To follow up on last Monday’s post about my Rottweilers, today’s Gotta Read ’em is Rottweiler Rescue, a mystery for dog lovers by Ellen O’Connell. This book has been out for a couple years, and I can’t remember where I saw it–maybe on a Yahoo group I’m in that the author is also on. But where ever it was, she had me at the title. The book cover didn’t hurt either. 🙂
In Rottweiler Rescue, Dianne Brennan is a computer trainer who volunteers with a dog rescue organization in her community. One day, she’s delivering a dog to his new owner, and finds the man dead–and the presumed killer escaping out the back. Dianne goes to the police, but someone else goes after Dianne. After a number of scares and suspicious mishaps, Dianne can only conclude that the dog trainer’s killer is after her. The police aren’t getting very far, so Dianne starts looking into things on her own. With her own Rottweiler and Robo, the dog she was in the process of rehoming, in tow, she finds and follows up on her own leads. But the closer she gets to finding answers, the more her quarry retaliates as he continues to elude her.
The book takes us into the fascinating world of dog shows and rescue operations, and of course acquaints us with the dogs themselves. My only criticism of the book is that there is sometimes a lot of detail given in getting Dianne from one place to another–street names, neighborhoods, and landmarks–which aren’t really of interest to someone not familiar with the area, and during which nothing really happens. I don’t read a ton of cozy mysteries, so maybe this is common. However, this is just a minor nitpick–I have read books where it was too much and put the book down. That wasn’t an issue here.
But the best part of the book was the dogs.They weren’t just window-dressing to draw in dog lovers, but were an integral part of the plot. Yet they also didn’t steal the show from Dianne, nor were they over-personified. They were wonderfully and accurately characterized, with Rottweilers’ typical, enthusiastic interactions with people they know, and guarded attitude toward strangers. Yes, there were acts of Rottweiler heroism in the book as well. 🙂 Another aspect I liked was Dianne’s growing relationship with Robo, the rescue dog who’s would-be owner was killed. Robo didn’t have a Rottweiler’s typical, ebullient personality, and instead gave little reaction to anything–a dog that had clearly been abused. Seeing Dianne slowly draw him out and the role he played in the book’s conclusion was particularly rewarding.
The mystery plot itself was satisfying, with a baffling puzzle and appropriate twists, turns, and red herrings. There was also a minor romantic subplot involving Dianne and one of the cops, which added to the enjoyment factor.
If you like dogs, and like reading mysteries, I highly recommend Rottweiler Rescue.
What about you? Do you like books featuring animal characters? And if so, do you prefer them portrayed realistically, or in more of a fantasy?