by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Raiders of the Lost Bark, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.
As the owner of Orange County’s Bow Wow Boutique, it only makes sense that the purveyor of pet couture would experience the outdoors through the recent trend known as “glamping.” Even though Melinda Langston would be participating in the Laguna Beach Animal Rescue League’s fundraiser Glamping Under the Stars By the Sea, in a luxury RV, and parked in a manmade park oasis, she’s not going willingly. Addison Rae, cutthroat aspiring pet chef, is blackmailing Mel into attending as well as writing a forward for Addison’s upcoming cookbook.
Scandalous rumors that Mel’s mother slept with a Miss America judge to get Mel to the finals forced her to give up her Miss Texas crown, but until now they were just that—rumors. Now Addison claims to have letters proving that Mel’s mother did indeed engage in an affair with the pageant judge. Despite Addison’s abrasiveness and hostility she leaves in her wake, it is Mel who was last seen arguing with Addison when she is found murdered. That Addison was to have been meeting Mel for an exchange of blackmail evidence is not something she is enthusiastic to admit to the police.
With Mel’s on-again-off-again relationship with undercover FBI agent Grey Donovan once again in the off stage, Mel has to ask for the assistance of Betty Foxx. The geriatric employee of Bow Wow Boutique enthusiastically, and often inadvisably, dives into the investigation at the fundraiser, which is filled with jealous rival chefs, an irritable park ranger, and Addison’s callous agent. While Mel’s beloved bulldog Missy adorably sits by as a reliable companion in paws, it is Betty’s overgrown Saint Bernard Raider who steals the show with his uncontrollable puppy enthusiasm and appetite.
This series, co-written by friends Anita Carter and Mary Lee, continues to alternate novels narrated by Mel Langston and pet therapist Caro Lamont. The two cousins battle over their grandmother’s bejeweled broach, which unwisely was deemed to be given to the “favorite granddaughter.” Unsurprisingly, this has led to laws being broken, relationships ending, and many uncomfortable holiday dinners. Betty can test a reader’s patience with her rash actions, delusional lustings, and involvement in Mel’s personal life, but moments of vulnerability in Betty’s character allow for much forgiveness. The exuberant catering to and affection for four-legged companions are assumed to be the norm for this reliably entertaining series, and it continues the adventures of these sympathetic and delightful heroines.
To enter to win a copy of Raiders of the Lost Bark, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “raiders,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 21, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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