COZY WEDNESDAY – With Author Linda O. Johnston (Giveaway too!!)


My first experience with today’s guest was reading her romance novels for Harlequin Intrigue and when I started this blog I realized she wrote cozies as well.  Her new Pet Rescue Mysteries have captured my heart. I am so happy she is here today to tell us all about this series and it’s latest edition.

Welcome Linda!!!

Hi.  I’m delighted to be guest blogging on Dollycas’s Thoughts.

Saving Animals – Fictionally and Otherwise


Let me tell you a little bit about myself.
I kill people for a living.  Fictionally, of course.
I also save animals fictionally.  In real life, I help to save them by volunteering at a private pet shelter.
When I started the Pet Rescue Mystery Series for Berkley Prime Crime, I’d been writing the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mystery series for a while.  In the eighth in the series, HOWL DEADLY, I introduced a character in a subplot, Lauren Vancouver, who really captured my attention.  She was the administrator of a private, no-kill pet shelter in LA’s San Fernando Valley, and it was clear that she was a real animal advocate.  She’d do nearly anything to save the lives of pets.
Fortunately, I wasn’t the only one who really liked Lauren.  She became the protagonist of my new spinoff series.
Her shelter, HotRescues, is funded by Kendra’s latest squeeze, Dante DeFrancisco, a rich mogul who made his money from a chain of pet stores.  That meant HotRescues is in a much better situation than most similar organizations, since it has no money issues.  As I said, this is fiction.  But that gives Lauren a lot of latitude in what she does to save animals.
Cover Illustration

by Paper Dog Studio

Cover Design

by Rita Frangie

The second book in the series, THE MORE THE TERRIER, became officially available yesterday, October 4.  In it, Lauren is faced with a dilemma.  She discovers right at the beginning that her former mentor, Mamie Spelling, has become an animal hoarder!
If you’ve seen those shows on TV featuring animal hoarders who usually see the light and reform, you know what a sad situation hoarding really is.  Like Mamie, many real hoarders don’t set out to harm animals but to save one, then ten, then dozens.  The problem is they don’t have the room to do it, nor the money to keep the animals well fed, nor the resources to keep the environment clean.  Lauren is horrified when she visits Mamie’s shelter and sees how awful it has become.  She calls the authorities–as she must under LA policy–and has the animals taken away.  Mamie, too, although officials real and fictional generally realize how fruitless it is to prosecute hoarders for animal abuse since they often have mental issues and they’re almost always recidivists –they do it all over again.
In my story, none of the animals is too sick to survive.  Lauren is able to save all of them, even though they’re taken into custody by LA Animal Services, a public system where overcrowding can result in euthanasia.  But even though Lauren doesn’t have room for them all, she has friends running other private shelters, so every one of the animals is picked up and taken to those shelters till they can be adopted.
Once again, this is fiction.  And since it’s a cozy mystery, someone–a person–has to die.  Mamie is the primary suspect, since the victim is someone who has been hounding her about her hoarding.  So here is Lauren’s dilemma: she despises the fact that Mamie has abused animals–but can she allow her aging, confused mentor to be prosecuted for a crime against people that she most likely didn’t commit?
You know the answer.  As I said, it’s a cozy mystery.
And you can be sure that, in the Pet Rescue Mysteries, “no-kill” means pets, not people!
Since starting to write the Pet Rescue Mysteries, I’ve become a lot more conscious about the dilemma of so many pets needing good homes.  It started as research, and has become a pet cause (pun intended) of mine.  I’m proud to say that I’m a dog adoption counselor at Pet Orphans of Southern California, which means I help introduce people interested in adopting a dog to their potential new family member.  I also do the initial screening of possible adopters, since the idea is to attempt to ensure that the pets will go to good, and appropriate, homes.
The Pet Rescue Mysteries started in March with BEAGLEMANIA.  It begins at a puppy mill rescue, where Lauren meets her love interest, Captain Matt Kingston of Los Angeles Animal Services.  He’s a great contact to have, since he keeps Lauren notified of animals in need of rescuing before being put down by the public shelter.  The next one will be HOUNDS ABOUND, which will be published in April 2012.  It features a very special pet rescue facility that takes in hard-to-adopt animals such as the disabled and seniors.
How about you–are you an animal lover?  Are you a fan of pet rescue?
Please come visit me at and at on Wednesdays.  Friend me on Facebook.  I’d love to hear what you think of pet rescue–and THE MORE THE TERRIER !

Thank you so much Linda!!! I am so happy that we have the internet and Facebook so that we can actually contact our favorite authors and let them know how much we love their books!!

A Berkley Prime Mystery
Published by The Penguin Group
Available Now
I have fallen hard for Lauren and her enormous heart.  She not only bends overs backwards to save dogs but even fights for an old friend she hasn’t been in contact with for years looking beyond the fact that she was abusing animals. Linda gives Lauren such a powerful voice on pet rescues at the same time making her the friend we would all want to have.  

The story is exciting with a very current topic of hoarding.  I have to admit until I read this book I never thought about someone hoarding pets and it really opened my eyes. 

This series is really packs more of a one-two punch, they stories are fun and entertaining but they also make us aware of a huge over population of pets in the United States.  I almost feel we should have a Bob Barker moment to remind ourselves “to have your pets spayed or neutered”.  I also feel that adopting and giving pets “forever homes” is an uplifting experience.  We have 3 rescued kitties under our roof.  If you are looking for a pet to love, start out at a shelter and save a life that will love you unconditionally immediately.

Like cozy mysteries, like animals, you will love this book! Your invisible tails will be wagging with delight!!!!

Your Escape With A Goof Book Travel Agent


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Berkley Prime Crime. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 



13 thoughts on “COZY WEDNESDAY – With Author Linda O. Johnston (Giveaway too!!)

  1. My brother and SIL rescued a beagle from a lab. Henry is the sweetest dog and fit in well. I have ordered Beaglemania and The More The Terrier.

  2. Sorry to hear about your google site but am glad to see you at WordPress. Although blogspot is an easy platform to use, WordPress offers a lot more and it’s faster.


  3. The cover on Beaglemania could not be more accurate. When first married, my husband and I had two litter mates who ran rings around their Dalmatian sibling and would sit, with heads together, plotting their next escapade. There always was a next.

    Blog much improved. Dollycas could be verrry slow. Enjoying the cleaner lines too.

  4. Ohhh- pet rescue and mystery! What a great combination. The More the Terrier looks terribly cute! (I couldn’t resist!)
    Thanks for helping rescued animals for real and in enjoyable fiction!

  5. I enjoyed Beaglemania (though I didn’t realize it was connected to the Pet-sitter series until I’d already started it and would have preferred t read those first), and I look forward to reading The More the Terrier.

  6. This is a great giveaway 🙂 I love mystery stories that involve animals – I am not sure why? But these sound really good!

  7. Hi Linda, I love cozy mysteries and any book with animals is always a favorite. I am adding you as new author and your great cozies to my wish list. Thanks for stopping by to chat and share your stories with us.

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