Tag Archives: Linda O. Johnston

The More The Terrier by Linda O. Johnston

The More The Terrier by Linda O. Johnston is the second book in the “Pet Rescue” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin), October 2011

Shelter manager Lauren Vancouver, has taught herself a new trick: sleuthing. Now she has a chance to hone her skills, as animal hoarding leads to one less human life.

When Lauren finds out that her old mentor, Mamie Spelling, is an animal hoarder, no one is more shocked, and she jumps in to help rehome the cramped critters. But Mamie’s troubles don’t end there. She’s accused of murder when the CEO of a pet shelter network is found dead. The aggressive businesswoman was bullying Mamie to join her organization by threatening to expose her hoarding, but that was before Lauren took control of the situation. Now Lauren’s dogged determination to clear her former friend of murder may put a killer on her tail.

When her old mentor is accused of murder, Lauren is determined to help her out despite what she is doing to the animals in her care. The topic of animal hoarding was very interesting and I liked how it was woven with the plot. It was a good mystery with a strong heroine who knows what to do to right a wrong. This was an enjoyable read and I look forward to the next book in this adorable series.

A Day In The Life Of Lauren Vancouver by Linda O. Johnston

Hello. I’m Lauren Vancouver. Who am I? Well, I save pets.

That’s the most important thing to me–except for my two college-age kids, of course. But they understand how their mother is driven to take care of homeless or abused animals and find them new forever homes. Plus, I adore my own dog Zoey, a beautiful, smart Border collie-Australian shepherd mix.

I was chosen to run a wonderful no-kill private pet shelter in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. HotRescues is fortunate enough to have been founded by Dante DeFrancisco, the wealthy magnate who runs the large pet store chain HotPets, so unlike most shelters we don’t lack for funds.

How was I chosen? Well, some of that story is told in THE MORE THE TERRIER. That’s the newest in the Pet Rescue Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime–and in it I learn that my former mentor Mamie Spelling has become an animal hoarder. I’m horrified, of course, but help to save all the animals. Someone threatening Mamie is killed, and I have to help to clear her. She’s growing older and confused, and she’s cruel to animals without intending to harm them. I don’t believe she’s a murderer.

I suppose I’m the center of the Pet Rescue Mysteries, not that I’m looking for pats on the back or publicity–except to the extent any of that makes people aware of the plight of animals and helps to save some pets’ lives.

But you want to hear about a typical day in my life. It starts at my home in Porter Ranch, not far from the Granada Hills location of HotRescues. Zoey and I wake up and eat breakfast, and I take her for a walk in our neighborhood. Then we both go to HotRescues.

I’m often the first human there except for our overnight security person, but I soon run into our handyman Pete as he arrives and starts toting food bags for our wonderful inhabitants. Our shelter is undergoing an expansion, so we will soon have room to save a lot more animals, which will make me feel really good.

My office is in the main building at the front of HotRescues. I say hi to whatever greeter is in our welcome area, although usually no one arrives for a while after I get there. Then Zoey and I go for a walk through the entire HotRescues grounds, saying hi to the medium and large sized dogs whose kennels front on outdoor pathways, then going inside to visit with our smaller dogs and the cats.

As the day progresses, our volunteers and staff arrive. On good days, we also have a lot of visitors interested in meeting and, we hope, adopting a dog or cat. We screen them carefully, of course. Only people who will provide good homes are wanted.

Every day is different. Sometimes we hold staff meetings. Sometimes I go with Pete or others to a local public shelter to bring in new animals to care for until they’re adopted–saving as many lives as we can, since we are a no-kill shelter and the public ones are not.

There’s a guy who’s with L.A. Animal Services who’s pretty special to me–Captain Matthew Kingston. He’s in charge of the Small Animal Rescue Team and other organizations within the system, and he also keeps me informed about wonderful animals about to be “euthanized”–much too kind a word–for lack of space so I can come to save them or contact other shelter managers for help.

Sometimes I have dinner with Matt. Sometimes I get together with my good friend Dr. Carlie Stellan–a veterinarian you may have heard of, with a wonderful TV show.

Eventually, Zoey and I head home. The same schedule usually fits the next day. And the next. My job is my life and my passion, and if I’m there seven days a week, that’s the way it is.

I’d just as soon not get involved with solving murders, but I never shirk from anything needed to help myself, my animals and my friends.

If you love pets and can provide a good home, be sure to adopt some. Pets quickly become family members.
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You can read more about Lauren and how she helps to save rescue pets in THE MORE THE TERRIER, the second book in the “Pet Rescue” mystery series. The first book in the series is BEAGLEMANIA.

