Customer Reviews for

Under the Dog Star (Rachel Goddard Series #4)

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted July 23, 2011

    Excellent! Must read!

    UNDER THE DOG STAR is Sandra Parshall's fourth novel in her Rachel Goddard- Tom Bridger series. These books get better and better. A pack of feral dogs roam the Virginia community of Mason County, killing livestock. Rachel and her friends want to capture the dogs and rescue them, but when a man is killed, supposedly by one of the dogs, a group of vigilantes begins to hunt them down. The family of the murdered man presents one mystery after another, and Tom suspects a group of men have brought back illegal dog fighting. The entire community is involved in the events that rise to a suspenseful pitch until the murderer is found and peace is restored.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Under the Dog Star

    This is the fourth entry in Sandra Parshall’s Agatha Award-winning series, which brings back Rachel Goddard, veterinarian in Mason County, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where there has been a rash of mysterious disappearances of family pets from all over the area, posters of which cover the walls of Rachel’s animal hospital. At the same time, reports have been coming in of a pack of feral dogs attacking ranches and homes at night, stealing eggs and killing chickens, threatening the safety of the homeowners and the local farmers’ livestock, and causing somewhat of a panic among the citizenry. Some of them are up in arms, literally, and want nothing more than to form hunting parties, rifles at the ready, to find and kill the animals. Rachel has other plans: She is setting up a sanctuary, where she can house the animals and try to get them to bond again with humans, rather than the other members of the pack.

    The stakes suddenly escalate in fast and furious manner when a local man is viciously killed, and when it appears that an animal is to blame, those already planning to hunt them down become crazed. But Chief Deputy Sheriff Tom Bridger, with whom Rachel has been living for the past month, sees the evidence as pointing to a human killer who uses a trained and vicious dog as his weapon. The powerful novel details some very real horrors and ugliness in our society [a hint of which was provided in real life by football player Michael Vick].

    The ensuing investigation and chase becomes more and more complex: The victim was not without enemies, outside of and perhaps within his own household, which includes several adopted children and not a small amount of animosity. The author has created some beautifully drawn characters, who come vibrantly alive in the hands of a terrific storyteller. The suspense mounts to very high levels as the tale draws to an end, much too soon. I loved it, and it is highly recommended.

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  • Posted September 9, 2011

    Captivating

    This riveting and intense-moving tale took me on a ride that I did not want to get off. The brutal death of their father leads to several suspects as Tom seeks to find the killer among them; meanwhile Rachel is trying to save the wild pack of dogs and gets tangled in Tom's investigation. This captivating novel is the best one thus far in this gripping series.

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  • Posted July 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    a superb thriller that focuses on animal abuse inside of a strong whodunit

    In Mason County, Virginia feral dogs apparently ripped the throat of Dr. Gordon Hall. However, deputy sheriff Tom Bridger has doubts that a wild pack murdered Hall; he believes a human handler had his or her canine kill the victim as a part of an illegal dog fighting operation. However proving his assertion and finding the real culprit appears impossible though he looks closely at the dysfunctional family of the victim. The outraged locals plan to hunt down the packs even as dog-napping has arisen in the county.

    At the same, Tom's girlfriend veterinarian Rachel Goddard and her assistant Holly Turner try to prevent the canine massacre from occurring while their clinic wall has been posted by Missing Dog pleas. They end up in the middle of Tom's investigation while the local dog fighting ring chief watches them carefully in case they need to join Hall.

    With a nod to the Michael Vick conviction, the latest Rachel Goddard amateur sleuth (see The Heat of the Moon and Broken Places) is a superb thriller that focuses on animal abuse inside of a strong whodunit. The story line is action-packed with a strong mystery, but it is the description of the maltreatments of animals, whose images at times overwhelms the heroine, her assistant and the readers, and will remain in our memories long after the climax.

    Harriet Klausner

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