Friday, February 6, 2009

Never Say Sty-Linda O. Johnston

Never Say Sty
Linda O. Johnston
Berkley, Apr 2009, $$7.99
ISBN: 9780425227046

She is both a Los Angeles attorney and a pet-sitter, who solved a client’s litigation problem by helping to create the pet reality show Animal Auditions. It is a Survivor type show using animals who are eliminated each week until the last one standing wins a great prize. At a meeting she met tall, dark and handsome Dante De Francisco who owns the chain Hot Pets. Kendra Ballantine is attracted to him and him to her although neither welcomes the feelings.

The first animals to be judged are pot-bellied pigs, who have a sense of smell, which is a key component of the competition. One of the judges mean tempered Sebastian Czykovski who is nasty towards the pigs and their owners. When he is murdered, the detective in charge Howard Wherlon leads the investigation as the usual sleuth has a conflict of interest being a contestant. Ned and his sister Nia are the prime suspects so Ned asks Kendra to help him find the real killer. She, her former lover, his assistant and Dante create an ingenious plan to smoke out the culprit.

Putting aside the fact a professional asks an amateur for help in a murder case, Linda O. Johnson’s latest Pet-Sitter mystery is a refreshing (the normal in this series- see DOUBLE DOG DARE) fascinating whodunit. Still reeling from her break up with PI Jeff Hubbard, Kendra is hesitant to begin a relationship with an also reluctant Dante, who has a secret past that does not exist on record before his military duty. As is typical in this engaging series, the animals steal the show; this time the scenes with the pot-bellied pigs are hilarious as are those with the canines. Fans will enjoy the latest pet sitter caper.

Harriet Klausner

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