Under the Dog Star
By Sandra Parshall
(Poisoned Pen Press, Hardcover, 9781590588789, 250pp.)
Publication Date: September 2011
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Something terrifying is happening to the dogs in the mountain community of Mason County, Virginia. “Missing Dog” posters cover the waiting room walls at Dr. Rachel Goddard’s veterinary clinic. A pack of feral canines roams at night, attacking livestock in a desperate search for food. Now a prominent physician, Gordon Hall, has been found dead, his throat torn open. Sheriff ’s Department investigator Tom Bridger believes the killing was premeditated murder, with a trained attack dog as the weapon. But Dr. Hall’s son insists that the pack killed his father, and he organizes a group of men to find and shoot the animals. Rachel and her friend Holly Turner make enemies by trying to move the pack to sanctuary. Tom, in love with Rachel, struggles to divide his time among the feral dog problem, the search for the dogfighting operation, and the hunt for Gordon Hall’s killer. It’s complicated by Hall’s five rivalrous children and a multitude of suspects—human and canine
Sandra Parshall, a native Southerner, worked as a newspaper reporter in South Carolina, West Virginia, and Baltimore. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, a longtime Washington journalist, and their cats. Under the Dog Star is fourth in her Agatha Award-winning series featuring veterinarian Rachel Goddard.
"Parshall’s latest is more than equal to earlier series entries (Broken Places, 2010, etc.), with spine-chilling tension from cover to cover. " —Kirkus Reviews
"In this tense and compelling entry in one of my favorite series, Virginia veterinarian Dr. Rachel Goddard and her fiancé, Deputy Sheriff Tom Bridger, deal with a vicious murder and the devastating consequences of illegal dog-fighting. Believable, sympathetic protagonists; a beautifully evoked setting; a haunting crime--Under the Dog Star is one of the un-put-down-able reads of the year." —Deborah Crombie, author of Necessary as Blood
"Well recommended, as it’s the fourth in an Agatha Award–winning series starring veterinarian Rachel Goddard" --Library Journal
"...a suspenseful tale distinguished by its sharp prose." —Publishers Weekly starred review of Broken Places
"Edge-of-the-seat suspense and a budding romance for Tom and Rachel make this essential reading for fans of Margaret Maron and Karin Slaughter." —Library Journal starred review of Disturbing the Dead
Winner of the Agatha Award for Best First Novel for The Heat of the Moon