Genre: cozy mystery
Lauren Vancouver is the head of HotRescues, a no-kill animal shelter north of Los Angeles, but it's often human nature that puts her in the path of danger.
At a particularly nasty puppy mill, Lauren helps rescue four adorable beagle puppies that were dumped down a drainpipe, and she’s pretty sure who is responsible. Efram Kiley, one of the mill’s employees, has a history of dog abuse. And it seems he a bone to pick with Lauren, because he soon shows up at HotRescues and stirs up trouble by threatening her. When Efram is found dead at the shelter, Lauren becomes the prime suspect, and she’ll have to sniff out the real killer to keep herself out of a cage – for life...
When Laurel Vancouver is tipped off about an upcoming police raid on a puppy mill, she immediately goes there to help with saving the animals. When she sees her “volunteer” Efram Kiley working in the mill, she gets very mad at him. Efram gets paid to work at her shelter to learn how to handle pets with kindness, after he reported his missing dog and it was discovered as an abused animal. But Lauren had already found the dog a new and loving home. And now she has caught him red-handed, which is reason enough to make sure Dante stops the payments and to kick him out of HotRescues.
But Efram doesn’t like that at all, and he threatens Lauren, the other employees, and the animals in the shelter. Lauren sure is not happy with that, and is glad someone can help her kick him out, but still, she decides to spend the night at the shelter, to make sure everything is all right. When Lauren wakes up to the dogs incessant barking, she sets out to investigate, to find Efram’s body on the floor. When she tries to find out if he is still alive or not, she is caught redhanded by the police, who were alerted by the alarm company. And so Lauren becomes the nr 1 suspect.
When other nasty things keep happening at the shelter, all trying to make Lauren look bad, there is just one solution: find out who the killer is herself, as both the police or her security firm are not doing anything at all to help her.
I was hesitant about starting this series. I do like animals, but I cannot handle cruelty against animals. You can do whatever you want with people, even children, and I could not care less. But don’t touch animals in the wrong way. So, even though they are not abused in the book, there are dogs in this book that have been abused and are nursed and trained back to health.
I had a difficult time reading this book. I just did not like Lauren, and usually I do like heroines closer to my own age, who are confident and able to handle everything life throws at them. Lauren was very controlling; she kept repeating that after her first marriage with the love of her life, and the second disastrous marriage to a cheating lowlife, she was not interested in dating and men at all. But she does kiss the hot police officer a few times. And the thing that kept bugging me the most was the many, many mentions of her Blackberry.
Also, those lovely beagle puppies on the cover are only mentioned in the first chapter of the book, when they are rescued (not by Lauren!) and are not even residing in her shelter but in a public one. The main characters of another series by Linda O. Johnston play a big part in this book, which I also did not like as I have not read that series. It is okay if you tell about previous books later on in a series, but don’t tell about previous series please. It would have been better kept completely separate in my opinion.
The book is in first person, also not my favourite POV, and the writing style just was not for me. So, although this really is not a bad book, and the mystery part was not something I could guess soon, I don’t think I am going to read more books in this series.
© 2013 Reviews by Aurian