Do you love dogs? Would you, like Veterinarian Rachel Goddard, risk your own life to save abandoned and stolen pets? Under the Dog Star, fourth in the Rachel Goddard series, by Sandra Parshall, brings to the reader a combination of emotions-outrage, compassion, terror and, at times, hopelessness. A five-star cast of characters move across this book like a well-directed motion picture. Rachel, and the love of her life, Deputy Tom Bridger, are caught up in an all too familiar scenario of feral dogs, former pets that are 'dumped' in the countryside and form a pack for food and protection. Farmers are complaining, townspeople are gathering for mass slaughter. When prominent physician Gordon Hall is killed on his own lawn, by having his throat ripped out, the problems escalate. Was it a fatal attack by the dog pack? Or just one, highly trained, killer canine?
Suspicion of illegal dog fighting comes to the foreground as Rachel and her friends prepare a rescue haven for the dogs from the pack. Soon both she and Tom become targets of a methodical murderer. Gordon Hall's oldest son comes under scrutiny, as does his daughter and her boyfriend. The three adopted Hall children have secrets to tell-especially the beautiful, sad, little girl who Rachel tries to befriend.
Parshall's journalist background is evident in her novels. Straight forward, fast paced, yet laced with a healthy dose of haunting prose. There is one particularly eerie, and unforgettable, scene of a crashed car in a ravine. Another tense and emotionally riveting portrayal of Rachel's compassion is depicted in a cave, rescuing a frightened, starving dog.
Complicated plot, great characters, and lots of surprises are in store for the reader of Under the Dog Star.