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The Cassie Tam Files #2

The Fox, the Dog, and the King

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New Hopeland City may have been built to be the centerpiece of the technological age, but some remnants of the old world still linger. The tools of the trade have changed, but the corruption remains the same, even in the criminal underworld …

When PI Cassie Tam and her girlfriend Lori try to make up for their recent busy schedules with a night out at the theatre to watch the Tech Shift performer Kitsune, the last thing they expected was for Cassie to get a job offer. But some people are never off the clock, and by the end of the evening, Cassie has been drawn into a mundane but highly paid missing pet case. Unfortunately, in New Hopeland City, even something as simple as little lost dog can lead you down some dark paths.

Until now, Cassie wasn’t aware that there even was a rabbit hole, let alone how far down it goes.

193 pages, ebook

First published July 23, 2018

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About the author

Matt Doyle

26 books120 followers
Matt Doyle is a pansexual/non-binary speculative fiction author, voice actor, and pop culture blogger from the UK. Matt specializes in fiction with a horror or sci-fi grounding and diverse characters.

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Displaying 1 - 27 of 27 reviews
Profile Image for Lex Kent.
1,682 reviews8,611 followers
July 29, 2018
3.5 Stars. This is the second book in The Cassie Tam Files. The best way to describe these books would be futuristic mysteries. You could put the sci-fi tag on these but it would be light sci-fi. This is what the future could look like in 20-40 years on earth. While this is the second book in a series I do think you could start here if you had to. Enough background is given I don’t think you would be lost. However, I think you would enjoy the series more and feel more connected to the characters if you start at the beginning with Addict.

After a heavy case load, private eye Cassie Tam tries to take an easier case to make her girlfriend Lori happy. The case is to find the missing dog of a traveling performer. But nothing is ever easy when Cassie gets involved and she soon find herself right in the middle of the city’s underworld criminal organization. Can she solve the case and make it out alive?

I thought this was an enjoyable sequel. While it had some excitement, it was not quite as exciting as the first book. However, I was happy to see some growth in Cassie as a character. A few character flaws of hers that were a little annoying in the first book, have been tempered down in this one. She was much more likeable for me.

There is not much romance in this book. While she is together with Lori, they are taking things very slowly. Due to Cassie’s past it is understandable, but I really wish there was more Lori and more time for them as a couple in this book. I hope this is something we will see more of in the next installment.

The mystery was interesting. Doyle is good at taking his time to let the mystery build. I was wondering how Cassie was going to make it out unscathed for sure. Once again I wish there was a bit more action, but it was still a good read.

If you are a mystery fan and don’t mind a little tech and futuristic setting, these books may be for you. There is a third book coming and I do like this series enough to keep reading. Fingers crossed for a little more romance, but these books are enjoyable to read.

An ARC was given to me by NineStar Press, for a honest review.
Profile Image for Dianne.
6,765 reviews583 followers
August 19, 2018
Cassie Tam is back and so is the corruption that defies time in the futuristic world of New Hopeland City as her latest case involves a missing pooch, a deadly fighting ring and an actor whose true identity shall remain nameless. And it all started when she took time off to spend the evening at the theater with her girlfriend, Lori. Will these two ever have time to spend together?

THE FOX, THE DOG AND THE KING by Matt Doyle has Cassie barking up the most dangerous trees in the city in an effort to rescue a stolen pet. What looked to be a fairly easy job takes a deadly turn as the claws of crime try to sink deep into Cassie’s flesh.

Once again, there is that old time PI feel, but with a more “current” theme, animal cruelty. Matt Doyle has also ramped up the feeling of a real bond between Cassie and Lori, and they make a wonderful pair. The “bad guy” is just that, bad to the bone, brilliantly bad, and well, Cassie will have to do some pretty good PI’ing to survive this one as Mr. Doyle creates another genre-bending mystery/thriller for Cassie to unravel and survive!

I received a complimentary copy from Matt Doyle!

Series: The Cassie Tam Files - Book 2
Publisher: NineStar Press (July 23, 2018)
Publication Date: July 23, 2018
Genre: Mystery | Thriller | Lesbian
Print Length: 193 pages
Available from: Amazon
For Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow: http://tometender.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Shalini.
2,496 reviews198 followers
November 30, 2018
Another mystery/thriller which kept me enthralled till 3am… I gotta stop the midnight reads… But this book was such a lure. A truly fabulous read, it required my entire concentration to read through the mystery surrounding the 2 cases which were interconnected yet different from each other.

As the title says it starts with a fox, a kitsune, asking the private investigator Caz to find his dog. This soon leads her to the Kings of the Underworld of New Hopeland. And the crawl into the unknown world starts along with Bart, her familiar A.I. Ooooh I don’t mind a metallic gargoyle who is artificial intelligence for my birthday… Anyone listening?!!

