Synopses & Reviews
Iris Oakley, pregnant and still recovering from her husbands murder, wants only to carry on as a keeper at Finley Memorial Zoo in Vancouver, Washington. But she is confronted by a terrifying situation: alone and with no elephant expertise, she must rescue her boss, Kevin Wallace, from being mauled by a zoo elephant. Though she gets him to safety, he dies of his injuries. No one understands why reliable old Damrey attacked the foreman, and Iris inadvertently misdirects the investigation. As zoo staff descend into anxiety and animosity, the welfare of the animals is threatened, as well as the lives of keepers. Rattled coworkers nominate Iris to find out whats going on. She finds a surprising number of motives to kill the foreman, but Damrey, the elephant, doesnt have one. Despite the distraction of trying to construct her new life as a single mother, Iris discovers that the elephant keepers are locked in a bitter feud, the new veterinarian is keeping secrets, and an old flame still hates Wallace. New-born clouded leopard cubs cheer up the troubled staff, but even that has its dark side. Adding to the chaos, animal rights activists are picketing the zoo. They want the elephants sent to a sanctuary, but is that a better option for them than the improved exhibit that is on the drawing board? Why isnt that exhibit under construction as planned? A new foreman shows up with alarming ideas, the police keep dropping by, and animals are disappearing into thin air
"Zookeeper Iris Oakley, who lost her husband in her first outing (2008's Night Kill), returns to Finley Memorial Zoo near Vancouver, Wash., for a second harrowing adventure that meshes the complexities of animal care and human failings. Early one morning, Iris discovers her boss, Kevin Wallace, face down in the elephant enclosure, apparently being mauled. What first appears to be a dreadful accident is revealed by autopsy to be a murder and merely the first incident to bedevil the little zoo. Although she's six months pregnant, several colleagues suggest that Iris should look into other disturbing events, including the theft of a zoo van and the body of a tiger. Fascinating details of zoo life--the impending birth of clouded leopards, collecting urine samples from elephants--lend color. Man again proves to be the most dangerous animal, and Iris needs all her cunning to discover the rogue behind the violence in a follow-up that should win Littlewood more fans." --Publishers Weekly
“Mystery mavens may pick out the killer early on, but a wealth of behind-the-scenes detail smoothly integrated into the puzzle makes this a promising debut.” --Kirkus Reviews of Night Kill
“A debut from former zookeeper Ann Littlewood, it convincingly and affectionately evokes its animal-friendly setting. Call it a zoo cozy.” --The Seattle Times of Night Kill
“Mystery mavens may pick out the killer early on, but a wealth of behind-the-scenes detail smoothly integrated into the puzzle makes this a promising debut.” --Kirkus Reviews of N
Pregnant and still recovering from her husband's murder, zoo keeper Iris Oakley must rescue her boss from being mauled by a zoo elephant. She gets the man to safety, but he dies of his injuries. No one understands why the reliable elephant attacked. Iris's coworkers nominate her to find out why.
About the Author
Ann Littlewood was a zoo keeper in Portland, Oregon for twelve years. She raised lions and cougars, an orangutan; and native mammals, as well as parrots, penguins, and a multitude of owls. The financial realities of raising primates (two boys of her own) led Ann to exchange a hose and rubber boots for a briefcase and pantsuit in the healthcare industry. Ann has maintained her membership in the American Association of Zookeepers and has kept in touch with the zoo world by visiting zoos and through friendships with zoo staffers.