When non-fiction dog writer, Sheila Webster Boneham turned her talents to fiction I wondered how she'd make the cross-over to a new genre. She did it with skill and produced her first novel, the page-turner, Drop Dead on Recall.
The protagonist, Janet MacPhail, is a dog photographer with a love of Obedience Trials and all things dog, especially her Australian Shepherd, Jay. A divorcee, her family is rounded out by Leo, her charming orange tabby. As the story opens, Janet is at an obedience trial where one of the best competitors in the country keels over in the ring in the middle of working her Border Collie. She dies not long afterwards.
The book is full of vivid descriptions of everything from scenery to people, bringing both alive for the reader. And what would any novel be without a little romance? Janet finds that in Tom, a fellow obedience trial lover with a Labrador Retriever.
As romance starts to bloom and bodies keep appearing, all from within the obedience trial community, Janet becomes a target. Will she be the next victim?
A subplot in the book deals with Janet's mother who has suddenly developed dementia. This difficult family issue is written with sympathy and understanding and allows for the added information about therapy dog work.
This is a book anyone would love. Boneham explains enough about the dog fancy, breeding and obedience trials for any reader to feel comfortable. For those who are already immersed in those topics, it's a bonus. She even works in the title of one of her non-fiction books. And when MacPhail decides her cat will be an indoor-only feline, it's a bonus of lesson learned for the character and the reader.
I was sorry to see the book end and hope this is the beginning of a series. You will, too.