The complexity of the mystery had me smiling, as I traversed the landscapes of the pages.
The worldbuilding of New Hopeland Underworld was detailed and well carved out, with its tunnels and shady accountants and elite dealers of stimulants, the Tech Shifters. Well, you have to read it to understand this, but start from book 1.

Caz was wonderful but in this read, I found her to be more intelligent, this had more investigation than romance as compared to book 1. She was bold and brave walking the two worlds of light and dark which even the Kings didn’t dare, or did they?

What slowed me in my read were too many descriptions in some pages, some a bit difficult to imagine, and secondly, this book took time to build up its plot. But all that forgotten by that chilling climax which just blew my brains away. At 3am, I had so much adrenaline coursing that it took another hour to calm down. Wowzer!!

As Caz says in the book New Hopeland works, I say Matt Doyle works. His brain can plot the story like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle slowly pulling the reader in with each piece an enticing clue.

Absolute explosion of a story with well etched details and an ending which blew my mind!!
Profile Image for Kazza.
1,432 reviews145 followers
October 12, 2018
This is another solid instalment in the Cassie Tam Files. I got more page time with Bert, the AI gargoyle that I love, there are no particular arseholes or chest-beating types to be found anywhere within the pages either. Rather, Matt Doyle writes an interesting, futuristic tech world with much affection. There is always a mystery to be solved, Cassie is a PI, this time it's a missing dog that leads to more in the Underground of New Hopeland. The end, with the tech shifter details, was superb. What an eye for detail, including some diagrams, and obvious love of these tech types and this world.

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Profile Image for Aly.
1,832 reviews56 followers
September 16, 2018
This was a great book for me.  I enjoyed the mystery and the characters.  Nothing is ever an "easy" job right.  This book was a fun read for me.  I can't wait for more from this series! *This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.*
Profile Image for Rebecca Langham.
Author 5 books22 followers
October 13, 2018
Having read the first in this series, I was eager to get my hands on the second. The combination of noir and a not-too-distant-future setting remains intriguing. I'm also always happy to see women at the forefront of genre fiction, an area where there's still a lot of ground to cover in terms of diversity.

One of the strongest elements of the Cassie Tam Files is the development of Cassie's environment in both tangible and intangible terms. Doyle continues to expand New Hopeland, a city that grows and unfolds as a character in its own right.

The city is caught between its industrial roots and a corporation-driven, technological future. As a past-meets-present hybrid (much like Cassie herself, who shares a sympathetic and symbiotic relationship with the city), New Hopeland is the perfect breeding ground for a complex criminal underworld; an underworld writhing with corruption and decay. But much like weeds that break through the foundations of an ancient building, that decay and destruction has become necessary to maintain the integrity of New Hopeland. The challenge for Cassie? To know which criminals hold New Hopeland together, and which threaten to tear the place apart.

There's a sense of the anachronistic in The Fox, the Dog, and the King which, to me, works very well. Like today, there's a gap between what is possible with technology, and what people feel comfortable doing with it. Cassie seems a little behind-with-the-times, so to speak, but I would say most of today's population is, too. I own an iPhone, but I doubt I explore more than 10% of its capabilities. This aspect of her characterisation helps keep her grounded, likeable, and believable.

This book had, I believe, a better balance between movement and stagnation. I am not usually a reader of crime fiction, so in any detective story, I find it a challenge to follow extensive passages that explore the sleuth's inner thoughts and/or solo investigations into data and documents. This isn't a criticism of either of Doyle's books, but rather a comment on my own reading tastes and less-than-fantastic ability to follow technical or super-specific, complex descriptions. It's the same problem I have when I read 'hard' scifi. For readers who, like me, aren't always patient with crime fiction, you'll find this book more easy-going than Book 1 in the series.

The F/F relationship between Cassie and Lori continues to unfurl itself in soft increments. Lori features quite a lot in the early chapters of the book but, as the case heats up, becomes a background character -- though she's never far from Cassie's thoughts. In terms of the other characters, I quite enjoyed Hanson and I hope we get to see more of her in the books to come.

On the whole, this is another effectively constructed futuristic noir crime fiction from Matt Doyle. I love stories with a living, evolving setting and on that count, TFTDATK certainly delivers.
Profile Image for Carol Hutchinson.
758 reviews63 followers
June 24, 2020
Another brilliant case…solved!

Cassie hasn’t been spending as much time with Lori lately as she would have hoped to, because you know her work is super busy and time off is a luxury she rarely gets. Taking a few hours off the head to theatre to watch a performance but when even that leads to work, Cassie just isn’t getting a break. In a case that seems over the top, Cassie finds herself tracking a missing pet, but when she starts getting to work and finding the clues and answers that help her find the dogs whereabouts, she ends up in a deeper situation than she had first thought.

