Paw of the Jungle
Paw Enforcement #8
By Diane Kelly
Author’s website: dianekelly.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Police officer Megan Luz and her K-9 partner in crime,
Brigit, are on all fours as they try to solve their latest Lone Star mystery.
AT THE ZOO
The weather is beautiful, work is slow, and her canine colleague could use a walk. What better day for Megan to take Brigit to the Fort Worth Zoo, where they can let loose and witness the law and order of nature unfold? But what begins as a fun field trip turns serious when a pair of rare hyacinth macaws named Fabiana and Fernando goes missing. Is the new custodian, a gentle soul who happens to be an ex-convict, to blame? Or is something far more sinister afoot?
AND ON THE HUNT
The birds are worth thousands of dollars, and the list of people on the premises who might have stolen them is long. Soon other animals start disappearing. . .and Megan and Brigit have their hands and paws full of suspects. But when a rare black rhino is taken from the zoo, presumably for its black-market-friendly horn, time is of the essence. Can Megan and Brigit find out who’s behind the mystery—before they too become prey?
This is one of my favorite series with dogs; I love the humor throughout each novel and how challenging each mystery is. Each can be read as standalone novels, yet I find that Megan grows as a police officer and personally over the course of the series. Sergeant Brigit is more loving with Megan, as well, while retaining some of her puppy habits.
Megan Luz, a Fort Worth police officer, was assigned Brigit as her partner as a last resort when her former partner, Derek Mackey, had been obnoxious too many times and she tased him. Funny as the incident was, the chief of police had no sense of humor when hearing that his hunting buddy had been bested by a little woman. Megan had no desire to share her life with Brigit, the German shepherd K-9 that was her last chance to be a police officer. Brigit still gets the best of Megan sometimes, but overall, they are as close as partners can be.
We first meet the Poacher, who has just been released from prison after serving time for theft. His new employer took a risk to hire him, and gives him one chance only, since most ex-felons they have hired have disappointed them. He goes to his girlfriend’s home in hopes she will take him back. She isn’t sure she wants to, but he promises it will be different (again). He is the father of her three children, and when his daughter saw him, the decision was made.
It is December, and Christmas is fast approaching. Megan sometimes takes Brigit through the zoo while they are on patrol. On a stroll through, she meets Danny, a custodian, working there. She recognizes a prison tattoo on his hand, and they talk about his time served, his family, and she gives him her card should he ever need help.
Megan and Brigit are called to a woman’s home. She lost her rings and is convinced the plumber who was in her home that day had taken them. His fingerprints were not found where she thought she kept her rings, and without any kind of proof, Megan couldn’t arrest him.
A few days later, Megan and Brigit are again patrolling the zoo when she hears a confrontation with Danny. They said they believe he somehow either accidentally let escape, or took two hyacinth macaws. After reviewing security tapes, there was nothing conclusive about where the birds might be. There was also no evidence of the gorgeous birds in his car, but the zoo fired him anyway.
Days later, a woman at the nearby country club summoned a police officer. Her rings were missing, and she believed that the club employee she told to move her bag took them from the bag. Security tapes could prove the employee did not take the rings. The woman recalled her hands were very slippery after getting a manicure, and while she took her rings from the nail spa, she could have lost them anywhere.
Megan and Brigit take a call at the zoo, and this time she calls one of the detectives who had been mentoring her toward her goal of becoming a detective. Hector Bustamente arrives quickly to oversee the case with the latest missing zoo resident, a colobus monkey, Sarki. Sarki is very small, not much larger than a human newborn, so could be easily removed from the zoo. Hector requested Megan’s help with the case, and the public became quite upset over the loss of one of the zoo’s beloved creatures. Perhaps the macaws did not accidentally escape; it seemed highly unlikely that the costly macaws could escape and days later, a tiny monkey follows suit.
The characters are very well defined throughout; we learn more about the Poacher without learning his identity. I really like Megan more and more as the series progresses. She is hardworking, thinks before she acts, and with her way of looking at clues, will very likely become an excellent detective. She is knowledgeable about many things; she loves to read and retains facts well. I like firefighter and bomb expert Seth, her boyfriend. They have had some rocky days but have grown closer as a result of sharing Seth’s family challenges.
This novel follows a similar pattern to the earlier ones in respect to chapters being organized from 3 points of view. First is the bad guy – this time, the Poacher, then Megan, then Brigit. There are plot twists that kept me on my toes! Both mysteries – the thefts of beloved zoo animals and the women who are losing their rings – are confounding, but the women losing rings seem to have no connection. If only Brigit could talk! She can alert to what she finds but can’t always communicate everything when she sniffs out someone, or something, critical to a case. If one likes their cozy mysteries well-written with a healthy serving of humor and a K-9 with a ‘tude, I highly recommend it!
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*