Friday, April 1, 2011

A Review of "Beaglemania" [23]

Beaglemania (A Pet Rescue Mystery) by Linda O.Johnston
Berkley, ISBN 978-0425240212
March 1, 2100, 304 pages

Ok, once again I was totally roped in by the cute little doggies on the cover.
What can I say..a cute puppy melts my heart.

Now if we had actually had more of those little beagles in the story...or more of any of the doggies...I might have been a toatlaly happy camper. As it was, I am a partially happy camper.
So first, before I get to the pluses and negatives, what is the book about?

Lauren Vancouver is the head of HotRescues, a wonderful, no-kill animal shelter in an area just north of Los Angeles. And she is soon at the center of a murder and the number one suspect.

As the book opens, she hears word that a puppy mill is about to be raided by local animal control officers and shows up to see if she can help. She arrives to find one of her shelter employees, working with her to fulfill a court order because of his history of dog abuse, there and connected to the horrible puppy mill in an unknown way. Of course, she now wants this man nowhere near her facilities, angry words are exchanged, he threatens her and the when he turns up death, murdered, right in the midst of the kennels, and Lauren is standing there over the body, when police arrive, things look a bit bad.

As you may have noticed, I am a sucker for a nice doggie. There are a number of nice doggies in this book and it is at it's most appealing when they are front and center. Oddly, those beagle on the cover don't make much of an appearance, a loss for the book.
But enough about the dogs...what about the people characters? Well Lauren is appealing enough, although her tendency to get a little preachy gets a little old. The information about dogs and shelters and such is very interesting, but sometimes how we are given that information is a little like a lecture. Aside from her dog work, when we see her as a divorced mother of two college age children, with Dante DeFrancisco, the pet store millionaire who is the financial support behind her shelter, when we see her as a friend to her co-workers and in a growing romance with the Small Animal Rescue Team leader, Captain Matt Kingston, she is quite interesting, as are most of the minor characters in the book.
On the other hand, as to the mystery central to the book, the murder of Efram Kiley, things are not quite as good. The story is a bit disjointed and a bit rambling and. honestly, if it weren't for the dogs I would have lost interest before the murderer is at last revealed. And by that point, I was more interested in seeing how Matt and Lauren and their relationship would make out, than who had killed a character I was that connected to to begin with.

Bottom line, it is a pleasant, cozy mystery..a little light on the mystery.
I think this first book in a new series has some appealing characters, a great, interesting setting in the world of animal rescue, with a lot of great story possibilities but with a rather weak mystery that does not really provide the strong center for the book that it should. Entertaining but not all it could be.

In the spirit of disclosure, I receive a copy of this book from the publisher in a contest on the website of Pudgy Penguin Perusals.


  1. I wanted to read that one because of the cute cover too - sorry to see it didn't live up to its promise.

  2. Hmmm, I'm with you. Put canine cuteness on the cover and I want to read it. My sister and BIL have beagles so this might still make a good gift. They're both avid readers. Did you read The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein? Another cute dog on the cover and one of the most depressing books ever!

  3. Oh that cover is irresistible. Too bad it didn't live up to the promise of that photo,

  4. Awwwww . . . I'm sorry this wasn't as good as you hoped. Hopefully the next one will be better.

  5. ya know, it wasn't bad and I liked the setting and the characters, so there is hope.

  6. The cozy mystery genre is so specified isn't it? It's the one genre that gets so can find cozy mysteries about quilting, pet rescue, baking, gardening, etc, etc. Which is kind of neat. But it also means that the market in that narrow specification usually doesn't have a lot of competition, lol.

    It's a great concept, just sounds like a so-so execution. Thanks for writing about it...


please speak up, I LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!!