Tuesday, April 24, 2012

THE MORE THE TERRIER by Linda O. Johnston

Publisher: Berkley
Date published: October 4, 2011
ISBN 9780425243794
Cozy Mystery
Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Gina
Obtained Via Publisher

Pet rescue administrator Lauren Vancouver’s life has settled down after she was being accused of murder not so long ago. She’s happily running HotRescues, her no kill shelter, dating animal services captain, Matt Kingston, her dog Zoey is a constant companion and her kids are doing well in school. Yes, life is good—settled, happy and peaceful. What more could a woman want? Certainly not a mysterious phone call from a former mentor asking for help. So when that mentor, Mamie Spelling calls her, despite misgivings, Lauren heads over to visit the other woman’s pet rescue shelter. What Lauren finds there angers her: Mamie is a hoarder. She has more animals than she can care for and many of them aren’t in the best shape. Lauren calls Matt for advice and animal services arrive to take the myriad cats, dogs and assorted others to safety. Before they can complete the rescue however, Bethany Urber arrives on scene.

Bethany heads up an organization called Better Than Any and is the mastermind behind a consortium of pet rescue shelters. The thing about Bethany though is that if someone doesn’t come on board her consortium from the git go, she bullies and blackmails them into joining. When Mamie refused to join, Bethany threatened her with exposure of the hoarded animals. A heartbroken Mamie watches as her pets are taken from her one by one even as Bethany plans a meeting to discuss the horrors of hoarding. When Mamie is found standing over Bethany’s body what can the police conclude but that Mamie is behind Bethany’s murder?

In THE MORE THE TERRIER Linda O. Johnston tackles the often misunderstood psychological disorder of hoarding. Like Lauren, many people are appalled and disgusted by the hoarder’s behavior. Some feel pity. Others like Matt understand their illness while others, like Bethany prey upon and revile them. Ms. Johnston depicts these and many of the other reactions people have to hoarders and she does it well. She takes the reader into each of the reactions and at the same time, builds compassion for Mamie and those that suffer as she does.

I personally didn’t like Bethany and there was a part of me who didn’t feel bad for her when she died. Bad of me, I know, but she wasn’t a likeable person and she did emotionally batter people who only wanted to help animals.

At points there was just a little too much personal backstory—personal from Lauren’s point of view, however this was a much stronger story than the first in this series, BEAGLEMANIA. Davie, a teenager in the story came off more like a junior high or younger boy than high school age. At times I wondered if Davie may have had a learning disability or be developmentally delayed. It would be nice to see him in a future story that centers around one of those disabilities and how working with animals can be such a benefit to them. With BEAGLEMANIA several times I felt like an outsider or that I missed something in the book. Not so with THE MORE THE TERRIER. There are no gaps or leaps to different conclusions but an enjoyable read.

I enjoyed the development of Matt and Lauren’s relationship—it isn’t being hurried or plunged into marriage but is given time to grow. I am now looking forward to the third book in this series, HOUNDS ABOUND.

THE MORE THE TERRIER and BEAGLEMANIA are standalone stories and you do not have to read one before the other to feel like you are part of the action, it just makes it more enjoyable to do so.

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

No comments: