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An Animal Instinct Mystery

By Gabriella Herkert

Obsidian, a division of Penguin Group, 2008 ($6.99)
ISBN-10: 0451224736
ISBN-13: 978-0-451-22487-3

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

Legal investigator Sara Townley's personal life is not running smoothly. Considering the awkward scene when meeting her in-laws for the first time and the catfight she had with her husband's ex, what she needs and wants is a nice simple case to work on.

Instead, a case of stolen identity almost leaves her in the morgue where her witness is holding down a slab...

Charles Smith, a reclusive rich person has a large sum of money missing from his bank account. The bank wants the money back so they hire Townley. Someone claiming to be Charles Smith says he's the victim of amnesia. Townley dubs him "John Doe." Along the way, a big, black Labrador teams up with Sara (except that there's very little of him in the book).

Sara and her husband's sex life seem more important to the author than the mystery but was of no interest to me.

The plot was too convoluted, the sex too pervasive (hint: it's supposed to be a mystery not a romance novel), the characters too confusing and/or uninteresting. Too many threads to keep track off. Choppy writing leads to choppy reading. As I was slogging through this book, I was reminded of the days back in high school where the reading assignments were sometimes torturous.

I'm sorry, was there a mystery to be solved? Oh, yes. Who is or isn't Charles Smith.

I'm a sucker for animals, especially cats and dogs, and I don't mind if they help solve crimes. However, I felt down right cheated in reading this book. It needed more dog (and less Sara)!

This is the second book in the "Animal Instinct" series. The first was CATNAPPED. Although I've heard it was pretty good, after muddling through DOGGONE, I'm not even willing to check it out of the library to find out.

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