Fear on Four Paws
by Clea Simon
Fear on Four Paws easily drops into the category of “really good cozy mystery.” Main character Pru Marlowe, an animal behaviorist working towards a master’s degree and certification, has a sensitivity for communicating with animals, understanding their feelings, and opening herself up so that they understand her. Although actually a gift, like a good sense of direction or the ability to play music by ear, when Pru’s aptitude for communication with animals first manifests itself, she thinks she is going crazy. Realizing what others might think of this special ability, she is careful to conceal it.
In Fear on Four Paws, Pru is working a number of jobs to support herself. She assists the game warden, the animal control officer, and the local vet, supplementing her various incomes with freelance work as a dog trainer and walker. She finds herself enmeshed in a murder investigation in which the Beauville animal control officer is a person of interest. While Pru could benefit by his being found guilty, she is more interested in understanding what is happening to the young male bears in the area, the animal control officer’s ferret, and an unusual number of dogs and cats who suspiciously disappear and reappear in a well-to-do neighborhood. Meanwhile she has to sort out her love life between Game Warden Greg and her current flame, Detective Jim Creighton, who is as wrapped up in his job as Pru is in hers.
The interaction between Pru and the variety of animals in the book takes top billing and is an integral part of the storyline and the successful resolution of the mysteries. Pru does not hear the animals directly talk to her, so her efforts to fine tune her understanding of them is quite interesting.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Poisoned Pen Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #7 in the Pru Pet Noir Series but works well as a stand alone.
Publication: July 3, 2018—Poisoned Pen Press
We’re all animals, after all, and our vulnerabilities are heightened when we’re tired, hungry, or scared.
Outside my own open window, the birds were getting busy. Food and childcare, love and rivalry playing out in trills and whistles.
Animals don’t rework the past the way we humans do. While they experience longing and grief and sadness, they understand, better than we do, that time doesn’t go backward, for all our wishing.