by Terrance Mc Arthur
& Linda O. Johnston
This week we have a review of the latest dog rescue mystery novel by Linda O. Johnston, Oodles of Poodles. We also have a great guest post from Linda that relates to the book–safety of animals in the movies. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book.
Oodles of Poodles by Linda Johnston
Review by Terrance Mc Arthur
Lauren Vancouver rescues animals, places unwanted and abused animals with loving families…and solves murders around Southern California in Linda O. Johnston’s Pet Rescue mysteries (Beaglemania, The More the Terrier, Hounds Abound). Lauren runs HotRescues, a no-kill animal shelter funded by the owner of the HotPets chain, Dante DeFrancisco. One of Dante’s friends needed help getting a script produced, so he became a co-producer, and Lauren becomes his eyes and ears on the set. (Some reviews of the series complain about all the time she spends away from the shelter. In this book, Lauren complains about it, too, but she has to do it for her boss.) Things don’t go smoothly (Do they ever go smoothly in Hollywood [or Northridge or Woodland Hills, the location and the studio]?) especially when someone hit-and-runs over Hans, the director.
Was it the hunky representative of the American Humane Association, who would decide if the film would receive their “No Animals Were Harmed” rating? He wasn’t happy with some scenes that could put the live animals at risk.
Could it be the veterinarian/reality-TV host who argued with him? The director seemed to really dislike her for some reason, almost pushing her to get angry responses.
The screenwriter didn’t want to lose the Humane Association certification. Would he have killed to get another director?
Did the head of the studio have a motive?
The director was not the only person angling for the next film Hans wanted to helm. Did someone take out the competition?
What about the dog handlers—the overly-perky young man or the young woman who always wears more make-up than she needs, in case she’s needed as an extra in the scene?
On top of the murder suspects, there’s a stray dog with a microchip that says the owner is a city councilman…who doesn’t have pets.
Linda O. Johnston loves dogs, and it shows in the details of shelter life that are peppered throughout the book, and the snippets of movie-set action seem fairly accurate…although the crew “disperses” a lot. Couldn’t they “head off to their duties,” “spread out,” or “get to work,” instead?
It’s a fun series, and the mysteries take some thought to solve. Animal safety in films is an interesting theme. Lauren even is involved with what will happen to the cute little canines when the filming is over. There are serious issues raised in these books alongside the sleuthing. The reading is fun, and these books need a new home. How about yours?
Making Sure “No Animals Were Harmed”
By Linda Johnston
Are you a person who waits for all of the credits after a movie in which animals appear to see if the coveted “No Animals Were Harmed” certification shows up at the end? I am!
I haven’t always been, but since I started researching my fourth Pet Rescue Mystery Oodles of Poodles I’ve been a real advocate of the American Humane Association and how it bestows that certification on films with which it’s been involved–as long as they deserve it.
I was inspired to make the film industry the theme behind the Oodles of Poodles murder mystery because I live in the Hollywood Hills and kept driving past the current home of American Humane on Ventura Boulevard, and its outside sign kept calling to me. American Humane’s Film and Television Unit had only recently moved there when I first noticed the sign. Out of curiosity, I dropped in one day and began talking to people. They were friendly and receptive and helpful, and I learned a lot!
First, I learned that the designation “No Animals Were Harmed”® is a registered trademark of American Humane. The name Certified Animal Safety Representative™ is also their trademark.
The overall American Humane Association has existed for 136 years (since 1877) and its Film and Television Unit is heading toward the 75th anniversary of its doors opening in Hollywood in 1940.
The “No Animals Were Harmed” certification is only provided to scripted films and TV shows, not to reality shows. According to their website, American Humane’s Film & TV Unit monitors an average of more than 2,000 filmed productions every year, both domestically and internationally. They provide guidelines, and help with pre-production concerns such as evaluation of risks to animals and how to figure out alternatives. During a production, they observe, document, and provide advice. Certified Animal Safety Representatives provide much of the guidance and show up on a lot of sets.American Humane is also available for post-production information and advice. They’re concerned with all living things, from insects on up to the largest of creatures. And, yes, that even includes snakes.
By the way, you don’t really have to wait till the end of the final credits of a film to find out if it received the certification. American Humane posts information online, too, including whether they monitored a particular film and, if so, whether that film was monitored as outstanding, or acceptable, or not.
And I, for one, am always delighted to learn that “No Animals Were Harmed”!
To enter to win a copy of Oodles of Poodles, simply email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Poodles”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 16, 2013. U.S. residents only.