Ah, summer! Days at the pool or lake, picnics in the park, camping out with a whole lot of fun mixed in. The month of August is also called the dog days of summer. I thought it might peak your animal instincts by mixing in a few authors whose contemporary romance and mystery novels are written with animals in mind.
Katie Ruggle: Her newest romantic suspense novel, “Run to Ground,” is the first in the Rocky Mountain K9 Unit Series. Officer Theo and his K9 companion are on the track of a ruthless killer who targets women on the run. They will do whatever it takes to survive and save one particular woman neither can live without. Katie is a Police Academy graduate and she says she’s a fan of anything that makes her feel like a bad-ass. She shoots guns, rides horses, cross country skis and travels to warm places to scuba dive. Author Charlaine Harris commented, “I love Ruggle’s characters. They’re sharply drawn and vividly alive. I’m happy when they find each other. Her books are wonderful escapist novels.”
Debbie Burns: “A New Leash On Life” is Debbie’s first contemporary romance novel but she has garnered several writing commendations and first place awards for her short stories. When her leading character, Craig Williams, draws the short straw and has to take his daughter’s new puppy to a shelter it becomes just another painful episode in the fall out of a miserable divorce. After a confrontation with a young woman running the shelter he wants to find a way to reconnect with her. Her compassionate and caring nature might be the perfect salve for his broken heart. Debbie lives in Saint Louis with her family and two phenomenal rescue dogs.
Clea Simon: What’s new pussycat? Clea’s novel, “As Dark As My Fur,” is another in the Blackie and Care mystery romance series that’s what’s new. A seemingly routine case becomes something far darker and deeper for novice private investigator, Care, and her feline companion, Blackie. This is another intriguing book featuring Blackie, the cat whose past reincarnation as a PI shines light on his ability to help Care. This unusual detective duo finds themselves in a nightmarish urban landscape fighting for their lives and the memories of those they love. The book not only combines elements of feline fantasy but that of a true whodunit. I give it a good MEOW!
Jodi Thomas: With millions of books in print and over 40 novels and 13 short stories what’s not to like about her. Her stories travel through the past and present days of Texas and draw readers from around the world. Her newest in the Ransom Canyon romance series is, “Wild Horse Springs.” Sheriff Dan Brightman may not lead the most exciting life but finding a lone sparkly boot in the middle of a deserted highway gets him thinking the cowgirl who lost it is exactly the shakeup he needs. Debbie Macomber, NY Times bestselling author, wrote, “Compelling and beautifully written, it is exactly the kind of heart-wrenching, emotional story one has come to expect from Jodi Thomas.”
Donna Andrews: Her books are for the birds! Well, not really. She has written 21 books over the years all featuring our fine feathered friends from peacocks, flamingos, penguins, buzzards and, yes, even emus. Her latest, “Die Like An Eagle,” is with Meg Lanslow — blacksmith, wife, mother and amatuer slueth who can’t help but find dead bodies wherever she looks. She is also the team mom for her twin son’s baseball team, the Eagles. This is the 20th novel in this long running mystery series and the 21st, “Gone Gull,” will be released this August. Macmillan Publishers said, “The brilliantly funny Donna Andrews delivers another winner in the acclaimed avian-themed series that mystery readers have come to love.”
These cozy novels have it all — suspense, intrigue, drama, humour, romance and don’t forget, the animals. Stay cool, enjoy your summer fun and happy reading, everyone!
Marianne Murray Guess is the owner of New and Olde Pages Book Shoppe in Englewood. She lives in Laura, Ohio.