I am pleased to offer today a review written by Gloria Feit. I read the first book in this series and I look forward to reading the rest.
This is the fourth entry in Sandra Parshall’s Agatha Award-winning
series, which brings back Rachel Goddard, veterinarian in Mason
County, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where there has been
a rash of mysterious disappearances of family pets from all over the
area, posters of which cover the walls of Rachel’s animal hospital.
At the same time, reports have been coming in of a pack of feral dogs
attacking ranches and homes at night, stealing eggs and killing
chickens, threatening the safety of the homeowners and the local
farmers’ livestock, and causing somewhat of a panic among the
citizenry. Some of them are up in arms, literally, and want nothing
more than to form hunting parties, rifles at the ready, to find and
kill the animals. Rachel has other plans: She is setting up a
sanctuary, where she can house the animals and try to get them to bond
again with humans, rather than the other members of the pack.
The stakes suddenly escalate in fast and furious manner when a local
man is viciously killed, and when it appears that an animal is to
blame, those already planning to hunt them down become crazed. But
Chief Deputy Sheriff Tom Bridger, with whom Rachel has been living for
the past month, sees the evidence as pointing to a human killer who
uses a trained and vicious dog as his weapon. The powerful novel
details some very real horrors and ugliness in our society [a hint of
which was provided in real life by football player Michael Vick].
The ensuing investigation and chase becomes more and more complex:
The victim was not without enemies, outside of and perhaps within his
own household, which includes several adopted children and not a small
amount of animosity. The author has created some beautifully drawn
characters, who come vibrantly alive in the hands of a terrific
storyteller. The suspense mounts to very high levels as the tale
draws to an end, much too soon. I loved it, and it is highly
recommended. [It should perhaps be noted that the book is also
available in trade paperback, $14.95, and as an e-book]
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