Dead End Job series. Helen's dead-beat ex-husband, with the aid of a crooked judge, has a court order for Helen to pay him 50% of her salary as alimony. She has sworn never to pay him a cent and has moved from St. Louis to Florida and begun to work off-the-books jobs to stay below the legal radar. A fun series but some jobs and entries are more entertaining than others.

Dead End Job series - Helen is working off the books at a pet boutique. A valuable dog is picked up by an estranged h
...more
Judith
Aug 29, 2011 Judith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
I am amazed that you can turn any job into an amateur private investigator. "Dead End Job mystery" tagline caught my eye. This time, Helen works as a clerk/receptionist at a high-end pet boutique. I was pleased with the book. The mystery, the characters, the actions, were believable. The pace was great. I could not put the book down.
In the end, I reflected on the high class portrayed in the book. Everyone has a secret, and everyone want to be loved, or at least accepted. I am thankful for those
...more
Amy
Jul 05, 2016 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another fun and lighthearted dead end job mystery. I really enjoyed the series a great deal. Not to give too much away but it was really nice to see Helen actually quit one of these jobs voluntarily rather then be forced out by circumstances or a nasty boss. I have to admit that I didn't see this one coming… Wasn't sure who the killer might be but I think I pegged wrong. Lots of interesting twists and amusing ones as well. I'm a very big animal lover so I appreciated a focus in a pet store. The ...more
Gramy
This mystery is entertaining and fun, which is just how I like them. I appreciate that Helen is learning and growing from her experiences. I can not identify with how people treat their pets better than most people treat other people. I am more of a people person. I could identify with some of the characters at the pet store and Helen's apartment complex. This was interesting and I look forward to reading more of this series.
Kristen
In the fifth installment of Elaine Viets's Helen Hawthorne series, we found Helen into another pickle of hers in Murder Unleashed. She now worked in the Pampered Pet Boutique. Every time she worked at a dead-end job, it had exposed her to a lot of dead people. At her latest job, it would be no exception. When someone wound up dead, she had a new murder to solve and find a kidnapped pup, all before the Category 3 hurricane hits Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Amy
Jul 09, 2016 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book so much it earned my coveted 5 star rating.. Published 10 years ago as the cozy genre as we know it today was emerging, this book is a wonderful example of what a great cozy should be.. Great mystery, many re-herrings, continuing character development of Helen, with her romance to Phil important and developing, but not at the expense of the pace of the mystery.. A quick but very engaging read; I could barely put it down! Looking forward to the next one in the series..
Antoinette
May 26, 2015 Antoinette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I met Elaine Viets recently in NC where she was doing a book tour. Her personal story was so interesting I decided to try one of her dead-end jobs series. I started with Murder Unleashed because it features dogs, one of my favorite animals. While working at a pet boutique in her new South Florida location, our protagonist Helen becomes involved in the murder investigation of two of the boutique's clients, a hurricane, and her new lover. Never a dull moment. Next I may try the cat novel.
Kimberly
Oct 16, 2011 Kimberly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Is it me or do the police in the surrounding districts not talk to one another?
Each book has new detectives and it amazes me that none of them have ever heard of someone like Helen?

I think I figured out the killer at the beginning but I wasn't sure. And I swore something was up with Jeff but not what he was up to. Did that make sense to anyone other than me?

Phil. Phil, Phil, Phil.
White Hair, White Knight? Hmmmm!
Melanie
I think this is the last one this series I'll spend my time on. They are cute-ish, but how many times can one woman really find a dead body / be an innocent involved in a crime. It's like Angela Landsbury on "Murder She Wrote" - wouldn't people just stop inviting her anywhere after a while. Meh . . . feeling crabby. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it.
Trish
Aug 19, 2014 Trish rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery
Hmm. It is getting slightly annoying that the main character (or I guess the author) has memory lapses from one book to the next - either that, or the author likes repeating herself. I guess I shouldn't read more than one from the series at once.
Stephanie
Sep 29, 2008 Stephanie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This was cute but there was a weird leap in the middle of the book that connected some characters that I didn't see coming. Sure, it made the mystery come together, but it seemed to come from out of nowhere. I'll probably read more of these Dead-End job stories. Nice, light and fun.
Michele
Aug 24, 2015 Michele rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This series is a hoot! I did read 3 books out of order, by accident, but it was okay, each book is great as a stand alone and when I realized it and went back, it wasn't rehashing everything that had happened before.
DJ =^^=
70% of this book I struggled to get through. Didn't have any interest at all. I hate to "quit" on a book so pushed through to the end. Luckily, it got a little better so raised the rating of the book from a 1 star to 2.
Emma
Jul 13, 2013 Emma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favourite in the Dead End Jobs series so far & the 5th that I've read in a row (yay kindle). Great twists & turns in the plot, fun characters (as ever) - there's something very comforting about returning to the Coronado.
Jacquelynn Fritz
Jun 28, 2015 Jacquelynn Fritz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Helen is working at an exclusive pet shop this time. She helps with finding a kidnapped dog among other problems, including not telling her guy the truth of her past life. I love her land lady and she's worth reading the books.
Mary Newcomb
Helen Hawthorne has been working at an upscale dog groomer and accessory shop. Many people there are not what they seem to be and this makes sorting out the murders even more complicated. The characters are interesting, if a bit larger than life. And her personal life is developing quite nicely.
Ju
Feb 20, 2010 Ju rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had low expectation for this book but it turns out to be a fun read with many twists. It started off a bit slow but quickly picked up its pace. I recommend it for anyone looking for a light read and some mystery and humor.
Rachelle
Sep 25, 2015 Rachelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book very much. Because it takes place in a Pet Boutique, it is full of dogs. Helen must find a killer and a dog napper or she might have to return to where her ex-husband lives.

I look forward to reading more of this series.
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As a young girl, Elaine Viets was taught the virtues of South St. Louis: the importance of hard work, housecleaning, and paying cash. She managed to forget almost everything she learned, which is why she turned to mystery writing.

Living in South Florida has not improved her character. But it has given her the bestselling Dead-End Job series. Like her amateur detective, Helen Hawthorne, Elaine actu
...more
More about Elaine Viets...

Other Books in the Series

A Dead-End Job Mystery (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • Shop Till You Drop (Dead-End Job Mystery, #1)
  • Murder Between the Covers (Dead-End Job Mystery, #2)
  • Dying to Call You (Dead-End Job Mystery, #3)
  • Just Murdered (Dead-End Job Mystery, #4)
  • Murder with Reservations (Dead-End Job Mystery, #6)
  • Clubbed to Death (Dead-End Job Mystery, #7)
  • Killer Cuts (Dead-End Job Mystery, #8)
  • Half-Price Homicide (Dead-End Job Mystery, #9)
  • Pumped for Murder (Dead-End Job Mystery, #10)
  • Final Sail (Dead-End Job Mystery, #11)

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