4 star rating
Woof at the Door
A Call of the Wilde Mystery, Book #1
By Laura Morrigan
ISBN# 9780425257197
Author’s Website:  http://www.lauramorrigan.com/

Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele


Animal behaviorist Grace Wilde keeps her ability to psychically communicate with furry and feathered critters under wraps. But when a Doberman turns out to be the only witness to a crime, Grace will have to let the cat out of the bag in order to catch a killer.

Grace Wilde’s job is anything but normal. When she’s not helping out at the zoo by comforting agitated lemurs, she’s listening to the woes of annoyed house pets. Grace’s life gets even more complicated, though, when the cops summon her to a crime scene to help deal with the murder victim’s terrified Doberman.

The pooch turns out to be the only one who saw what happened the night of the shooting—and only Grace can get the information out of him. The problem is, how will Grace tell the distractingly gorgeous Sergeant Kai Duncan that it’s the dog who’s giving her the intel without spilling her big secret or sounding crazy? Left on her own, Grace will have to follow the pup’s lead to track down the killer. But she’ll have to be careful—or curiosity may end up killing the cat whisperer. (Amazon)


Grace Wilde has a secret gift, one that has led her to forego her career as a veterinarian and lend her talents as an animal behaviorist instead.  She is an animal empath – she can communicate with wild and domesticated animals telepathically.  The police ask for her assistance to calm and contain a Doberman, Jax, who is more than agitated after his owner is shot to death.  Grace believes that Jax witnessed the crime and that it is just a matter of time before he “tells” her who did it.  The pressure is on, though, because the deceased is a local celebrity, a pro football player, and the governor’s son.  The police soon arrest a suspect, who happens to be Grace’s friend, but his alibi is a jaguar.  Yes, a jaguar.  How will Grace be able to convey what the animals have to say without revealing her secret ability or making herself look like a crazy idiot?  Not to mention, she is hopelessly distracted by the handsome criminal investigator, Kai.  When another person dies, seemingly wrapping up the case, Grace is sure that there is more to this than meets the eye.

I found Grace to be a bit guarded and bitchy at the beginning of the book, but as her defenses lowered she became much more likeable.  She is intelligent and does not appear too nosy or pushy, nor does she jump to conclusions or issue false accusations as she investigates.  Her psychic ability comes across as legitimate.  I liked that the animals did not speak to her in complete sentences, and that she relied a great deal on emotions presented by the animals.  They seemed to maintain their distinct animal characteristics (e.g. the giraffe responded the way one might imagine it would if communicating with a person).  It was also refreshing that she dealt with domesticated pets as well as the wild animals at the zoo.

There were plenty of viable suspects and twists in the mystery to propel the story and keep it interesting.  I cared enough about what was going on with all of the suspects, supporting characters (her sister, friend, coworkers), and animals to not want to put the book down.  The plot twist involving the murder victim’s girlfriend was clever, and I did not see it coming.  I did not guess whodunit until a good ways through the book, which for me is a sign of a good mystery.

My only quibble is with the constant reminders of how “hot” Kai was.  Mention it once at their initial meeting. Okay.  Mention it again the second time they come into contact with each other.  Fine.  But, I wish Ms. Morrigan had left it alone after that.  I get it that he is an attractive man, and Grace and he have chemistry.  There is no need, in my opinion, to go on and on about it.

Ms. Morrigan has an engaging writing style.  The characters are will drawn but still have room to develop as the series progresses.  Woof at the Door is one of the best cozy mysteries I have read this year, and I look forward to future installments.  I highly recommend this to animal lovers and to those who enjoy a smart, well crafted mystery.