Judy Akter: PIGFACE AND THE PERFECT DOG
Sometimes when situations are serious the author needs to throw him so humor and creative justice. Dr. Susan Hogan is very inquisitive, impetuous and impulsive which makes her the perfect person to become an amateur sleuth yet taking dangerous chances at times that might endanger her and other people. When a rifle carrying man, who she dubs as pig face, confronts her in a grocery store she realizes that there might be more to this confrontation than meets the eye.
Within this novel you will meet Aunt Jenny and her boyfriend a judge who provide the local color and warmth needed that is missing in some of the other characters. Aunt Jenny thrives on cooking fantastic meals and Susan is noted for not really knowing the way to even make simple dishes which makes the story come alive even more. But, when Jesse Conroy’s body is found the local law enforcement need the help of Jake who is the Chief of Campus Security to solve the case. Judge Jackson is Aunt Jenny’s boyfriend and a powerful man but things spiral out of control really fast as someone is out to hurt not only Jenny but the rest of her family too. Gus Conroy is Jesse’s brother and although they are family and he cares about his brother’s death his parents are anything but supportive of him and his father’s reaction to his son’s death is definitely not what anyone would expect of a parent. Negative responses and not even caring about his wife, what Aunt Jenny does when she confronts him is priceless and proves she’s a strong force to be reckoned with.
When Jake asks Susan to try and find out more about Jesse since she teaches at the school in Oak Grove, things take a dangerous turn but first let’s meet Lucy. Lucy is a precious dog that Gus claims he found and wants Aunt Jenny to have. Immediately becoming more than just a mother hen to this dog she takes every precaution to make sure that it’s safe, fed and her main concern. But, when you look hard and long at the collar she’s wearing you begin to wonder just what might be hidden inside and why Jenny removed it. Large and bulky for this little dog there’s something we are about to learn regarding Lucy and this man called Pig Face.
Detective Dirk Jordan dealt with the murder of Missy Jackson and accused Susan of committing the murder since the body was found in the trunk of her car. Dirk would be in charge of this murder but would have to pass it off to Walt Wainwright the sheriff.
Susan was on her way home when she pictured the men with rifles and dead dogs and a body in the pasture and her aunt with her new pup, Lucy. Two murders in one year related to the academic year but why?
Jesse Conroy went to school on a scholarship and could have been student body president but fun and games, pranks and other things got him in trouble but who wanted him dead? Dr. Leticia Hornsby would process the body and do the autopsy. Gus Conroy was the assistant manager at Market Central and Jesse’s brother. Their relationship was not tight and he realized that Jesse was in trouble but when he learns what he was into it might explain the rest. Jesse dated a young girl named Amanda whose roommate was a self-centered girl named Jill. Amanda was upset when she did not hear from Jesse and realizing that she was pregnant with his child made his disappearance worse. But, learning about his death made her feel even more alone as her parents we will learn literally disowned her and could care less about having a grandchild and his parents were not any better.
Susan Logan waits outside her friend Ellen’s classroom to approach Amanda who considers her questions nothing she wants to answer and tells Jill that Susan is stalking her. Seeing the protestors that believed in being allowed to carry guns spooked Susan and realizing that she was being followed at times would make her a target. But, somehow she manages to get involved and at times she ruins the investigation as she pokes around in the wrong places and is brought to the attention of the authorities who are not thrilled with her actions nor is Jake.
Jake was helping with the protest when someone deliberately bumped into him and he was seriously shot and wound up in the hospital sending Susan into a wild tailspin and angry when not allowed to be near him or see him when she wanted in the hospital. This is just the tip of the iceberg as Aunt Jenny’s house is burglarized several times, her windows shot out and Jake is in dire danger. Susan is astute even though impulsive and she realizes that Pinkston, or pigface, is the one who came to her door asking if she found or had a lost pup and demanded to know where the dog was. Of course she did not admit that Jenny had the dog and everyone realizes that they are talking about the man that led to protest. Nothing came back on the background check and if this man had a felony conviction anywhere he would have had him for this too but guns are allowed and it’s not a felon to carry them at least in Orange Grove. Pinkston said that Jake’s shooting was an accident but was it? Then they started to think out of the box and realized that the collar that Lucy was wearing might hold the answer as there might be something hidden within it that might lead them to drugs from Mexico or more. Why would thy come to a small university town and be so obvious by sporting or carrying rifles and protesting and advocating open-carry of all weapons? Addresses checked out but two women Dawn and Rhonda were their female leaders and dangerous and when questioned Dawn kept silent. Added in Susan faces her new boss Doctor Knudson who questions her about her time off and not spending enough time at the university since Jake was shot. Victoria a new teacher at this school seems to have something against Susan and is what you might say a tattletale.
Aunt Jenny’s house is ransacked and they begin to realize that Jesse’s death is related to these people and he was into something with them. He fell in with the wrong crowd, liked carrying a gun and like his older brother, Gus, is like their father, was opposed to firearms of any kind. Why did these people rent so many rooms all over town? Where were they meeting and who was their leader was it Pigface? After seeing him at the grocery store and following him way out past her house Susan relates where he went. Telling that she saw a sign that said Private Property-trespassers will be Shot!
When Jake finally gets out of the hospital and moves into Susan’s house will they finally decide to live together and will they get that dog that they want? But, first with her friend Ellen she drives dressed in black to find out where the hideout is and what they see and whom they see there would jeopardize the investigation. What was Gus doing there and what role was he playing? When his real role for being with these carry gunmen was revealed Gus might be in danger as his purpose was to be kept secret. Not allowing anything to stop him and Aunt Jenny realizing that she too was in danger, the police had to come up with a plan to try and stop these people before anyone else was killed.
Jake wanted to make Susan happy even though she crossed the line too many times with the law and they drove out to a rescue shelter and got Gracie. Gracie is smart and when her family is in danger watch what she does she given the command and watch what happens when a killer is caught. The ending is filled with humor sarcasm and the characters are true to life, adventurous and bold. Susan is smart but Jake tries to keep her centered and under control but will that ever happen? So, will they ever get married? Who gets Gracie is they split up? Who killed Jesse and what is going to happen to Gus? An ending that was realistic, funny and yet true to life and you wonder what the author has in store for Susan and Jake the next time out. Find out but beware as you never know what might happen as Pigface learns when he faces the perfect dog.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine
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