Quick Reads For a Short Month

The Wrong Girl (2013) by Hank Phillippi Ryan opens with Jane Ryland listening to her friend Tucker Cameron going on and on about her birth mother not being her real birth mother.  Birth mother? Tucker was adopted?  News to Jane.

Once co-workers, Jane and Tucker were acquaintances, but hardly what you call friends.  They do have a couple things in common.  Both are news reporters but Tucker has been recently fired.  Currently Jane works for a local newspaper.  Tuck hopes Jane’s connections will help her find the answers to the story of her life.

While Jane and Tucker are sorting out Tucker’s life, a nine-one-one call has alerted Boston detectives Jake Brogan and partner Paul DeLuca to the murder of a foster mother.  Brogan and DeLuca not only have a murder on their hands, a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old were also found in the apartment.  To add to the mystery, these two seasoned detectives have not found one thing that would lead to the victim’s identity.

Across town finds 67-year-old Niall Brannigan, executive director of The Brannigan Family and Children Services, making a Sunday afternoon stop at the office.  He is quite a particular fellow.  Always concerned about the public image of The Brannigan.  Recently installed electronic equipment helped keep him apprised of the employees coming and going, although he never bothered to tell them of the change.

Niall was surprised to find a light on in Lillian Finch’s office.  It was not Ms Finch, but Ella Gavin, the worker who had taken Tucker’s call about being mismatched with her birth mother.

Ella was there searching through Lillian’s files.  If something was wrong, she would find the documentation in Ms Finch’s meticulously kept files.  Both Ella and Niall are unaware that a news conference has been called in the recent murder.

Snow is piling up making traffic difficult.  At the scene of the murder it seems everything and everyone is running late, except for the reporters.  Family Services has not arrived yet, nor has the crime scene investigators, or the new ME, Katharine Bradly McMahan.  Even “Afterwards”, the crime scene cleanup crew, has arrived before the ME.

Detectives Brogan and DeLuca, along with Dr. McMahan faced the usual questions being shouted out from the reporters.  Brogan was not used to handling a news conference and could not wait to return to the investigation.  One last question was shouted out.  “Detective Brogan, Jane Ryland with a follow-up.  You said you have no witnesses and no information.  So, who called nine-one-one?”

Who did call nine-one-one?  Guess you will have to read The Wrong Girl to find out the answer to that question.

Sit! Stay! Speak! (2015) by Annie England Nolan is a rescue book.  Really.  I found it on the floor near my table during the November Garage Sale.  I left it on my table in case someone came by looking for it.  Since no one claimed it, I took it home.  What else could I do?  Read it of course.

Actually, it was the puppy on the cover that caught my attention.  Such a cutie.  Turns out it is more than a story about the dog, Felix.  It is also about those humans who became part of Felix’s life.

Addie Andrews is new to town and just about everyone has taken notice.  Addie has recently left, maybe escaped is the better word, Chicago and arrived in Eunice, Arkansas, a place she used to spend summers as a child.

Eunice is a mere crossroad on a map, at least compared to Chicago.  In Eunice Addie was hoping to clear her mind, ease the pain in her heart, and at the same time deal with missing Jonah.  Actually, it was her great aunt Tilda, who was very well known in Eunice, that made her move possible.  Addie inherited Aunt Tilda’s house.

The house held strong memories for Addie.  It was also pretty much past the fixer-upper stage.  As a one-woman crew with little money to make repairs or restore it, Addie was not sure she could care for it as her aunt had hoped.

Feeling overwhelmed after a taking a tour through Aunt Tilda’s place, Addie walked down to the levee.  She had not seen this area in years.  It was not longer the clean picnic area she recalled from her childhood.

While looking around, she heard what sounded like a whimper.  Being braver than me, she walked toward the sound and found a large black trash bag.  It was not only making sounds but was moving.  Addie managed to tear open the plastic bag where she found a blood covered dog.  Addie took action.  She wrapped the dog in a blanket and went looking for a veterinarian.

Finding Dr. Dixon’s office led Addie to Wanda Carter who worked there as a receptionist.  Plus, Wanda had an Aunt Tilda connection.  She used to care for Miss Tilda’s cats.  A friendship was formed on the spot.  Addie also received word that the dog was going to make it.

That word was delivered by the farmer who had been standing in the office when Addie had burst in with the dog.  Turns out he also knew she moved into her aunt’s place.  His name?  Jasper Floyd of Floyd Farms.

Several characters are woven into this quick read.  Some quirky, some not so very nice.  Thing is, everyone feels they know Addie because her aunt Tilda was so well known in Eunice.  It takes Addie and the locals a while to get to know each other.  You will learn that Addie can be a tad bull-headed and has no trouble standing up for herself.  There are even a few folks who do not like having her around.

But one character who does love her is Alex, the pit bull she rescued.  This part of the story rang quite close to home for me.  One of our grand dogs is a rescued pit bull named Willow.  Willow too was abused, found in a gutter wasting away.  She also had been shot.

Willow was rescued in Chicago and was adopted by our daughter Jennifer who lives in a small crossroad Illinois town called Dunlap.  I cannot imagine a more loving dog than Willow.  She loves to be close to people.  If there happens to be tiny space near the spot where you are seated, Willow will burrow in next to you.

Sit! Stay! Speak! has a little of everything.  Even if you are not an animal lover, you will find mystery, friendship, second chances, and love interests between the pages of this quick read.  You should also check out the recipes at the end of the book.


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