This second instalment in the Cassie Tam Files Series was just as thrilling as the first. Once again Matt has delivered a great sci-fi mystery story with intrigue and complex technical minded plot that only draws you in and heightens the intrigue of what Cassie will find herself embroiled in this time. I never imagined, when I learned Cassie’s original case this time that she would end up on the chase she did. There were so many clues and hints, taking Cassie deeper into the case than before and each one was exciting and only added to the wonder of where this was all going to lead.

I love that these books stick to the case in hand, rather than becoming threatened by the romance between Cassie and Lori. It’s very typical of a working relationship, and how it gets in the way of time for relaxing and romancing, but Cassie and Lori’s relationship, is touched on, and an underlying theme that is developing nicely along the main story arcs. This is very refreshing and means that a chance is given to really through yourself into solving the cases with Cassie.

I highly recommend this series! It’s a great sci-fi mystery with such imaginative story lines and the twists and turns in the plot, catching Cassie unware always keep things exciting!
Profile Image for J.P. Jackson.
Author 11 books135 followers
October 1, 2018
Cassie Tam is a perpetually grumpy, stubborn, slightly ornery PI, and her gruff nature has once again shone through in the second Cassie Tam book, The Fox, the Dog, and the King. She reminds me of the loveable curmudgeon from Pixar's movie "Up" - you know the type - cane-wielding, arm shaking, "You kids get off my lawn," yelling senior citizen - this to me sums up Cassie perfectly. But in this sequel to Addict, we get to see a bit of a softer side as Cassie's relationship with Lori - the Tech Shifter from the first book starts to develop.

Now having said that, the relationship is not the point of the novel, more of a side arc. The mystery is the tracking down of a Japanese Anime inspired Performance Artist named Kitsune, who is convinced that their dog has been abducted.

As Cassie traces down her leads, she soon realizes that the large number of dog-nappings that have occurred lately throughout New Hopeland is only the proverbial 'tip of the iceberg'. After uncovering a dog-fighting ring, Cassie discovers a much deeper revelation.

Now that you're sitting on the edge of your seat, I couldn't possibly reveal that - you'll have to read the book yourself!

What I will say is this: The plot is clever. Although mysteries are not my usual fare, there was some careful story weaving in order to convey this tale. And what's the one thing I always say? "Give me a clever story." So, to that end, I say, well done Mr. Doyle! The intricacies and detail, and once again the attention to the tech detail were incredible. The back of the book even contains an "Owner's Manual" for the Tech Shifting suits. Fantastic!

Pet Owners and Animal Lovers beware! I have to say, I'm fairly dark and twisted, and I can subject myself to a rather wide range of topics and not have it linger within my soul. This story did though...one scene, in particular, took me out of reality and placed me right in the ring...the dogfighting ring. That bothered me, a lot. As a dog owner, this scene rattled my bones and disturbed me because I was able to easily place my little chihuahuas in place of Fish - the abducted dog. I know my sweet little pups wouldn't have lasted 30 seconds in that environment, and that violent imagery left me haunted. Now, some of you may be thinking how terrible that was, and you'd be right, it wasn't pleasant. BUT, and this is a monumental BUT - the author was able to create several pages of detail that made me remove myself from reality - step into their world - and live it so deeply that it made me have emotions outside of their world.

And that, my reading friends, is called true storytelling, and I wish every book I picked up would transport me like this moment did.

Well done. Very well done. Bring on Cassie Tam #3 - which I understand has been completed...and so we wait. What trouble will the PI who can straddle both worlds of Light and Dark get herself into next?
Profile Image for E.M. Hamill.
Author 10 books88 followers
July 21, 2018
Matt Doyle's tech-noir PI Cassie Tam is at it again in the fantastic second book.

Cassie has promised her tech-shifter girlfriend, Lori, to take some easy cases and get a little break. When she reluctantly takes a seemingly innocent missing dog case for a mysterious performance artist, Cassie should have known that she would stumble into something a heck of a lot bigger than that. New Hopeland's seedy underworld of crime lords and dealers are gearing up for a confrontation, and Cassie is, as usual, in the thick of things faster than her cyber-gargoyle Bert can say "CAW."

I love Cassie's character. Her tough exterior masks a host of insecurities that make her a real person. We don't see a whole lot of Lori in this book, which is fine, but the tech shifter artist Kitsune is fascinating and mysterious and really, really cool. Doyle does a fantastic job at presenting this person as neither male nor female, but Kitsune, and we never see them out of their fox persona (part of their entertainment contract clause). An added treat at the end of the book is the user's manual for the tech-shifting suits, which was an awesome addition to this book.

All in all, a very quick, exciting read, and a satisfying addition to the Cassie Tam Files. If you haven't read ADDICT, do it now, and then pick up this fantastic book.

Profile Image for Beverly Laude.
1,710 reviews22 followers
December 31, 2018
This is the second book in the Cassie Tam Files and is another solid addition to what is proving to be a very entertaining and different series. This book is set in Utah in the future and has a lot of cybertech in it. I especially enjoyed the "Tech Shift Gear Welcome Pack" at the end of the book that explains the Tech Shift Gear that features so prominently in this series.

