Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Book Review: The More the Terrier (dogs, shelters, animal hoarding, romance novel wanna-be)

"The More the Terrier: A Pet Rescue Mystery, by Linda Johnston (Berkley Prime Crime, 2011, $7.99, 296 pages)

Too Good To Be True?

Four cute terriers on the cover but I couldn’t find them anywhere inside the book! (I may have come across one of them, though.)

Nevertheless, The More the Terrier is more than just a murder mystery: it introduces us to the problem of  animal hoarding and the world of adopting from dog shelters. You really get a bang for your buck – suspense plus an introductory education that is easy to swallow.

Although the shelters in Los Angeles depicted in Terrier are probably not realistic and may be too good to be true, at least in the 10 years’ experience of this reviewer and shelter worker, Johnston does a noteworthy job of bringing animal hoarding and shelter adoptions to the forefront. After reading Terrier, you just might be moved to drop in to your local shelter. Yippy skippy!

Almost too much was happening in Terrier: the mysterious murder of a shelter director who nobody liked so everyone was a suspect, a former mentor turning out to be an animal hoarder and then having to find shelters for those dogs on the spur of the moment, remodeling and enlarging a shelter, hiring a trainer, planning a fundraising event, two networks of shelter directors in competition with each other, and I’m sure I left out some other simultaneous goings-on. In addition, Vancouver is lucky enough to have a psychologist on staff to interview adopters.

Tee Hee!

Lauren Vancouver is a shelter director and amateur sleuth whose shelter, HotRescues, is funded by the wealthy pet superstore owner of HotPets, with seemingly unlimited funds, just as Vancouver has seemingly unlimited time to meet and approve all prospective adopters and conduct home visits before and after the adoptions. (I kept thinking HotPockets and HotPants rather than HotRescues and HotPets – tee hee!)

The Author, The Books, The Future

Linda Johnston, a lawyer who writes paranormal romances in her spare time, is now the author of two pet rescue mysteries, taking on puppy mills and murder in Beaglemania, and of the 13 pet-sitter mysteries starring Kendra Ballantyne, another murder magnet.  

Perhaps when Johnston writes about labs or golden retrievers, I will read another of her literary attempts but, then again, perhaps not. On the other hand, I must credit her with "tackling" issues like cloning, puppy mills, and animal hoarding.

Unfortunately, success was lacking in keeping my interest. Everyone was equally likely to be the murderer though in the end, it did all fall together but I never did follow just exactly how Vancouver figured out “who done it.” Perhaps you will.

Disclaimer: I purchased this book for review.

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