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.
As 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.
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.
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.
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