Cassie is a Private Investigator that often reminded me of the old film noir type detectives. She is starting a new relationship with a woman from the case in the first book. Lori is a Tech Shifter, which Cassie is still trying to figure out. When Lori invites Cassie to go to a show put by another Shifter called Kitsune, little do they know that Cassie will be drawn into another case.

After the show (which is beautifully described), Kitsune asks to talk to Cassie about their missing dog, Fish. Cassie is offered a large sum of money and Lori steps in and accepts the case on her behalf.

However, the case turns out to be much more than just a missing dog. It seems that there is a spate of missing dogs in the area and Cassie is soon drawn into the world of a mafia-type organization. Are these doggy disappearances hiding something much bigger? And, if so, what is really going on?

This book combines cybertech with mystery in a different way and the author is very good at describing this new world. The character of Cassie develops a lot in this book and it seems like Lori's influence might be good for her workaholic nature. The pace of the story is fast and yet develops at a reasonable speed at the same time.

A couple of my favorite quotes from the book:
"You can tell when you've spent too long without a break when your brain decides to go film noir on you."

"I get the idea of the right result not always being the accurate one, but unless it's something major, I'll stick with the truth."

"Paranoia. It's more useful than those with simpler lives understand."

My only complaint about the book is the fact that the author has some really, really long paragraphs. I find that makes it a little difficult to read on an e-reader for some reason. Other that that minor complaint, I would recommend this book and this series to anybody who enjoyed "Blade Runner" or even old school PI books/movies. The cybertech aspects to the book are used in a subtle way and definitely don't detract from the story.
Profile Image for Jennifer Tooker.
360 reviews11 followers
August 11, 2018
Full disclosure, I was provided an advanced copy of this book by the author, however, I have voluntarily chosen to write a review. All opinions are my own.

Kings and Pawns

The Fox, The Dog, and The King is the second in the Cassie Tam series of books by Matt Doyle. Picking up approximately 6 months after the close of “Addict”, Cassie and Lori’s relationship seems to be on the right track even if Cassie finds it hard to turn off work to focus solely on her girlfriend. When Lori invites Cassie to a night out she goes along with the plan, but unfortunately, even this couple time turns into work when a mysterious performance artist enlists the PI’s help with locating their missing pet. Cassie’s attempts to track down Kitsune’s beloved dog leads her down an all too familiar path as she finds herself working with the local crime lord and his minions to bring down a rogue operative and protect a racquet bigger than Cassie had ever imagined.

For as much as Addict focused on the tech aspect and getting to know the area of New Hopeland and its inhabitants, The Fox, The Dog and The King is more centered around Cassie and getting to know her as a person. I really liked this aspect and it helped to connect even further with the main character as a bit more of her background comes to the fore. Even though the tech was present it wasn’t as much of a focus as it was in Addict. A notable exception, however, was the addition of performance artist Kitsune. Appearing as a mysterious masked fox/human performing a one-person show of sorts with all their personas and personalities this character really drew me in. The way their mystique carried over off the stage also added to the intrigue and really made me want to see more of them. I also noticed that this installment had a slightly less noir feel that I loved in Addict, but even though toned down quite a bit, it was still there.

All said The Fox, The Dog, and The King was an enjoyable read and a great addition to this series. I am very much looking forward to future adventure with Cassie in New Hopeland.

Profile Image for Penny.
2,086 reviews40 followers
July 21, 2018
This is the second book I’ve read by this author, and I’m still enjoying every minute. I find the main character to be very interesting, and I want to know more about her, as well as the other minor characters. Throw in an interesting plot, great writing, and some fun action, and you have a book worth reading. I admit to sometimes being thrown off by the explanations of the tech in this book, and I get a little confused about exactly what it being described. However, that doesn’t really stop my enjoyment of the book. The end of this book was really what gave this book a five-star rating leading me to wonder if Cassie is going to have more run-ins with this very interesting character. If you like more tech-driven fantasy, give this one a try! Highly recommend! I was provided the e-book which I voluntarily reviewed.
Profile Image for Teri.
Author 5 books143 followers
August 17, 2018
I read the first book in this series earlier this year, and immediately became a fan of Cassie Tam.  She's a confident, successful woman in her PI business, but when it comes to romantic relationships - that's where she's challenged.

In this book, Cassie is struggling to find her footing with new girlfriend, Lori, and  balance their relationship with her workload.  She's still charmingly awkward, and while she may not say exactly the right things, she honestly means well.  With encouragement from Lori, she's also learning to be friends with her ex-girlfriend.

Upon realizing Cassie's new case involves dog fighting, as an animal lover, I was a bit leery of how much detail would be given and wondered if I might have to skip some pages.  No worries - the fighting happens 'off-screen', and my heart was spared.  

