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Linda O. Johnston: Nothing to Fear but Ferrets


Crescent Blues Book Views Berkley Prime Crime (Paperback), ISBN 0-425-20373-5

Book: linda o johnston, nothing to fear but ferrets
Kendra Ballantyne seems settled in her new profession as pet-sitter, but Kendra knows better than most that looks can be deceiving. She lost her law license after being wrongfully accused of murder. Kendra managed to solve the murder and exonerate herself, but she'll need to spend more time studying for an ethics test if she wants her license back.

She misses her big home too. Pet-sitting obviously doesn't pay as well as arguing in court, so she rents the house to reality TV show star Charlotte and her boy toy Yul. Kendra and her Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Lexie, now inhabit the maid's quarters over the garage.

Then a Hummer rams into the den of the big house, and Kendra finds out her tenants own five cute ferrets -- illegal pets in the state of California. A few days later, after a big party where Charlotte fought with a reality co-star Chad, Kendra finds Chad in the damaged den -- dead and with the ferrets crawling over him, apparently nibbling on his body. The authorities hold the ferrets as tiny suspects, but pet lover Kendra believes them innocent and begins tracking down the real murderer. Along the way, her private investigator boyfriend Jeff asks her to move in, neglecting to mention his ex-wife until she shows up at the doorstep. The authorities begin focusing on Charlotte as the murderer because Charlotte stood to lose all the money she won on the reality show by having any contact with Chad. Others with reasons to do in Chad include friends and reality show stars.

Linda O. Johnston packs lots of action and events into Nothing to Fear but Ferrets. She weaves lots of different plotlines in among the main murder thread. Kendra's pet clients all possess unique personalities, which shine through. Kendra also spends some time helping friends-of-a-friend with some legal disputes, though not officially because she still lacks her license.

Although obviously part of a series with future volumes in the works, this books blatantly sets up the next, a characteristic I hate in both books and movies. Hinting at a sequel doesn't bother me, but really, you don't need to beat me over the head with it. I wish the ferrets ended up with more of a role in the book as I find ferrets fascinating, but they spend most of the book caged at an animal shelter waiting to be evidence, shipped to a ferret rescue organization in another state or possibly euthanized.

Jen Foote

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