UNDER THE DOG STAR – Sandra Parshall

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]

[alt. e-mail: gloriafeit@att.net, glfeit@yahoo.com]

Gloria Feit
260 Franklin Blvd.
Long Beach, NY 11561

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4 Responses to UNDER THE DOG STAR – Sandra Parshall

  1. harvee says:

    Murder by dog…scary but looks like a good mystery.

  2. Beth says:

    Murder by dog isn’t likely to make it in this house. We have always has two dogs who run the house. The terrier we have now, if he decided to commute murder, is too clever to leave his paw prints at the scene.

  3. This is something that happens more often than we think. Most of the time its not even reported. Its just a shame when people teach a beautiful animal to be mean and hurt others. The biggest of which is the Pit Bull. Of course, any dog can attack someone, but mostly its because people think their just playing with them, when they are aggravating the pet. I believe they attack because they don’t feel good, or have had enough of playtime. I do have a copy of this book but have’nt read it yet do to the fact I want to read the others in the series, first.

  4. Beth says:

    Some dogs are bred to be vicious; dogs who are difficult are bred with dogs who are the same. Dog fighting may be underground but that makes it more profitable.

    We always have rescues. A few years ago we had a Doberman who hadn’t been docked or cropped ( tail and ears hadn’t been cut). When I told the woman that I thought it was a cruel practice, she said we could have him because everyone else wanted him to be angry. He thought he was a cat. He sat in my husband’s lap so they could watch TV together. He was a lot of dog for the lap. He looked scary so he didn’t have to be scary. We got him, when he was six months old and we had him for thirteen years. The only problem we had with him stemmed from his belief that everything in the yard was his. If the kids left a toy, he either ripped it apart or he claimed it as his own.

    We found that having two dogs kept each healthier because they had a playmate to chase. The Doberman’s partner was a female Lab-Setter mix. She was the boss and he never took any chances with her. She would leave her food until she was ready to dine. He tried to eat her food once. She growled and he never tried again.

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