"Think of me as your matchmaker," I said. "Or your adoption social worker. Your advocate. I will do my best to find you the right dog. We're getting a young female from Maine, but I don't know much about her yet. She'll need to be evaluated and vetted. I have no idea how she is with other dogs. Or with cats. But I'll find out." (ch. 7)Title: Brute Strength: A Dog Lover's Mystery by Susan Conant
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Severn House Publishers (August 1, 2011)
Source: borrowed from the library
Comments: When I found out that Susan Conant had written another of her Dog Lover's Mysteries, I headed out to my local library post haste to get a copy of Brute Strength. I had been missing Holly Winters and her Alaskan malamutes, Rowdy, Kimi, and Sammy, who are featured in Conant's earlier books, and, dog lover that I am, was glad to meet them again in the author's nineteenth Dog Lover's Mystery. I was not disappointed. I learned more about dog adoptions, living with strong and independent dogs like malamutes, dog training and dog shows, and I also enjoyed a good mystery.
Synopsis: The main character Holly Winters is a dog trainer and dog writer/columnist in Cambridge Mass. who is actively involved in a malamute dog rescue group. She matches rescue dogs to potential owners to find a good match in personality, habits, proper environment, etc. Things begin to heat up when new neighbors move in next door, her stepmother wants help to train her bichon frise Molly to win her Canine Good Citizenship certificate, Holly has to screen applicants in order to find homes for rescue malamutes, and there are chores waiting to be done that she wants to do herself - climb an extension ladder to paint the outside of her house and fix the drain pipes. Her husband Steve is all for hiring out the paint job, but Holly won't hear of it.
A young woman is killed in a car accident and another man suddenly dies of kidney/liver failure, nasty anonymous phone calls begin to come in to members of the rescue group, and dog owners around her are covetously eyeing Holly's beautifully groomed and trained show dogs. When Holly's stepmother has a close call with death, Holly begins to put two and two together to find out if this was an accident or not. Holly's life is in danger when she comes too close to the truth.
About the author: Susan Conant is a seven time winner of the Dog Writers Association of America's Maxwell Award. She has written 18 other mysteries featuring Holly Winter and her Alaskan malamutes.