by Terrance V. Mc Arthur
Details on how to win a copy of The More The Terrier at the end of this review!
Book covers are interesting things. They have to entice you into wanting to buy that book with promises of what lies within, yet they shouldn’t give away the plot. Satisfying both requirements is a delicate task, like giving a massage to a porcupine.
The cover of The More the Terrier, a Pet Rescue Mystery by Linda O. Johnston, shows a quartet of spunky puppies escaping from a cellar by climbing a leaning floor lamp, scampering over the lampshade, and scurrying out a semi-open window. It’s similar to the cover of Johnston’s Beaglemania, but it has little connection to the book. There are no resourceful doggies escaping from nefarious dognappers. There are no conversations of the canine kind between the pups like, “Move your paws, Binky! If we don’t get out of here before Queen Pupzilla comes back, we’ll be puppy chow for sure!”
What there is…is a serious look at the problem of pet hoarding, those people who think they are helping save animals by taking care of them, to the point that their home becomes a foul-smelling, filthy pit of ill-nourished, unhealthy creatures.
Lauren Vancouver is the manager of HotRescue, a shelter bankrolled by a mega-rich pet-supply retailer. She gets a call for help from Mamie, the woman who mentored her when she was introduced to the world of pet rescue. Mamie has become a hoarder, keeping animals in unsafe conditions, partly triggered by not getting Lauren’s job, which Mamie had really wanted. The pet hoarder turned to Lauren when threatened with exposure by Bethany Urber, who runs a network of shelters. When Bethany is found dead, with Mamie holding the gun, Mamie is in deep kibble.
To help her former friend, who might be a present killer, Lauren begins snooping outside the police investigation, looking at ex-husbands, the boy-toy-actor-waiter lover, shelter owners who joined the network due to Bethany’s underhanded maneuvers, and the assistant who has assumed the reins without the style, but with the same pressure tactics.
This is in the Los Angeles area, so she spends a lot of time driving the freeways, when she isn’t prying into her security chief’s boyfriend’s connections with the police investigation, and spending time with the Animal Service officer she met when she was a murder suspect in Beaglemania.
On top of that, someone is dumping animals at the shelter with notes saying they are from owners who can’t care for them, and Lauren tours the shelter and walks her dog—a lot.
The best storyline is Lauren’s effort to deal with the pet hoarding, coordinate rescue efforts, and redirect Mamie’s love of animals without letting her lapse back into crazy-pet-lady behavior. The murder and the pet-dumping are handled nicely, but the world of pet rescue is the niche that this cozy explores with love and commitment.
If only the cover of the book was closer to the story it holds—but everybody knows you can’t judge a book by its cover! Read and enjoy, and support your local no-kill shelters.
To enter to win a copy of The More The Terrier, simply email KRL at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Terrier”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 17, 2011. U.S. residents only.
If you love mysteries, why not check out Left Coast Crime:
Mystery Conference in Sacramento, March 29-April 1, 2012.Registration through 12/31/2011 is only $210 (it goes up to $225 after that). Registration information can be found at the conventionwebsite, or by sending an email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.