The first thing to know about freelance canine reporter/sleuth Holly Winter (The Wicked Flea, 2002, etc.) is that she sees no happenstance in dog being “god” spelled backwards. Because Holly worships man’s best friend—not only her matchless pair of Alaskan malamutes, but virtually every pooch, right or wrong, that ever barked up a tree—she allows herself to begin a relationship she never could have predicted. That Enzio Guarini, Massachusetts’s leading crime boss, has spent decades filling body bags is certainly true and, she acknowledges, certainly reprehensible, but clearly the man has an upside: He’s a fellow fanatic. Redeemed by Holly’s own obsession, Guarini, in addition, has an irresistible four-month-old elkhound brimming with adorable puppy energy. In fact, the boss has been a devoted reader of Holly on puppy training and is convinced she’s nonpareil. Willy-nilly, then, she becomes dog-trainer to the mob and an object of interest to the FBI, and two grim-looking feebies materialize on her doorstep with covert listening devices and veiled threats. Holly, refusing to plant the devices and determined to ignore the threats, is soon the bone of contention between snarling, teeth-baring enemies. A couple of corpses complicate matters scarily, a precious malamute is almost stolen, Holly’s love life takes a serious hit, and she herself has a near-death experience, but, as the fans she’s garnered over 15 novels can testify, Holly hangs in doggedly.
Amiability and wit enough to entertain even dog dilettantes. For canophiles, a must.