Tuesday, April 24, 2012

BEAGLEMANIA by Linda O. Johnston

A Pet Rescue Mystery
Publisher: Berkley
Date published: March 2011
ISBN 9780425240212
Mass Market Paperback
Cozy mystery
Reviewed by Valerie
Obtained by publisher

Lauren Vancouver helps to rescue four sweet beagle puppies that had been dumped down a drainpipe, while helping to shut down a puppy mill.Lauren is the boss of HotRescues, an animal shelter that doesn’t put down its guests.Lauren is certain she knows the culprit who dumped the puppies as he has a history of abusing dogs.Efram Kiley, one of the mill’s workers shows up at HotRescues to cause trouble for Lauren.Efram had been a volunteer helper at the shelter but no longer.Then Lauren becomes the prime suspect when Efram is found dead at the shelter.She realizes that the police are not looking much further than her, so she needs to find the killer before she lands in a cage herself.

I have given this book a three heart rating, even though I did not find it a particularly such a great story.I think that lovers of animals will enjoy the behind scenes of the workings of an animal shelter but other than that, I found the mystery rather predictable.I found the characters a bit two-dimensional and the romance not really well developed.As this is the first book in a new series, perhaps things will pick up in later books.Some of the things Lauren did while investigating the crime had me scratching my head.As an intelligent person who is divorced, has two college kids and is an administrator, some of her actions did raise some questions.Still, I think fans of cozy mysteries will enjoy this book and especially those who are firm supporters of animal rescue.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this review.

Reviewed by Gina

When I saw the cover of Linda O. Johnston’s BEAGLEMANIA I couldn’t resist. Absolutely adorable, cuddly beagles grace the cover and they convey the total impishness of puppies. I anticipated a story that had these little cuties as a big part of the telling. While the beginning of the book has the rescue of some beagle pups and the mom shows up later there isn’t a whole lot that has to do with beagles.

That said, it is about dogs, and a few cats, and what wonderful companions they are. How they are loving, affectionate, forgiving, cuddling and how people can do them wrong. I liked Lauren Vancouver, the heroine’s, devotion to protecting the animals that resided in her shelter while they waited for new homes. I enjoyed the parts of the book that dealt with the animals.

I didn’t find the heroine all that engaging and struggled with the leap to her being suspect #1. Yeah, she’s standing over the deceased’s body but even after going back and re-reading the pages leading up to it I didn’t see why she was automatically suspect #1 other than she needed to be to kick off the series. There were threads that became repetitious—that her first husband was a one of a kind super guy and husband #2 left a lot to be desired. The explanations about caller ID on her Blackberry pulled me out of the story—you either have it or you don’t. There were any number of times I wondered if the author began to write the book and something came up and she had to put it down for a period of time and then picked it up again and didn’t re-read or remember what she’d written before. There were a few more leaps but none as big as her being the main suspect. This came up several times with the reminders that she wasn’t sure if she wanted another dog or not.

There were a few times I felt like I started the story in the middle and somehow didn’t have the first part of the book when it came to Efram. I suspect he was a character in one of the earlier books that are part of Ms. Johnston’s prior series. It would have helped to have just a bit of his backstory so we know why he is at HotRescues.

This was my first of Ms. Johnston’s books. I like a good cozy mystery and plan to pick up the earlier series. BEAGLEMANIA wasn’t a horrible read by any means. If you are looking for something quick and easy to read it’s a good bet.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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