Saturday, August 30, 2014

No Bones about It (A Ginger Barnes Mystery #4) by Donna Huston Murray

This review was written by: B
Received: Free copy from author via GoodReads giveaway
Publication Date of Book: June 2012
Pages: 254
Stars: (3.75/5)

I took a deep breath and reminded myself that people only denied what they were not ready to face.
               -Ginger Barnes

Ginger Barnes is a strong, calculating character.  While trying to take care of a family, which consists of two children and Rip (her husband), and dealing with their new Irish setter, this woman has her hands full.  However, this definitely does not stand in her way of helping and assisting others, juggling her family life and partaking in a slight pastime that revolves around solving mysteries.  When Ginger finds out that one of her old associates from high school may be connected to a murder, she races to the scene.  Linda, the previously mentioned associate, co-owns a German shepherd named Tibor with her former husband, Karl.  Karl and Linda just went through an undoubtedly hard divorce, and while Linda trains dogs, Karl is a diet-doctor.  When Linda's former husband is soon found dead on his property, Linda is immediately accused of having trained Tibor to attack and kill Karl.  Gin is then asked by Linda to save her dog, but first Barnes must first save Linda.

Karl, surprisingly, was also into dog training.  His training was a little different though, enrolling Tibor in the art of schutzhund, a subject that really interested me.  Gin must find out if Tibor was the dog behind the murder and why he would have done it.  After she starts to think about it, Barnes believes that someone else may have trained the German shepherd to kill his master.  However, who was this insidious individual?  Several suspects arise for questioning.  Some of these shady people include Colin Green, a father who blames Karl for his daughter's death from anorexia nervosa after she met with him, Annie Snellenberg, a person who went on a failed diet, Darlene Polk, and unsatisfied customer, Nancy Carlino, Karl's former assistant who became overweight, and a strange spitfire of a woman who saw Karl training Tibor in schutzhund and blew up at him for it.  Will Ginger Barnes be able to solve this mystery, or is Tibor and his last surviving owner doomed for the doghouse?

This was my very first Ginger Barnes novel.  For being a 'cozy mystery,' I found it to be quite enjoyable.  Dog lovers will definitely enjoy this one, and, not only did I get to enjoy a mystery, but I got to experience shutzhund.  As I previously mentioned, this subject piqued my interest.  I definitely have to give Murray credit for her knowledge and research on this particular topic because it made the beginning of No Bones About It quite intriguing.  I had never heard of it and was eager to find out more and more about it.

On the subject of Ginger, she was a headstrong, devoted, and adventurous character, along with being a family woman as much as she was an independent person.  Her observational skills were superb, and yes, this did lead to some judgement of several people that we were introduced to.  Of course, many main characters in mystery books analyze people and their surroundings quite frequently.  Sure, they may be wrong in their thoughts, but they do this anyway, and I'm okay with this.  I loved how Ginger was presented to the reader and how she acted in various situations.  She had a strong motherly complex to herself that she forced on to all those around her.  This was an interesting aspect to her character.

It took me a long time to decide what to rate this book, and I've finally decided on a 3.75.  After the beginning introduction to schutzhund, I became a little distant from the book.  I don't think I would say that I was bored, I just couldn't concentrate with the slower pace for a particular period of time.  However, in all honesty, I found myself flipping pages in the last half of the book, excited to see what happened to Ginger, Linda, and Tibor.  I found that I was happily rewarded for my patience.  The book easily held my attention once again, but it took quite a while to get back to that point.  That's why I gave it a 3.75.  Something about Ginger and the ending made me feel like it deserved more than a 3.5 rating.  In the end, I loved the conclusion and would definitely like to give more Ginger Barnes mysteries a chance.  I think that I would enjoy the series.  I would say that Gin's a lovely character with a strong writer behind her!

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