The More the Terrier by Linda O. Johnston

By Don Helin

In her first Pet Rescue Mystery, Beaglemania, author Linda O. Johnston writes a cozy mystery so compelling that New York Times best-selling author Rebecca Hale says, “Gutsy Lauren Vancouver easily wins over the hearts of animals in need as well as readers.  Vancouver is an ardent advocate for homeless pets.”  Now the second book in the series, The More the Terrier, is available.

Shelter manager Lauren Vancouver, an ardent advocate for homeless pets, has taught herself a new trick – sleuthing.  Now she has a chance to hone her skills as animal hoarding leads to one less human life.  When Lauren finds out that her old mentor, Mamie Spelling, is an animal hoarder, no one is more shocked and Lauren jumps to help re-home the cramped critters.

But Mamie’s troubles don’t end there.  She is accused of murder when the CEO of a pet shelter network is found dead.  The aggressive business woman was bullying Mamie to join her organization by threatening to expose her hoarding.  That was before Lauren took control of the situation.  Now Lauren’s dogged determination to clear her former friend of murder may put a killer on her own trail.

Linda O. Johnston is a multi-talented author.  Her first published fiction appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and won the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for Best First Mystery Short Story of the Year.  Since then Linda has published more short stories, and 27 romance and mystery novels, including paranormal romances for Harlequin Nocturne.

Linda’s Pet Rescue mysteries, a spin off from her Kendra Ballantyne Pet Sitter mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime, features Lauren Vancouver a determined pet rescuer who runs a no-kill shelter.

I caught up with Linda the other day and had a chance to ask her about her book.

Is there anything special you’d like to tell us about The More the Terrier?

The More the Terrier is the second Pet Rescue Mystery from Berkley Prime Crime.  The protagonist is Lauren Vancouver, the dedicated administrator of a wonderful no-kill pet shelter in the San Fernando Valley.  Poor Lauren – I’ve handed her a heck of a dilemma in The More the Terrier.  She learns at the beginning that her former mentor, Mamie Spelling, is now an animal hoarder.  Lauren, of course, has to help save all the animals.  But then someone is murdered, and Mamie becomes the main suspect.  By then, despite hating how Mamie endangered and mistreated so many animals, Lauren feels sorry for her old mentor and believes she must learn the truth about the murder to save Mamie.

Did any particular event inspire the plot idea?

No, fortunately I don’t know any animal hoarders.  There are TV shows that depict their horrible situation, though.  In the Pet Rescue mysteries, animals may start out in difficult circumstances but, of course, they’re all saved.  I wish that was possible in real life!

What are you doing to promote your book?

I’m scheduling signings at the West Hollywood Book Fair, the Barnes & Noble at West Side Pavilion, Mysteries to Die For in Thousand Oaks, California, the new Mysterious Galaxy store in Redondo Beach and more.  I’m also doing a blog tour – ten lined up so far, and I hope there are more to come.

A number of books have been sent out for reviews and more will be sent out in the near future.

I’m also keeping friends – Facebook and otherwise – up to date on what’s going on.

The More the Terrier is featured in a professional newsletter that has gone out to librarians and booksellers, and I’ll be doing my own newsletter soon.  Suggestions are always welcome.

What’s Next?

The next Pet Rescue Mystery, Hounds Abound, will be release in April 2012,  It’s based on a very special private shelter that has animals that are especially difficult to adopt out –  seniors and disabled pets.  Someone connected with it is murdered, and Lauren inserts herself once again into a position of needing to help a friend.

I also write paranormal romances for Harlequin Nocturne.  My next Nocturne Bites (an e-novella), Hawk’s Challenge is an October release.  Cougar’s Conquest will be available in November.  They’re both part of my Alpha Force miniseries about a covert military unit of shape shifters, and there will be at least one more full-length Alpha Force novel.  If you think I’m obsessed with animals, and writing about them, you’d be correct.  However, I’m also writing a book for Harlequin Romantic Suspense with the working title of Undying love –  and it doesn’t contain a single pet.

When you’re not writing, what are you doing (hobbies, family, etc.)?

My husband and I are empty nesters, but we’re both at the bark and call of our delightful Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Lexie and Mystie.  Of course my pups both sniff me suspiciously on the days I return from volunteering at Pet Orphans of Southern California, where I’m a dog adoption counselor.

What didn’t I ask you that I should have?

What is your motto for the Pet Rescue Mysteries, which involve a very special no-kill animal shelter?  Answer:  “No-kill means pets, not people!”  Hey, these are cozy mysteries after all.

Thanks for your time, Linda.  Your book looks terrific.


Linda O. Johnston’s first published fiction appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and won the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for Best First Mystery Short Story of the year. Since then, Linda has published more short stories, plus 27 romance and mystery novels, including paranormal romance for Harlequin Nocturne.

Linda’s Pet Rescue Mysteries, a spinoff from her Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime, features Lauren Vancouver, a determined pet rescuer who runs a no-kill shelter. Of course, in this cozy mystery series, “no-kill” refers to the animals, not people. Her upcoming release is THE MORE THE TERRIER.

To learn more about Linda, please visit her website.

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