While the first book in this series focuses more on the fascinating tech and world-building, I felt like I got to know Cassie better in this new novel, and her snark is still one of my favorite qualities.  Action, mystery, twists, and a touch of romance make The Fox the Dog, and the King another intriguing addition to this light sci-fi series.  I wouldn't saying reading the books in order is a necessity, but it would help with understanding more about the world-building and Cassie's backstory.    

I received a digital copy of this book from the author.
Profile Image for Kat.
318 reviews16 followers
August 13, 2019
It was supposed to be date night for Cassie and Lori, but, following the performance, the performer asks to see them, having recognized Cassie as a private investigator. Known only as Kitsune, and outfitted in Tech Shifting gear at all times in public, she asks Cassie to locate her missing dog. Thanks to her interfering girlfriend, Cassie takes the case and is pulled into more than just finding a missing dog, something that involves a king of the criminal world.

This is the second book in the Cassie Tam Files series and, like the first, it’s fast paced. The mystery is almost unrelenting, but the futuristic world is not sacrificed and continues to be built upon. As I was familiar with the world the second time around, it was easier to understand, which was great because another layer was revealed that added depth and complexity.

Despite being science fiction, this is also most definitely a mystery. It had great momentum, and the case kept Cassie almost constantly in motion. The simple case she took snowballed into a much bigger one that led her into a great deal more danger. Even though I know there’s a third book, which makes it likely Cassie would be okay, I was still on the edge of my seat, wondering how it would end. I loved that the fast pace of the mystery meant the story was continually in motion, and that it showcased how incredibly bright and astute Cassie is, much quicker than I am, that’s for sure!

Being science fiction, it takes place at some point in the future. I am in awe of the technology, like the Tech Shifting gear that lets you become virtually any animal you want. At the same time, there was still a great deal of familiarity, as though the past and future were melded, which helped make it easier to digest. What I loved is that Doyle didn’t just repeat all the information from the first book, but instead built very well on top of it, added layers and details that weren’t overwhelming, but were necessary to the story.

The characters were very well done, and felt like they could have walked out of the pages and been real people walking around outside my windows. Well, there are a few I wouldn’t want to come across, but I think you get the idea. They’re dynamic and interesting. At the same time, they’re consistent in who they are. They don’t throw surprises just to make the plot move forward or something else to work. The story and characters worked hand in hand.

The one thing that disappointed me was the relationship between Cassie and Lori. After it being a focus in the first book, I hoped to see more of Lori and watch their relationship blossom and face challenges. Unfortunately, Lori wasn’t seen much and didn’t seem to play much of a role. Of course, I understand this is a science fiction mystery and nowhere near a romance, which I wouldn’t read anyways, but I was so charmed by them in the first book that I was really looking forward to seeing them together more. But I guess the mystery part just kept snowballing so Cassie had to stay in motion, which gave very little time for her to think about Lori. I sure hope Lori knows what she’s gotten herself into!

Overall, this was as delightful as the first book. It has great characters, an interesting world, and a great blend of science fiction and mystery where neither are sacrificed.
Profile Image for Nina Silva.
198 reviews10 followers
November 19, 2018
4.5/5 stars!!
This is Book 2 in the Cassie Tam Files series. I think Book 2 works as a standalone as each story is a complete mystery and any necessary info is repeated, but not excessively, to put off series readers. Besides, it’s only Book 2, if you do want to catch up .
A futuristic novel that takes it’s opening cue from an old Japanese theatre tradition… hmm… Might sound a bit odd but it works really well. Cassie is drawn into this particular case after attending a futuristic version of a kabuki show. What starts off as a simple hunt for an actor’s lost dog soon turns into a case tied to crime bosses of the highest level.
The pacing of this story is good. There is sufficient action and advancement in the case in every chapter, with some pauses for character background and development, I found this worked really well.
The mystery is very well-developed and multifaceted. Various elements of the criminal underground of New Hopeland are brought out, and how each group interacts with the others is examined. How the police find ways to work both with and against these criminal elements is also cleverly interwoven into the story. Perhaps herein, Matt has created the framework for future stories as Cassie seems to straddle a fine line between the ‘regular’ world and the darker side of the city.
In terms of characters, it’s easy to root for Cassie who is as flawed as she is courageous. She’s not perfect and she knows it, and so do those who care about her. It is in her flaws that she is most likeable. There’s a big story in her past that we still have to uncover and I look forward to that reveal in later books. That past has caused her to erect fortress like walls around herself. Lori, however, is beginning to chip away at those walls.
Two characters I was glad to see pop back up were Devin, a highly skilled assassin for hire, and Cassie’s AI pet, Bert. Bert functions as part protector and part family pet and his antics are quite amusing. Devin provides Cassie with access to underworld information and the two develop an interesting camaraderie.
The mystery is tied up neatly enough by the end and the story closes with a handbook/ guide on Tech Shift gear. Tech Shift gear plays a part in both this story and book one. While this story was less heavy on sci-fi terms and world building, compared to Book 1, this ‘guidebook’ should be well-enjoyed by those who like more science fiction in their mysteries.
Overall, this story kept my attention and kept me swiping the pages to find out more.
I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by the author. All opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Steph Warren.
1,204 reviews19 followers
January 31, 2019
*I received a free copy of this book, with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

Another great sci-fi tech novel from Matt Doyle, featuring the efficient and emotionally strait-laced Cassie Tam taking on her smallest and biggest case yet… and it’s the same case!