Linda O. Johnston writes the “Pet Rescue” mysteries, a spinoff series from the Kendra Ballantyne, “Pet-Sitter” mystery series. She also writes the “Alpha Force” miniseries for Harlequin Nocturne, about a covert unit of shapeshifters. Visit Linda at www.LindaOJohnston.com

** To celebrate the release of THE MORE THE TERRIER, I’m giving away one copy of the book, thanks to the publisher. To enter, you must leave a valid e-mail address in the comment box with your comment. This is open only to US addresses at the publisher’s request. Contest ends on October 11th at 6pm EST. Winner will be notified by e-mail and has 2 days to respond. The book will be shipped directly from the publisher. **

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

Beaglemania by Linda O. Johnston

Beaglemania by Linda O. Johnston is the first book in the new “Pet Rescue” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin), March 2011

Lauren Vancouver is the head of HotRescues, a no-kill animal shelter north of Los Angeles, but it’s often human nature that puts her in the path of danger.

At a particularly nasty puppy mill, Lauren helps rescue four adorable beagle puppies that were dumped down a drainpipe, and she’s pretty sure she knows who is responsible. Efram Kiley, one of the mill’s employees, has a history of dog abuse. And it seems he has a bone to pick with Lauren, because he soon shows up at HotRescues and stirs up trouble by threatening her. When Efram is found dead at the shelter, Lauren becomes the prime suspect, and she’ll have to sniff out the real killer to keep herself out of a cage–for life.

Lauren Vancouver runs the local no-kill animal shelter and after a volunteer worker is fired, she finds his dead body and becomes prime suspect when it is learned they had a threatening confrontation. Believing that the police are not looking at anyone else, Lauren begins an investigation of her own to clear her name. The mystery kept me on my toes and I enjoyed watching Lauren sink her teeth into this case without fear of being bitten. There were some personal insights into Lauren and a hint of a romance on the horizon. The author’s love of saving animals was evident as we learn the needs of re-homing and finding new adoptive homes for animals living in shelters. I can’t wait to read the next book in this pet-friendly series.

FTC Full Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of this book

previously posted on the Cozy Chicks blog

Feline Fatale by Linda O. Johnston

Feline Fatale by Linda O. Johnston is the 9th book in the “Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin), July 2010

For L.A. attorney and pet-sitter Kendra Ballantyne, Esq., murders pop up at the most inconvenient times. Forget cats and dogs—the war between pet-lovers and pet-haters is anything but cute and cuddly.

When Kendra visits the condo of her friend and fellow pet-sitter Wanda, she sets off a squabble over the building’s animal policy. One week later, Wanda discovers anti-pet board member Margaret Shiler dead in her apartment. The only witness to this catastrophic crime is Lady Cuddles—an escape artist of a cat who’s always sneaking out of her owner’s apartment and straight into trouble.

Of course, Margaret has enemies—an ex-husband, a disgruntled contractor—but the police have Wanda in their sights. Kendra begins sniffing around for the real killer, but her sexy beau, pet supply magnate Dante DeFrancisco, wants her to stay out of harm’s way—maybe even settle down with him. Torn between love and loyalty, Kendra needs to find a way to clear her friend’s name without losing the man of her dreams.

Just doing a favor for a fellow pet-sitter and things run amok. A cat that slips out. A neighbor who hates pets. These are the thing confronting Kendra when she looks in on her friend’s charges. When her friend becomes the primary suspect in said pet-hater’s death, Kendra doggedly jump into finding the killer, while trying to stay out of harm’s way. This was an quick read and light fare that satisfied my reading pleasure. My rating: 4 stars

Howl Deadly by Linda O. Johnston

Howl Deadly by Linda O. Johnston is the 8th book in the “Kendra Ballantyne” cozy mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin), December 2009

L.A. attorney and pet-sitter Kenda Ballantyne lives up to her “murder magnet” nickname when a sexy weekend in the San Bernandino Mountains turns deadly. And worst of all, she suspects that her beau knows more then he’s telling.

Kendra’s steamy weekend getaway with gorgeous millionaire Dante DeFrancisco turns chilling when a mother wolf goes missing from Dante’s wild animal sanctuary—and the only thing that is found is the wolf’s caretaker dead in a cage, with a bloody knife at his side.

No stranger to murder, Kendra starts hunting for suspects. Was it an angry local? A sanctuary volunteer? Or worst of all, Dante and his movie-star pal, who apparently share a mysterious past—and enigmatic ties to the victim? Now Kendra must find the escaped wolf—along with the killer hiding right before her eyes.

A missing mama wolf, two legal cases and her pet-sitting duties keeps Kendra busy especially when one of the caretakers at the wildlife sanctuary is found dead. Using her investigative skills, Kendra ferrets out the killer. This was an enjoyable mystery with light romance. My rating: 4 stars