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DID NOT SURVIVE


By Ann Littlewood

Poisoned Pen Press, 2010 ($24.95)
ISBN-10: 1590587472
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-745-4

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

Ann Littlewood's "zoo series" is set in the fictional Finley Memorial Zoo of Vancouver, Washington (which is just across the river from Portland, Oregon). First in the series was NIGHT KILL. DID NOT SURVIVE is the second in the series. The author worked as a zoo keeper in the Oregon zoo for 12 years and her behind-the-scenes details enliven this story.

Damrey, the elephant, appears to have mauled Kevin Wallace, Iris Oakley's boss. While several people have motives to kill Wallace, the elephant doesn't have a motive. Yet Iris found her boss, apparently being attacked by the elephant.

There is an undercurrent at the zoo. Some staff are feuding, some keeping secrets, and to add to the unsettling mix, the zoo is being picketed by animal rights activists. For Iris, on a personal level, it is an especially challenging time. She is pregnant and still recovering from the death of her husband. Yet her co-workers expect Iris to figure out what's going on.

Readers will enjoy the author's story-telling skills as well as her inside knowledge of the workings of a zoo. I hope there will be many more zoo mysteries from Ms. Littlewood.

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