I reviewed the first book in this series, Woof at the Door (click here), the second book A Tiger's Tale (click here), an author interview (click here), and a guest post (click here.) Today I am reviewing the third in the series. Let's dive back into the Call of the Wilde mystery series.
Author: Laura Morrigan
Copyright: March 2015 (Berkley) 304 pgs
Series: 3rd in Call of the Wilde Mystery series
Sensuality: mild kissing and situations
Mystery Sub-genre: Amateur Sleuth
Main Characters: Grace Wilde, Animal behaviorist who speaks with animals
Setting: Modern day, Jacksonville Florida
Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review
Grace’s abusive ex-brother-in-law, Anthony Ortega, dies under suspicious circumstances and her sister is taken in for questioning. Grace been getting calls for Ortega for what purpose she never found out, but to clear Emma, she is going to find out. She finds out from Ortega's supermodel girlfriend, Jasmine, that he was likely concerned about a thoroughbred Friesian he was buying her but that went missing. Grace believes if she finds the horse, she will somehow clear Emma from a murder charge. Two subplots figure into the story, Detective Boyle is convinced Emma killed her abusive ex-husband, and also believes Grace and maybe Kai are involved with the mob from the last adventure. Secondly, the mob hit-man, Logan, from the last book is contacting Grace and warning her she is in danger as she searches for the missing horse, complicating her relationship with Kai.
Grace has spunk and determination but seems less clear thinking than in prior books. I felt she was a touch ditzy in this outing. Sergeant Kai Duncan is dealing with finding out Grace communicates with animals in a more special way than he first thought, and trying to not be overbearing in keeping her safe. Emma, her kind and capable sister who had been abused by Ortega, is now accomplished in martial arts which raises the question, could she have killed him? Will, childhood friend and their lawyer, is a sheer delight. Logan is the dark, dangerous mob killer that calls Grace "Sweetness". Make no mistake, he is more than a "bad boy" persona, though he does have his own sense of justice... as long as it doesn't conflict with his job.
A few beach scenes interspersed with rural settings provides a good feeling of remote and isolated landscapes as the story unfolds. The plot was a little disjointed until the last bit where the significance of the horse to the murder was revealed. Otherwise, it seemed a stretch that the missing horse was such a lynchpin in the case and the time and effort to find it seemed misplaced when Emma sat in jail. The pacing was fairly consistent, keeping my interest, particularly with Logan's mysterious appearances.
The climax involves a barn in the middle of nowhere, two experienced killers, the missing Fresian, a storm, and a goat. It was well done and had a touch of cat-and-mouse maneuvering that delivered great tension.
I enjoyed this book in the series, although I felt it was not quite as riveting as the previous two. Still, it delivered an entertaining mystery with a surprise or two that kept the pages turning.
Rating: An enjoyable read, good but not stellar. Fans of the series won't want to miss it, but best to not start the series with this book if you are new to it.