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Neighing with Fire (Colleen McCabe Series) by Kathryn O'Sullivan
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Minotaur Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781250066411
Date: 05 May 2015 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

An arsonist is terrorizing Currituck County, North Carolina. In Carova, a vacation paradise for tourists wishing to observe wild Mustangs, Tropical Storm Ana has swept away much dune sand. Fire Chief Colleen McCabe and Sheriff Bill Dorman discover a badly decomposed corpse that has been hidden between an old beach walkway and the new one that was recently built above it. Soon afterwards, a charred corpse is found in the smoldering remains of a new home under construction. Among the numerous suspects are competitive land developers, environmental conservationists, and tour company operators.

Kathryn O'Sullivan's third entry in the Colleen McCabe series, Neighing with Fire (following Murder on the Hoof and its debut, Foal Play) is the most delightful, most intriguing one yet. This novel focuses a large portion of its plot on Colleen's pets: Sparky the playful Border Collie and Smokey the laid-back Siamese. Having once owned a Border Collie, I can attest to the fact that they are extremely intelligent and playful. (They also love to kill squirrels, rabbits and other rodents; at least mine did.) Also, the horses play a more significant role. There are the tour companies that search them out and the construction workers who illegally feed them.

Neighing with Fire is loaded with conflict. There are some environmentalists who think their cause is more important than those of other environmentalists. There are competing land developers who are spying on each other, trying to obtain key properties. The obnoxious tour guides are competing with each other for business. A lot of characters are playing with fire in order to get what they want. From wearing silly disguises to murdering another human being, some will do anything.

It is the mystery that also makes Neighing with Fire an outstanding cozy. I didn't know the killer's identity until almost the end. I kept thinking, Colleen better find out who the killer is; we're running out of pages.

Romance is in the air. Colleen and Bill are growing closer. Now they are taking long walks together on the beach. Everyone jokes them about their relationship. They don't get married in this novel but one of Colleen's firefighting employees does. Chip and Fawn's wedding is one of the most unique I have ever read. I am not too fond of weddings, but I would have liked to have been invited to this one.

Sunny beaches; cute, adorable pets; wild Mustangs; feuding characters; fiery explosions; and gruesome deaths make Neighing with Fire an excellent installment in a unique cozy series that continues to improve with age.

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