Double Dog Dare (Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mystery, No. 6)
by Linda O. Johnston
Review by Linda Marie Schumacher
Berkley Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425222324
Date: 03 June 2008 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Pet Lovers Take Heed! In Double Dog Dare by Linda O. Johnston, Kendra Ballentine is a nosy by-chance murder investigator who is accompanied by her two beloved pups. In real life, Kendra is both a lawyer and a pet sitter but seems to find herself in the middle of murder investigations. It is a good novel for pet lovers and for readers who enjoy a mystery entwined within a full circle of family and friends.
Double Dog Dare by Linda O. Johnston, is a new novel in the series about Kendra Ballentine, and her constant tendency to find herself in the middle of a murder investigation. Kendra is a lawyer and also a pet sitter. It is an odd combination, but Kendra is able to pull off both professions with a little bit of skill, a little bit of luck and very flexible working hours. She manages to tie the two professions together as she works as a mediator in legal cases involving animals and their owners.
At the start of Double Dog Dare, the Kendra's boyfriend, Jeff, has disappeared and is presumed dead. As she and Jeff's coworkers attempt to find him, Kendra meets Jeff's pseudo-mother who lives nearby. A long-time friend of Jeff's real mother, Lois asked Jeff to investigate a pet cloning service who killed her beloved dog during an attempt at cloning. Unfortunately, Jeff did this without telling his coworkers or Kendra, so they had no idea where to search for him when he wound up missing. Soon thereafter, a staff member at the cloning company is murdered and Lois is a suspect.
Kendra refuses to believe that Jeff is dead, and launches into an effort to both find Jeff and to clear Lois of the murder. Kendra is also suspicious of the practices of the cloning company, and tries to discover if their business is legitimate. Of course, Kendra's dog Lexie and Jeff's dog Odin accompany Kendra throughout her investigation.
Most people would consider Kendra to be quirky. She manages to balance a life of a lawyer and a pet sitter, and a significant social and love life. The story is cute, but it is as much a romance novel as it is a mystery. The characters do follow from novel to novel, so the reader gets a chance to know them and to follow their adventures. The author does a very good job of providing background information on the events and characters of previous novels so it is very easy for the reader to follow and understand the progression.
I recommend Double Dog Dare to mystery readers who enjoy light mysteries, and especially to pet lovers. The story is interesting and fun to read.