Bad to the Bone: By Linda O. Johnston: Review/Giveaway/Guest Post

May 27, 2017 | 2017 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze, Pets

by Cynthia Chow

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Bad to the Bone, and a link to purchase it from Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.

Bad to the Bone: A Barkery & Biscuits Mystery by Linda O. Johnston
Review by Cynthia Chow

The owner of human bakery Icing and its adjacent canine-centered Barkery and Biscuits, Carrie Kennersly loves nothing more than creating and baking tasty treats for four-legged friends. Her dedication to only producing healthy products is why she has been so hesitant to sell a recipe to the major pet food manufacturer VimPets. The publicity and name recognition is tempting though, especially when they are made by the charming Jack Loroco. A sit-down dinner with their respective partners goes awry when Jack’s coworker Wanda Addler swoops in intent on taking over his share of the business and all of his romantic attention.

bookAs uncomfortable it was for Carrie to see Jack’s girlfriend Billi Matlock be pushed aside, it’s nothing compared to the aggressive mix of threats and financial incentives Wanda uses to entice Carrie’s business. Considering Wanda’s unethical and intimidating methods, not to mention the joy she takes in making enemies, it’s not surprising that Jack’s dog Rigsley leads them both to discover her stabbed to death in a parking lot. Carrie may not be certain of Jack’s innocence or guilt, but there’s little doubt that she will get involved in discovering the truth. Two for two in solving murders, Carrie inevitably becomes immersed in the investigation despite the warnings by everyone to let the police to do their job. Her two bosses at the veterinary clinic where she works part-time both plead with her to stay safe, and considering that she is dating one of them they really should know better. There’s nothing Carrie values more than helpless animals, and with Billi being a suspect and the shelter she runs endangered, nothing will prevent Carrie from clearing her friend and discovering the true culprit.

Although this is only the third in the Barkery & Biscuits Mystery series, it already feels established as a long-running one with numerous installments. Some of this could be attributed to the author’s prolific résumé that includes four mystery series and two romance lines. Mostly though, it is a result of the characters’ backstories and relationships that feel so natural and well-developed. While nearly every character warns Carrie to stay uninvolved in the murder, their next words acknowledge that she will anyway. Carrie’s priorities are always for the pets, be it her own miniature poodle-terrier Biscuit, her bakery customers, or the clients at the Knobcone Veterinary Clinic. Recipes are described throughout and detailed at the end, enhancing this entertaining mystery that rejoices in the affection between humans and their furry companions.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

Life Goes On: The Loss and Love of Pets
by Linda O. Johnston

As I’ve said here before, as well as nearly everyplace I go, I’m a pet person. My pets are dogs, and I adore them. I write about pets. In fact, all of my current stories, including my Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries and the two Harlequin romance series I write, have dogs in them.

But our pets don’t live as long as we do. Those of us who love them and adopt pets as part of our family must recognize right up front that there will be times of heartache and sorrow as they age, grow ill, and eventually disappear from our lives, though not our hearts. Sure, loss is a part of life even among humans, but knowing that doesn’t make it easier in either situation.


Linda Johnston & her pups Mystie & Cari

Yet life does go on. Our lives continue. And if it helps, we can adopt other pets to help fill the voids. New pets aren’t the exact images of those we lost, but they can take up time—and love.

Why am I writing on this topic? Well, those of you who read my Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries, are somewhat familiar with Lexie, my tricolor Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who was kind of featured in those stories. Kendra was a lawyer living in the Hollywood Hills with her own Lexie. I was practicing law at the time, and I live in the Hollywood Hills.

My Lexie left us last October. That crushed our remaining Cavalier, Mystie, a red-and-white Blenheim, but she stepped up and seemed to like being the only dog of the house for a while. But I believed she needed a new companion, especially at times when we travel. As a result, we recently adopted Cari, another tricolor Cavalier. A puppy. A very energetic puppy. Quite different from our aging but wonderful Lexie. And though it’s taken a little time, Mystie and she are now great buddies, too.

So, yes, life goes on. The sounds of their playing interrupt my writing often, but that’s okay. They’re there, and they’re there for me.

I know the protagonist of my Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries, Carrie Kennersly, truly cares about her own dog Biscuit and also those other pets in Knobcone Heights, the town where she lives, since she owns a Barkery, where she sells healthy dog treats she developed as a veterinary technician. She remains a part-time vet tech and also owns a human bakery. Her latest adventure is memorialized in Bad to the Bone, a May 2017 release.

To enter to win a copy of Bad to the Bone, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “bone,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 3, 2017. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section.

Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:

You can also use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:

Linda O. Johnston, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, currently writes the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries for Midnight Ink, and has also written the Superstition Mysteries. Linda additionally wrote the Pet Rescue Mystery Series, a spinoff from her Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime, and also currently writes for Harlequin Romantic Suspense as well as the Alpha Force paranormal romance miniseries about shapeshifters for Harlequin Nocturne. Please visit Linda at her website: and friend her on Facebook:

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases using those links. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Now the song “Bad to the Bone” is playing in my head. Thanks for the chance to win and read.

  2. The books that I have read by her have been great – thanks for all the information on this one! And, double thanks for offering it to us! Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

  3. I would love to win this book! It has a awesome theme. Amazing series.

  4. I love pets and cozies.

  5. Linda O. Johnston’s series is a fun read. I enjoy her covers since I grew up with Boston Terriers. My fingers are crossed I might get lucky to win. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

  6. That’s sad about your dog, glad you got another to be friends with mystie.

  7. Great author! I would love to win her book! Thanks for the chance this week! lindaherold999(at)gmail(dot)com

  8. This is a wonderful article. I am glad your book features pets and the plot sounds great too…writing like this kind of honors those pets…thank you for the contest.

  9. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of Bad To The Bone. The books sounds interesting.

  10. Nothing makes a book better than including pets in it! Thanks for a chance to win the book!

  11. Nice review. Thanks for the chance to win.

  12. I have enjoyed the Kendra Ballantyne and Pet Rescue mysteries by Ms. Jonnston and would like to start this one. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

  13. I would love the chance to win and post reviews on a few sites such as amazon and goodreads thank you for the review it was so good!

  14. would love to read this book, sounds amazing!


  15. This was a nice post about the love we have for our pets. My dog is my constant writing companion and makes every day more joyful. You’ve done a wonderful thing by honoring these important family members in your books! Congratulations on the new release.

  16. I love the sound of this book and I can’t wait to read. Love stories featuring animals in the storyline. Great cover.

  17. This book looks fantastic and I love the cover 🙂

    heatheranne99 at gmail dot com

  18. Great article! Pets can offer lots of love in your life and there is a big hole when they are gone.

  19. We have a winner!


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