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Reviewed by Ruth Castleberry for Readers' Favorite
Stolen by Linda J. Wright offers a unique perspective on crimes against animals as Kieran Yeats investigates the theft of eleven Bengal cats from a cattery, along with several missing pets (cats and dogs) in the Oak Bay neighborhood. Jen, Kieran’s goddaughter, is taking care of the Bengals at Wild at Heart while the owner is attending a cat show out of town. When Jen checks up on the cats, she finds they are gone, but all the doors are locked and the alarm system is still armed. Panicked, she wakes Kieran up and asks for help. Contacting Oak Bay Police Detective Alexander MacLeish (Mac) to help Jen report the stolen cats, Kieran discovers there has been a rash of local pet thefts. As she begins her investigation, Kieran meets with the pet owners who want help finding their animals. Now, Kieran is working for both the cattery owner and the group of local pet owners, and according to experts she only has five days to locate the animals before they are shipped off to drug testing facilities.
The mystery in this series debut, Stolen, is well conceived. Linda J. Wright provides interesting information about animal thefts committed by “bunchers”, underground pet thieves who kidnap pets or illegally trap stray animals for the illegitimate purpose of meeting the demand by pharma, universities and private labs for test animals. The characters are realistic, the dialogue genuine. The pace is steady, and red herrings distract. The exchanges between Kieran and her cat, Trey, are priceless and I laughed out loud a few times. For instance, imagine a cat who keeps track of the number of cat food cans in the pantry and apparently, when the stash falls below six cans, Trey acts out. Cozy mystery fans will enjoy this, especially those that follow series featuring feline sleuths.