A missing dog leads to deeper, darker secrets in the corrupt world of New Hopeland and Cassie has to decide between the lesser of many evils again, taking her further into a morally grey area and out of her good-vs-bad comfort zone.

One of the things I liked about the previous book was that the main character’s sexuality was integral to her characterisation, but not to the plot, and the author achieves this normalisation again here, effortlessly including non-binary gender characters without revolving everything around their genitals.

Identity is a plot theme here, but it is more about the public faces we present to the world versus our private personas, and how differences between the two can enhance or inhibit career choices. This ties in with the longer-running theme of the series, featuring the Tech Shifters and Cassie’s uncomfortable acceptance of their choices. The added technical information at the end of this novel clarifies a lot more about the Tech Shifting mechanics, and also made me wonder whether Cassie was becoming more open to the technology herself?!

Readers who enjoy well-written PI mysteries, like Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone series, crossed with futuristic urban sci-fi will love this series. And of course, there’s the cute sidekick Bert as an added incentive!

I sigh and lean back against the wall next to the disturbingly clean toilet. “I guess I could do with a break.”
“Good,” Lori says and pushes the door open. “She’ll take the case,” she yells and shoots me a wicked grin while Kitsune starts shouting back their thanks.
My jaw drops open in shock. Lori’s argument was sound, but the money is still uncomfortable. Now I really will have to concentrate on Kitsune’s case to make myself feel better about accepting it. Lori knew that I might change my mind and just made it so that I can’t back out. “I can’t… you just…” I whisper-shout.
“Yup,” Lori winks. “You can thank me after you find the lost little puppy.”

– Matt Doyle, The Fox, the Dog and the King

Review by Steph Warren of Bookshine and Readbows blog
Profile Image for Jess.
948 reviews61 followers
September 6, 2018
This book was provided for free by the publisher and Love Bytes in exchange for an honest review.

This review was first posted to Love Bytes: LGBTQ Book Reviews. It has been slightly edited here for content.

This is the second book in Matt Doyle’s “Cassie Tam Files” series, and I think it is about equal to its predecessor in structure, characterization, and plot. It’s easy to get absorbed into the cyberpunk world of New Hopeland along with a tough PI and her tech shifter girlfriend, but so far, this world still has some rough edges that need to be smoothed out.

In the first book in this series, Addict, we’re introduced to the guarded private investigator Cassie Tam and the futuristic, tech-heavy world of New Hopeland. She meets her girlfriend Lori when she takes on the case of Lori’s deceased brother’s mysterious suicide. The plot in Addict was complex, but it kept things moving pretty well, and the climax was exciting. I was less riveted by the mystery in this book, involving a nonbinary Kitsune performer and their missing dog, but the plot did feel a little tighter, and it helped to further develop New Hopeland’s culture and society.

The technology is still a little hazy to me at times, especially regarding the tech shifting. Tech shifting is pretty much what it sounds like—using special technology to “shift” into certain animals. The people who do this are usually a part of one of three “F” categories—furries, fetishists, or freaks—and they all get something different out of shifting. Lori shifts into Ink, a sleek black panther, through the use of dermal plugs and tubes, and while the effect is unique and interesting, I can never get a solid visual on what a shifted person actually looks like. Sometimes they sound robotic, like a Transformer, other times cartoonish, like a fursuit. It makes it hard to imagine the actual effect of shifting, and in this book, it doesn’t become any clearer, which is a little disappointing.

Lori, though painted a little broadly in both books, makes a good match for Cassie. She compliments the protagonist rather than conforming to her. At the end of the first book, Cassie’s ex-girlfriend and close friend, Charlie, remarks that Cassie is a “chameleon” when it comes to relationships, often taking on the traits of the woman she’s seeing. But Lori doesn’t let Cassie get away with this. She likes Cassie for who she is, even when she’s a bit of an impulsive human disaster. Their romance moves slowly, but even without a ton of heat, they definitely have chemistry.

My main issue with these books is the slowness in explaining plot points, technology, and case clues. It takes Doyle three pages to describe something that could be boiled down to two paragraphs. We often get long-winded scenes of Cassie breaking down the clues in something as simple as a brochure for a musical performance, when really, most mystery junkies are quick enough to put the pieces together themselves. This causes me to glaze over for long scenes and become bored, hoping for the next scene of action or the next bit of development between Cassie and Lori.

