by Cynthia Chow
Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.
Who knew that sheep rustling was still a thing? While professional photographer Janet MacPhail is at the Northeast Indiana Herding Club's Dogs of Spring event working toward a herding certificate for Jay, her Australian Shepherd. Over a dozen ewes and wethers go missing when Summer Winslow provides her animals to be herded by aspiring canines. Although the angelic side of Janet knows that she should mind her own business, her discovery of the body of a stock handler makes it inevitable that Janet’s more devilish inclinations will take over and have her meddling in sheep theft, identify confusion, and murder.
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This is but the starting point of a very funny mystery devoted to animals and their people. Janet is an intelligent and talented photographer, but she is struggling to define her relationship with Tom Saunders. “Boyfriend” is too juvenile for this fifty-something couple, and “lover” is far too icky. As much as Janet loves the sexy Indiana University anthropology professor, giving up her independence and autonomy is proving to be difficult and not entirely desirable.
There will be a wedding in Janet's near future; just not the one readers might expect. Somehow these otherwise-rational characters continue to get themselves into farcical situations, yet the comedy never overshadows some very serious topics. The author doesn’t shy away from shining a light on both sides of animal and pet advocacy. While animal rights' extremists who "liberate" pets are naively endangering their lives, a proposed bill could oppressively restrict the number of pets in every household. The latter could threaten Janet's home life, as her family includes Jay as well as the two felines Pixel and Leo.
Still, it might give her an excuse from taking a step forward with Tom and his similarly pet-filled household. This fourth in the series brings back familiar characters and continues to focus as much on humor as on the beloved animals. Solid writing and unexpected plot twists help make this series a delightfully fun and rewarding read.
To enter to win a copy of Shepherd's Crook, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Shepherd,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 10, 2015. If entering via email please include your mailing address.
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