Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jerjen
Guarded by Mary Behre is a combination of a love story, a mystery, family drama, humor, and animals with paranormal thrown in. All of these aspects are perfectly blended together to create a really great book.
Dr. Shelley Morgan is a veterinarian in a small town clinic/ animal spa. She also has the ability to communicate with animals. If she looks an animal in the eye she can get a telepathic connection. Visions of past activities and scenes flash through her mind that she must decipher to know what the animal is telling her. The only animal that this doesn’t work with are dogs. Most times dogs will try to attack her or run away from her. Shelley doesn’t know why this is but at the end of the book she finds out the reason.
She has a serious problem, the local zoo is losing exotic animals. Shelley is sure that someone is stealing them from the zoo. The latest victims are tiger cubs. She asks her college friend, Dev to come and help her to investigate the thefts. Dev is a police detective who has his own reasons to go and help Shelley. One reason is that he’s been in love with her since college. Another reason is that he’s found her long lost sister.
Shelley has two sisters who were all placed in foster homes when their parents died. Her and her sister were separated when they were younger and they haven’t seen each other in years. Dev has found Shelley’s older sister and he wants to take her so they can meet. He doesn’t know how Shelley will take the news, but he’s promised to unite them.
There are a couple of mysteries carried on throughout the book. One is who is stealing the zoo animals. The other is who killed the person found in Shelley’s trunk of her car. The mysteries are woven throughout the entire book and I didn’t figure out the culprit until it was revealed at the end. The ending is very plausible and made sense and is well thought out.
Shelley is a strong independent woman but she fears abandonment. Everyone she’s ever cared about has died or left her. Her biological parents, her adoptive parents, her two sisters and even her ex-boyfriend. She is afraid to become too attached so she builds emotional walls to protect herself. She also runs away from others before they can leave her. Will she run away from her sister and from Dev?
The characters are well developed, well rounded and realistic. They display traits that we all have, such as jealousy, fear and longing. It was easy to care what happens to them and be worried when things don’t go right. I could see myself hanging out with them when they’re not solving mysteries.
There were plenty of animals in this book, which I really enjoyed. Many animals from the clinic (dogs and hamsters), many animals from the zoo (tigers and monkeys) and one feisty ferret. Lucy is Shelley’s pet ferret and she is very protective of her. She attacks Dev more than once because she doesn’t want Shelley to be hurt by him. Her attacks make for some funny moments.
My favorite part of the book is the paranormal aspect of Shelley being able to communicate with the animals. I love light paranormal books and I think that her animal communication is a vital part of the book. I think it made this book stand apart from other mystery books.
The writing style flows easily and the book is an easy ready. The author is very descriptive when writing about the zoo, the animals, the love scenes, and the characters. I felt like I was pulled into the story and was witnessing things first hand.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery and those who enjoy paranormal books. I would also recommend it to those who enjoy books with animals and love stories. I think this book is more appropriate for an adult reader rather than a young adult due to the descriptive writing of the love scenes. I have not read any other books by this author but I’ve already picked up the first book in the Tidewater series.