After two books in this series, I’m definitely game to read more. I hope Doyle makes the next book just as unique but maybe a little more concise, compact, and clear.
Profile Image for Dilyana.
168 reviews11 followers
September 28, 2018
The Fox, the Dog, and the King is the second book in Matt Doyle's The Cassie Tam Files, but it follows a new case and while it has some characters from Book 1 - Addict, it could be read as a standalone.

Like in the first book, things aren't as they seem. A case that's supposed to be small leads Cassie to something much bigger lurking in the shadows, but unlike with Addict, the mystery doesn't advance the Romantic sub-plot. Actually, Lori is kind of just there in the background a lot of the time, and I think some of the times Cassie thinks about Lori could be omitted from the book without us losing on anything. I know that the detective plot is the main one for the series, but since the author obviously plans on the relationship between the girls to continue, I'd like to see more of said relationship. Right now, I feel Cassie has more chemistry with her ex than with her current girlfriend.

And while we are talking about characters: I didn't talk about Devin in my review of the first book. He's a very skillful assassin for hire whose work often makes him cross paths with Cassie and he just oozes personality. There's so much of it and his moral standing is so interesting, I'd be willing to read a book in which he's the main character. Maybe Cassie could have her own cameo in it?

But I'm getting ahead of myself. I have no reason to believe the author is even considering such a book. Still, it would be nice to get it.

The Fox, the Dog, and the King is a short read that I'd recommend to the people who enjoyed Addict, and also to people who haven't read the first book, but are in the mood for something slightly futuristic and with a mystery-driven plot.
Profile Image for Donte McNeal.
Author 1 book9 followers
August 4, 2018
My favorite PI returns...other than Jessica Jones. Actually, when I think about it, Cassie and Jessica are pretty similar: They're both smartass, snarky PIs, who are really good at their job. Those around them, who choose to stick around are worthwhile characters themselves, and you can't help but want to learn more about them. Mr. Doyle always succeeds in creating characters you want to care about, want to triumph, and want to fail. That's the beauty of his novels, which I've been following for a few years now. You never know what type of characters you'll get, but one thing is for certain: You'll love the story, and the characters will intrigue you.

That's The Fox, the Dog and the King in a nutshell. It's a story with a great plot, that had me hooked and trying to figure things out before Cassie did (even though I failed miserably); it's a story with interesting characters that you want to learn more about (looking at you Sunglasses); and it's a story that will have you impatiently...I mean, eagerly awaiting the next bout of trouble Miss Tam will find herself in. And, knowing her, there will always be a next time. Or at least I hope there will.
Profile Image for Jessica Belmont.
1,482 reviews44 followers
March 16, 2019
Matt Doyle has done it again with The Fox. The Dog, And The King. It is not a standalone, you do need to read the first novel, but this stood on it’s own as far as a fabulous story. Another fast-paced plot with a mystery that had me reading this one in one sitting.

Once again, the world building is complex and well designed. A bit heavy handed on the descriptions, but I think the concept was well shown.

Caz is becoming an even more interesting character as she grows. I love when a main character grows from one book to the next, and shows no signs of stopping. She is a badass character and I love her.

I highly recommend this one, but read the first book before it!

*Thank you to the author for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own.*
Profile Image for Elliott Hay.
104 reviews7 followers
December 28, 2019
I still really like Cassie, Lori, and Bert. And Charlie too. I’m beginning to be fascinated by Hanson and Devin. Cassie and Lori’s blossoming relationship is sweet. The world they inhabit is interesting.

The trouble I had with this book is the nitty gritty details of the plot just didn’t make sense. I’m not sure if the book was intricately plotted and just not explained in a way I could follow or if the plot really wasn’t planned out at the detail level. Either way, it didn’t make a lot of sense.

It was still a light, easy read. I just had to set aside my desire to understand why people did things and to be able to follow the important conversations.

I’m super glad Fish survived unharmed though.
Profile Image for Amy.
171 reviews6 followers
October 11, 2019
Cassie Tam is back with missing dog case that is more than what it seems.

You can read my full review here!

I think it is safe to say I am a fan of the Cassie Tam Files! I cannot wait to read book three, LV48.
Profile Image for Angela.
856 reviews10 followers
December 5, 2018
I am glad I found out there was more in this series. I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the next one.
Profile Image for Allyce.
80 reviews8 followers
April 25, 2019
This review first appeared on the blog Ally's Appraisals: https://wp.me/p37L0Q-175

The Fox, The Dog, and The King is a return to form for Matt Doyle. The second book of 'The Cassie Tam Files' sees us pick back up not long after the events of Addict with Cassie celebrating on a night out with her girlfriend, Lori. After a performance by Tech Shifter Kitsune, Cassie is on the case again searching for a missing dog. Like the first book in the series, The Fox, The Dog, and The King will quickly pull you in as you navigate a seemingly simple case as it slowly escalates and slips out of control.

