Drop Dead on Recall by Sheila Webster Boneham is the first book in the new “An Animals in Focus” mystery series. Publisher: Midnight Ink, October 2012
When a top-ranked competitor keels over at a dog obedience trial, photographer Janet MacPhail is swept up in a maelstrom of suspicion, jealousy, cut-throat competition, death threats, pet-napping, and murder. She becomes a “person of interest” to the police, and apparently to major hunk Tom Saunders as well. As if murder and the threat of impending romance aren’t enough to drive her bonkers, Janet has to move her mother into a nursing home, and the old lady isn’t going quietly. Janet finds solace in her Australian Shepherd, Jay, her tabby cat, Leo, and her eccentric neighbor, Goldie Sunshine. Then two other “persons of interest” die, Jay’s life is threatened, Leo disappears, and Janet’s search for the truth threatens to leave her own life underdeveloped – for good.
When a competitor suddenly dies, the cops suspect foul play and soon it becomes apparent that a member of Janet’s dog competitive group is a killer and with Janet assisting the police, she becomes a threat to the killer who will do anything to keep her dog-tied.
This was a good read. The story was fast and easy and I enjoyed the insider’s view of competitive dog training and botany. The mystery was good as it kept me turning the pages to see what happens next. Janet is a formidable heroine whose concerns for the dogs prompted her sleuthing and when her own pets are targeted, nothing will stop her until the person is apprehended. We got to see two sides of Janet as she deals with her mother’s health issues and the blossoming friendship she has with fellow dog lover, Tom. I also loved the internal conversations she has which added humor to the story. The author did a good job in delivering an exciting story and I look forward to the next book in this enjoyable new series that is a welcome addition to the cozy genre.