Friday, August 11, 2006

Mystery Book Review: Targets of Affection by RG Willems

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Targets of Affection by RG Willems. We are reprinting it here for the convenience of our blog readers.Targets of Affection by RG Willems

Targets of Affection by RG Willems
A Shelby James Mystery
Cormorant Books (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-896951-98-8 (1896951988)
ISBN-13: 978-1-896951-98-0 (9781896951980)
Publication Date: June 2006
List Price: CDN$21.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Shelby James has a soft-spot for the underdog. Sick dogs, homeless cats, hurt birds, she goes to bat for them all as a veterinary nurse. So it's no surprise that Miranda Wall and her menagerie of needy animals appeal to her. But there's more to Miranda than meets the eye: a silent daughter named Jessie, and a stalking husband, among other disasters. When Shelby takes a closer look into Miranda's life, her search takes her into the sinister world of mental illness, child abuse, and domestic violence.

Review: Targets of Affection, RG Willems first mystery in a new series, introduces Shelby James, a veterinary technician working at a clinic outside of Saskatoon in northern Saskatchewan.

Shelby suspects a new client, Miranda Wall, of intentionally harming her pets in order to receive sympathetic attention in return when she brings them in for treatment. As Shelby is drawn into Miranda's world, an asthmatic daughter, recovering dog, and potentially abusive ex-husband complicate her investigation into why a woman would perform such acts.

Some mysteries defy simple classification. Targets of Affection has many elements of a cozy but also has a darker, harder edge to it. There is no overt violence, but the graphic descriptions of some of the procedures that take place in the veterinary clinic are definitely not for the squeamish.

Willems is a talented, articulate writer, though she takes well over half the book setting up the mystery in Targets of Affection. Once it becomes clear where the story is heading, the pace picks up and the ending, while not unexpected, has Shelby uncovering the necessary clues to confront Miranda about her suspicions.

There is every reason to believe that this Saskatchewan veterinary clinic will have its fair share of clients in need of Shelby's unique brand of sleuthing providing ample opportunities for Willems to write more mysteries in this series.

Special thanks to RG Willems for providing a copy of Targets of Affection for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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