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Bride and Groom    by Susan Conant order for
Bride and Groom
by Susan Conant
Order:  USA  Can
Berkley, 2004 (2004)
* *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

Conant's latest installment in the life and adventures of Holly Winter and her adored malemutes does not fail to entertain. Life is looking good to Holly. Her newly published opus, '101 Ways to Cook Liver' (a cookbook of dog treats), is achieving modest success, partially due to the efforts of 'Mac' McCloud, veterinarian and fellow author, who has taken it upon himself to increase Holly's sales. (Not that Holly puts her own effort in the same rank as Mac's best-selling 'Ask Dr. Mac', and certainly not even close to his wife's artistic literary gem.)

On the personal front, Holly has very successfully mended fences with her ex, veterinarian Steve Delaney, and is making wedding plans, much to the satisfaction of her cousin Leah and friend Rita. Best of all, Steve shares her love for dogs. Her malemutes Kimi and Rowdy, and Steve's dogs Lady, India, and Sammy, will be part of the wedding ceremonies, a decision accepted with approval by her dog-loving family and friends. In short, Holly has no time or inclination to worry about a spate of murders.

Four women have been killed in a short span of time. Apart from the first victim, all have a connection with the dog world; three were also known to Holly. All women in the Boston area have been warned to take precautions. Holly herself is unsettled, but naturally is concentrating on concerns far more vital to her: wedding preparations, book signings, and maintaining peace in her household. (Kimi and India share one trait, supreme self-confidence in their own worth; and young Sammy is delightedly testing the limits of his new home.) Unfortunately, it is evident that the killer is not finished; and Holly is closer to the dangerous action than she realizes.

Once again, Conant provides an engrossing tale, filled with lively characters, both human and canine. It is a pleasure to meet Holly and her friends again, and pleasing to see the positive developments in her life. The murders themselves culminate in a sad and poignant ending, the tragedy counter-balanced by Holly and Steve's successful wedding.

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