PAW OF THE JUNGLE by Diane Kelly


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When animals go missing from a Texas zoo, an officer and her K-9 colleague investigate as the poacher tries to stay under the radar.

Megan Luz lives her love for animals on the job every day as a K-9 officer with the Fort Worth Police. The dog she works with, Brigit, is Megan’s partner, friend, and a voice in interspersed chapters throughout the series (The Long Paw of the Law, 2018, etc.). Further chapters this time are presented from the viewpoint of The Poacher, a man whose identity Megan must uncover. The poaching starts small, with the disappearance of Hyacinth macaws Fabian and Fernando from the zoo. New hire Danny Landis is dismissed over the crime, and though he asserts his innocence, he’s the reader’s most likely suspect, and Megan’s too. Megan’s love of animals spurs her determination to solve the crime as more, larger, and pricier animals go missing. The Poacher, meanwhile, is drawn in surprising detail and given complex motivations, like a family that inspires his criminal escalation, making him more nuanced than a cut-and-dried villain. Though she’s not sure it will help, Megan, along with Brigit, gets an assist from her boyfriend, Seth, whose role as a firefighter and whose own K-9 colleague, Blast, just might give Megan the edge she needs to figure out who’s behind the animal thefts. Crime-fighting aside, sharing insights from the case turns out to be a good way for Megan to connect with Seth, and Brigit with Blast—an ability that’s especially valuable because Seth’s newest paramedic colleague is a cute 20-something with her eye on Seth.

Police officer, K-9 partner, and poacher have complex inner worlds in this tale. Well, police officer and poacher do.

Pub Date: Nov. 26th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-250-19737-5
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2019


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