The White Shepherd
by Annie Dalton
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Severn House
Released: Oct. 1, 2015
Source: Review copy from the publisher.
Book Description from Goodreads:
Anna Hopkins’ daily walk through Oxford’s picturesque Port Meadow is rudely interrupted one autumn morning when her white German Shepherd, Bonnie, unearths a bloodsoaked body in the undergrowth. For Anna it’s a double shock: she’d met the victim previously. Naomi Evans was a professional researcher who had told Anna she was working on a book about a famous Welsh poet, and who offered to help Anna trace Bonnie’s original owner.
From her conversations with Naomi, Anna is convinced that she was not the random victim of a psychopathic serial killer, as the police believe. She was targeted because of what she knew. With the official investigation heading in the wrong direction entirely, Anna teams up with fellow dogwalkers Isadora Salzman and Tansy Lavelle to discover the truth.
The White Shepherd is a suspense novel set in Oxford, England. The author did an awesome job of making it clear why the characters acted as they did. Anna isn't always a nice person. She's still struggling after a tragedy in her past and has trouble making friendships. I still cared what happened to her because I could see her struggling between her wants and her fears.
The author gave glimpses into the complex motives of even minor characters. Awesome dog, too. Ironically, it's the death of Naomi--a woman whom Anna thought might become a friend--that is a catalyst for Anna finally making some strong friendships.
Anna and her friends followed up on each new clue as to who killed Naomi, ran into false leads, and tried again. People unexpectedly died or went missing...but is it murder or something less sinister? I had a fair idea of whodunit and why about halfway through so I was not surprised by what Anna finally discovered. However, the author kept me firmly pulled into the story until the end because I wanted to know what happened with the characters.
The crime scenes were not described in a graphic, gory way, but they still felt vivid because of how the people viewing the scene reacted to it. There was no sex, mainly because Anna cannot let herself be vulnerable enough around others to allow such intimate contact. There was a fair amount of bad language of all kinds. The mystery that started with Naomi's death is wrapped up by the end, but the story did end with a "cliff hanger" of an unexplained but important Google alert going off. Overall, I'd recommend this complex suspense novel.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.