The Battle siblings are used to disappointment. Seven years after staring her PhD program—one marriage and divorce, three cats, and a dog later—Theresa still hasn’t finished her dissertation. Instead of a degree, she’s got a houseful of adoring pets and a dead-end copywriting job for a local candle company.
Jeff, her so-called genius older brother, doesn’t have it together, either. Creative, and loyal, he’s also aimless in work and love. But his new girlfriend, Kim, a pretty waitress in her twenties, appears smitten. When Theresa agrees to dog-sit Kim’s puggle for a weekend, she has no idea that it is the beginning of a terrifying nightmare that will shatter her quiet academic world.
Soon Kim’s body is found in the woods, and Jeff becomes the prime suspect.
Though the evidence is overwhelming, Theresa knows that her brother is not a murderer. As she investigates Kim’s past, she uncovers a treacherous secret involving politics, murder, and scandal—and becomes entangled in a potentially dangerous romance. But the deeper she falls into this troubling case, the more it becomes clear that, in trying to save her brother’s life, she may be sacrificing her own.
“Captivating . . . Arsenault deftly blends pet humor and laugh-out-loud moments with the unfolding portrait of complex, multi-layered Kim.”
– Publishers Weekly
“Emily Arsenault’s introspective, eccentric, charming contemporary mystery. … The book’s past and present mysteries are intriguing, but what kept this reader hooked was the acerbic and unpredictable Theresa Battle, who swings into action like a deadpan New England version of Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone.”
– Wall Street Journal
“Emily Arsenault’s mysteries are so much fun you hardly notice they’re essentially academic novels.”
– New York Times Book Review
“Emily Arsenault’s ‘What Strange Creatures’ is a smart, literary mystery that explores the depths of family bonds and loyalty. I loved Theresa Battle, the quirky, bookish heroine who finds herself using resources she never knew she had when her family is threatened. Theresa’s journey will have you biting your nails and staying up at night puzzling through clues with her; but, above all else, you’ll be cheering for her determination to save her brother, and along the way, herself.”
– Jennifer McMahon, author of The Winter People and The One I Left Behind
“This is literary mystery at its best. Arsenault writes a smart tale about a character who finds it hard to save herself, but will do anything to save her brother.”
– Jacqueline R. Sheehan, author of Now & Then and Lost & Found