Sunday, April 28, 2013

HOUNDS ABOUND by Linda O. Johnston

Publisher: Berkley
Date published: April 3, 2012
ISBN 9780425247051
Cozy Mystery
Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Gina
Obtained Via Publisher

Pet rescue administrator Lauren Vancouver does all she can to help homeless animals find their forever homes and families, but she can’t save them all. Despite the additions to HotRescues, her no-kill shelter, there are still some animals that need a little something more. When Lauren hears about Save Em, a no kill shelter for frail, elderly and disabled pets that may well not find a home, she is all for the venture. With her friend Carlie they head out to Save Em and meet Bella, the administrator. Lauren instantly finds a kindred spirit in Bella and wants to help the special needs pet shelter succeed. Before she can do much for the shelter, however, she stumbles on a murder. With Save Em’s administrator the prime suspect Lauren has her work cut out for her. Despite her own best intentions and advice from boyfriend Matt, she finds herself in the middle of trying to solve yet another crime. While no one suspect stands out she has a few in her sights. And then the worst that could happen to her does—someone leaves off a highly contagious puppy. It seems that person is looking to hurt Lauren where it will affect her the most—harming the innocent animals at her shelter. Now it falls to Lauren to see if the two crimes are actually part and parcel of the same.

While some of the writing is flat I applaud Ms. Johnston for taking on the subject of special needs pets. Like Dr. Drummond in HOUNDS ABOUND many people feel if a pet is older or somehow infirm they should be put down almost as soon as the diagnosis is in. Having had several of my own special needs pets including one who was considered a hospice kitty I know that it is possible to give these amazing animals a good quality, if not a happy and healthy life despite their disabilities. Lauren as a character may not have much emotion when it comes to the other humans in the story but Ms. Johnston’s own compassion and love comes through when her heroine works with animals.

Book one of Ms. Johnston’s pet rescue series, BEAGLEMANIA had some gaps in it by not providing much of Efram’s back story. HOUNDS ABOUND has a smidge too much. THE MORE THE TERRIER, book 2 has a fabulous balance of back story, current investigation and great characters.

Once again Ms. Johnston shows readers different sides of a story—in THE MORE THE TERRIER she did a wonderful job showing the different reactions people have to hoarding. In HOUNDS ABOUND she does a great job exploring many of the options available for special needs pets.

The pet rescue series does not have to be read in order; each story is a standalone but they do build on one another. I’m enjoying the progression of Lauren and Matt’s relationship—it is just the right amount of romance for a cozy mystery.

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

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