I absolutely loved reading more of New Hopeland City, The Fox, the Dog, and the King really expands upon the ideas introduced in the first novel. Not only is tech described in a more in-depth way (looking at you Tappers) but you see more of the Tech Shifters which really help to separate 'The Cassie Tam Files' from other sci-fi books.

Not only is the technology and world developed in this book, but so too are the relationships between Cassie and the people around her. More of Cassie' backstory is explored and her romantic relationships develop and play out over the book. Not to mention the plot, which is to say the least, a roller-coaster of nefarious twists and turns.

What I loved so much about The Fox, the Dog, and the King is the rich story telling from Doyle. There is just so much detail and depth in this series that I cannot wait to read the third book, LV48.

Best Bits

*Bert - Bert is once again a scene stealer for me. I am officially in love with this little companion bodyguard bot. Although he isn't a large part of the story, he nonetheless makes each scene he is in a memorable one. It's hard not to fall in love with the strangely protective and emotional bot.

*World building - The scope and depth of the world within 'The Cassie Tam Files' keeps expanding and getting way more depth. If you think the first novel, Addict, was a extensive then prepare yourself as this book as it delves even deeper, painting a multifaceted look at both the bureaucratic and criminal side of New Hopeland City.

Recommendations:I would really recommend this book to anyone is looking for old school (but also new school) mystery sci-fi thriller. Seriously if that genre or the blurb catches your interest, you really need to give 'The Cassie Tam Files' series a read!

Please note: I received a copy of The Fox, the Dog, and the King from the Publisher.
Profile Image for Alicia .
150 reviews24 followers
October 16, 2018
Private Investigator Cassie Tam is back again ready to solve a mystery. While on a night out with her girlfriend Lori, she gets an unexpected job offer. The performer Kitsune, a Tech Shifter, asks for her help to find their missing dog. What seems to be a fairly easy and highly paid job, gets her entangled in a more complicated and dangerous situation that involves the criminal underworld of New Hopeland and its most hidden secrets.

After enjoying Addict, the first book of the series, it was no surprise that I got totally hooked with this story as well. It picks up from the previous book, but the world and the characters are well explained in case you need a refresher or haven't read the previous book. Nevertheless, I would recommend to read them in order and enjoy the character development and their backgrounds.

This is a gripping and original whodunit story with an unreliable narrator that will keep you hooked on the mystery until the very last pages of the book. The characters are well developed and most of them are quite likable. I even found myself sympathizing with Devin Carmichael, an assassin for hire. I also enjoyed the world building and the right mix of old and futuristic elements, it is really well done and believable. At the end of the book you can read the "Tech Shift Gear Welcome Pack" which explains the medical procedures and how to put on your gear on and, as a tech nerdy, I was delighted reading all of the details.

I can't wait for the next book of this series, I'm hoping that it focuses more on Bert, the AI familiar. This cute, yet deadly, metallic gargoyle that acts like a guardian dog and helps Caz in her risky endeavors is one of my favorite characters. I could notice some development on him as well, so it made me think that he could get more of the spotlight in the future ;)

Just like in the previous book, romance is not the main focus but there is some evolution in Caz- and Lori's relationship. If you enjoy a good tech-mystery story I would definitely recommend this title.
*I read it from an eARC*
Profile Image for Ksenia.
256 reviews18 followers
February 11, 2019
I really enjoying the series. Cassie is a fun character and I love the world building. It is not advanced as the time period implied, but once I started to think about it as near future it all made more sense. The mystery was fun and I really like the gray zone the author places the things in. I like that the characters are not all good or bad, but somewhere in between. It make everything more realistic. I liked the book a bit less than the first one, because the lack of romantic sub-plot. The relationship is still there, but used as background only. It is, of course, exclusively my personal thing. And yet, one of the things I love in the series is the way Doyele portraits Cassie’s relationship in the story. Her sexuality is a matter of fact; he doesn’t make an issue of it. She goes out with a girl and that is it. The story deals with the new relationship and the problems that arise, regardless of sexual orientation.
Profile Image for Kristin L Stamper.
Author 1 book10 followers
June 22, 2021
I enjoyed this book more than the first one, and I didn't dislike the first one. I enjoy Cassie as a character and, although I was kind of on the fence about him in the first book, I really liked Bert in this one. It's a short, casual read, and would be great for anyone looking for a quick mystery to pass the time.

I did have a few gripes with it, mostly all of the explaining that goes on in the book rather than having information revealed naturally and gradually. I also found the ending to be a bit predictable, and some of the dialogue was a bit silly/unnatural. But these things are forgivable, and I still mostly liked it.

Will consider reading additional books in the series if I find the time.
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