Reviewer: Connie Payne
Title: Beaglemania - 1st in the Pet Rescue Mystery series
Author: Linda O. Johnston
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Release Date: March 2011
Genre/Sub-genre: Romantic/Cozy Mystery
Year/Setting: Present day, Los Angeles and surrounding area
Overall Rating: 3.75
Sexual Content Rating: None
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None/Very Mild
Violent Content Rating: Minimal/Moderate
Linda's Website: lindaojohnston.com
Circumstances led Efram Riley to being a "paid" volunteer at HotRescues animal shelter. Lauren Vancouver thought she and her staff had rehabilitated Efram of his pet-abusive ways. Apparently not as he is seriously implicated in a puppy mill and more abusive behavior.
Lauren is on the warpath and wants Efram brought to legal justice. Itís this along with the "false" accusations that cause Efram to threaten Lauren, HotRescues employees, and even their residents.
Fortunately he wonít be carrying out any of his threats. Unfortunately heís dead and Lauren is prime suspect. Detective Garciana has made it clear he thinks she killed Efram as well as set up other accidents and incidents to throw suspicion off herself. No matter what she says she canít get the detective to forget about the other questionable characters, people who may have had motive to kill Efram.
Only one thing to do. Organize a file of potential suspects and investigate the murder herself. Thereís only so much attention HotRescues can take before it becomes bad publicity for her helpless residents.
Beaglemania is a bit slow to start. It pauses from time to time as the author introduces the law enforcement agencies, HotRescues, and even gives us glimpses of Laurenís past. All of which is important for the set-up of the series, but can cause hiccups for the reader.
I absolutely adore my rescued ("rehomed") dog! She has given back so much more than what weíve given her. So I can understand and appreciate that Lauren is quite resolute when it comes to the care and concern of the animals. A quality that is very admirable, but to the by-stander it can seem as if sheís abrupt and a bit unapproachable. The reader needs to see past her chilly demeanor and remember the animals are priority to her. The reader needs to believe and hope that she will relax a bit as and when her next mystery unfolds. If this doesnít happen, Lauren may not be one of the readerís all time favorite characters.
Heartbreakingly animals need advocates as they have no voice; they depend upon their caregivers one hundred percent for love, food, medical care, and shelter. Shame on those who abuse and neglect them and do not take that responsibility seriously. Their plights are our responsibility and should the hue and cry be via an entertainment venue, then Bravo!
Ms. Johnston puzzles the reader with a mystery that is clear in motive yet points the finger at multiple suspects. All in all a mystifying start to a promising, pet-friendly series.
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