I like to review books I have really enjoyed. Today’s review is a cozy mystery that features dogs. Brute Strength by Susan Conant is part of her series of dog mysteries.
When I started reading the book, I said, “Ho hum, another dog story.” Fortunately, Susan is an excellent wordsmith. Her writing is entertaining regardless of the topic.
She has more to say in the first page about dogs than people, but by the end of the first chapter the reader has an entire catalog of people who have a motive for doing harm to someone, especially to the heroine, Holly Winter. By the end of the first chapter, we have a dead body. True, the death appears to be the result of a routine traffic accident, but something does not seem right about it. Within the next two chapters, an officer of the Cambridge Dog Training Club dies from liver damage and kidney failure for no apparent reason.
Holly is a dog trainer and volunteer placement screener for the Alaskan Malamute Rescue of Cambridge. Her favorite dogs are malamutes. She becomes fast friends with a new neighbor who happens to own a malamute, but as the book progresses the reader quickly learns this friend and her family are strange even when compared to the cast of exotic characters that Susan has written into her book.
Among all the dog training and dog shows, Gabrielle, Holly’s step mother, finds herself nodding off at the wheel and becomes suspicious. Had someone attempted to murder her? Gabrielle enlists Holly to look into the unexplained deaths. In the process they uncover other unexplained deaths that seem to be linked to Holly’s new friend.
Holly and Gabrielle become worried about possible attempts on their lives. I was beginning to suspect Holly suffered from paranoia when there is an attack on Holly and a surprising heroine rises to the occasion.
Of course, I can not spoil the story for you, but I can assure you that I will be reading more of Susan Conant’s books.