A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.
After so many serious books, I went looking for lighter fare and thought that I had found it in one marked A Kendra Ballantyne Pet Sitter mystery with a cute ferret face on the front. Appearances can be sooo deceptive. The amusing cover hides a very irritating novel written in a clunky style.
The mystery itself is alright, a reality show TV star is killed in the home of another cast member and made to look as if pet ferrets have done the deed. Kendra owns the house where the murder happened, having rented it out to boost her income after losing her law license from an ethics charge frame-up. She’s turned to pet sitting to make ends meet, while living in the guest house on the grounds of her mansion. Kendra has a very strong sense of coming down in the world and continually whines about it.
She also doesn’t seem to know much about animals, which would seem a drawback in her new career. She even leaves her own dog parked in a car on a summer’s afternoon in the Los Angeles desert heat. Is this someone you’d want caring for your pets? Kendra also can’t count, saying 5 ferrets at one point, then 2 pages later 4, switching back to 5 before the novel’s end. She has a boyfriend, Jeff, a P.I. who does nothing but leave on business trips. We know he’s great in bed, but not much else about him. Likewise, pal Daryl, who runs a doggy daycare, seems to be a friend of long standing, but again, we never learn much about him. We do learn about Kendra’s height(5 ft. 5in.), her cell phone ring tone(a Bon Jovi song) and her car(Beamer), over and over again. In fact, the whole book is quite repetitive, as if the author is just killing time. Her sentences are long and filled with too many adjectives. Occasionally, she throws in some clever wordplay, such as calling umbrellas “mobile canopies”, which is just irritating.
Like most self-involved people, Kendra is very judgmental of others, with harsh physical descriptions. An elderly fellow lawyer wears a crepe blouse that has as many wrinkles as her face, not to mention a throat wattle and this is someone Kendra supposedly esteems. Let’s not mention the overweight neighbors that she accuses of “bleating” constantly. It would’ve been better had we heard more about her charges, such as Pansy the pot-bellied pig or Pythagoras the python.
The author has published other books, so she ought to be experienced enough to avoid the many mistakes she displays, not to mention sloppy writing. Did she have no editor? It’s unfortunate, since the idea of a pet sitter solving crimes is appealing, but surely it can be done better than this.
Wheeler 2005 411 pp. ISBN 1-59722-084-1