Pamela Kramer has just completed a review of Did Not Survive.
Five stars-quite enjoyed it.
Review posted on Examiner.com at http://www.examiner.com/book-in-national/did-not-survive-a-zoo-mystery-by-ann-littlewood-review
Did Not Survive by Ann Littlewood is a murder mystery set in a small zoo near Vancouver, Washington. The protagonist, Iris Oakley, a keeper at the zoo, is pregnant with her first child. In the first book, Night Kill, her husband was killed, and now she is living alone and trying to plan her future as a single mother.
In the first chapter, Iris arrives at the zoo early and hears the elephants trumpeting in distress. She enters the elephant barn and sees a man prostrate on the floor inside the elephant enclosure. Damrey, one of the elephants, is rocking the body with her foot and playing with the clothes with her trunk. The man does not survive.
How he was killed is only one of the many mysteries the reader will ponder. How did a dead tiger in the zoo van disappear--with with the zoo van? And where are the turtles going?
Not only are there many mysteries to solve, there are many characters in this mystery--and many of them are quirky. The veterinary tech who loves expensive jewelry and dresses stylishly (especially compared to the rest of the zoo employees in their uniforms), the new veterinarian who is definitely nervous about something, and the detective who refuses to take Iris's sleuthing seriously. There are also the characters protesting the zoo; they want the elephants moved to a sanctuary.
Once begun, the story is difficult to put down. The action is non-stop, the first person narrative believable, and the solution clever. Once the end was near, I realized that the clues had been carefully placed along the path for a discerning reader to follow. I did not follow the clues, but I enjoyed the ending nonetheless.
Ann Littlewood is a former zoo keeper and as such she has special insight into the difficulties that zoos, sanctuaries and wildlife preserves have in managing elephants. There are many points of view expressed in the novel--from those who believe zoos have the best chance of keeping these creatures safe and healthy to those who believe that the elephants should have a place with many acres to allow the elephants to roam freely.
The mysteries are published by Poisoned Pen Press, a small, independent publisher of mysteries in Scottsdale, Arizona. There is also a bookstore in Scottsdale called the Poisoned Pen.
The NetGalley Team