The Long Paw of the Law
Paw Enforcement #7
By Diane Kelly
Author’s website: dianekelly.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Texas police officer Megan Luz and her K-9 partner Brigit have come a long way, baby.
A BUNDLE OF JOY. A DOG-EAT-DOG WORLD. . .
One night, while on duty with her four-legged crime-fighting companion, Meg gets an urgent call from her boyfriend Seth, who works for the Fort Worth fire department. A baby girl has turned up at the station with only two clues to her identity: One is a peace-sign symbol stitched into her blanket. The other is a word, written in string: help.
Megan follows every loose thread and, along with Brigit, ends up on a twisted path that leads to the People of Peace compound, the site of a religious sect on the outskirts of the city. Its leader, Father Emmanuel, keeps his followers on a short leash—and his enemies even closer. Could this be the abandoned baby’s original home? And if so, why was she cast out? Now that Megan and Brigit are on the case, the secrets of this reclusive cult are bound to be dug up.
The dynamic duo of K9 Sargent Brigit and human partner Megan is hard at work trying to rid Fort Worth of bad guys, and they are better than ever! Number seven in the series, it can be read as a standalone, but many first-time readers will want to go back and read the rest of the series. I notice this time just how much Megan has matured as a cop since the first novel, and how Brigit is as much fun now as she was then. I very much enjoy Megan and her family, firefighter and bomb squad tech Seth, Detective Audrey Jackson, and Brigit, the 100-pound bundle of energy.
Megan and best friend and confidante Brigit are out on patrol and receive a call from her boyfriend, Seth. An unidentified man just delivered a newborn according to the “safe drop” program in Texas, in which a parent can anonymously surrender a child to a fire department station or other designated public facility. The infant is swaddled in a beautiful baby quilt with a matching hat and booties. These are so perfectly made that Megan is struck by how much this baby girl seemed to have been wanted. As she gives the tiny girl to the CPS worker, Megan notices a loose thread along one edge…attached to embroidery, with what looks similar to a peace sign, and the word HELP! Megan kept the blanket and called her mentor, Detective Audrey Jackson. Brigit followed the scent trail of the man as far as she could, and they watched security footage of the man making the safe drop, but his hat kept them from seeing the man.
On the far outskirts of Fort Worth, a young woman has been told by “Father Emmanuel” that her newborn died at the hospital because of a bad reaction to one of the immunizations. Devastated, Juliette wants simply to be left alone. Father had not allowed her to go to the hospital with him, and her parents always did what Father wanted. Father may claim to be head of this peaceful sect, but his “teachings” are more about him than about any deity. The “refuge” of the compound is less about being a sanctuary and more about keeping those inside in and those outside, including police, out. It is a challenge to Megan to see if she can find the mother of the darling little girl before CPS places her for adoption.
Megan is also in the middle of other challenges, including trying to find the pair of thieves who are stealing people’s garage remotes and how to bring some joy into Seth’s grandfather, Ollie’s, grumpy life. Brigit’s biggest concerns include spending time with Seth’s working yellow Lab, Blast, getting more treats, and being the best partner to Megan. Just when it all seems to be coming together, the worst possible thing happens.
Megan Luz and Brigit are still the same law…um…paw enforcement officers that I came to know and love in their first mystery. Megan has matured into a less impulsive beat cop who is being mentored primarily by Detective Audrey Jackson and when available, Detective Hector Bustamonte. One thing is certain, Megan still has her heart set on becoming a detective, even though she can’t sit for the exam for just over 2 years from now. She grew up with a stutter, and throughout her time of growing into a successful police officer, the stutter rarely occurs. Megan is so three-dimensional I could almost expect to see her driving through town with her K-9 vehicle, Brigit chomping happily on her pink squeaky pig toy in the back.
There are so many things I enjoyed about The Long Paw of the Law! The author’s trademark humor is LOL funny, the sound effects unique, and some characters like Derek Mackey still make an appearance are obnoxious. The chapters are set up in sets of three: the baddest guy, Megan, and Brigit. While I still have mixed feelings about seeing the thoughts and actions of the baddest guy in the mystery throughout, I do enjoy ending each set of three chapters with Brigit’s take on each situation. I like the history that Megan considers throughout, including the background Texas has with cults in the state.
Megan is up for the challenge of finding the bad guy and the sweet infant’s mother, and work with Audrey to find the best way to do so. Even though the reader knows who the bad guy is, the excitement and apprehension comes while watching them do their jobs. The final chapters bring a new level of fear and heartache, but overall, the ending is satisfactory with no loose ends remaining. I highly recommend this to those who love well-written cozy mysteries, dogs/ K9’s, a lot of humor, and a bit of romance.