Conant, Susan. Bloodlines. New York: A Perfect Crime Book, 1992.

This is one of those quick reads that you almost feel like reading over again because it goes by so fast. Holly Winter is a writer who has a column about dogs. In her spare time she trains, shows and is obsessed with Alaskan malamutes. Be prepared for overkill. Holly is extremely passionate about dogs of all kinds and loathes puppy mills. When she discovers a malamute for sale at a pet shop she just knows the dog came from a puppy mill. Only going to investigate the malamute, Holly gets caught up in a mystery when the owner of the pet shop is brutally murdered and the malamute goes missing. Holly is straight out of Murder, She Wrote as she tackles solving the crime by tangling with tough guys and other shady characters.

Confessional: I get snagged by repetitiveness. If something occurs too often *in any situation and not just books* it sticks out like a throbbing thumb to me. In this case, Holly Winter’s condescending tone when she is explaining something. Here’s what I mean. These are direct quotes from the book:

  • “You know her? If you don’t know what I knew…”
  • “Maybe you don’t know the breed.”
  • “You may not realize.”
  • “Maybe you’ll understand. If not I’d better explain.”
  • “Doesn’t everyone know this? Maybe not.”
  • “In case you didn’t know…”
  • “If you know anything about obedience…”
  • “In case you’ve spent the last two years exiled…let me explain.”
  • “Before I tell you…I want to make sure that, in case you are a newcomer, you understand something…”
  • “In case you aren’t a specialist in AKC regulations, let me explain.”
  • “You probably don’t need a translation but just in case…”
  • “You do know about that, don’t you?”
  • “You do know how to read a pedigree, don’t you?”
  • “Stranger around here?”
  • “You know what a palindrome is, don’t you?”
  • “Have I lost you?”
  • “…in case I’ve lost you…”
  • “You know what an Elkhound is?”

And the list goes on and on. It happens enough times that it sticks out to me. The more it sticks out, the more I am aware of it…and it drives me crazy.

Reason read: Dog Day is August 26th.

Author fact: Conant won the Maxwell Award for Fiction Writing in 1991. By the titles of her books you can tell she is a huge dog lover.

Book trivia: While I was bogged down by how didactic Holly could be, other people complained about how “preachy” she was about puppy mills. For some reason that was more forgivable to me. People tend to write about what they know. It’s obvious Conant has strong opinions about puppy mills so she’s going to express those opinions through Holly.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter “I Love a Mystery” (p 118).

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