Iris Oakley was a zoo keeper at The Findley Memorial Zoo in Vancouver, Washington assigned to the bird collection exhibit. She and Denny, keeper of the reptiles, were sent to pick up exotic animals from a farm after a drug bust. The owners were growing and harvesting marijuana as well as running a meth lab. They also collected a number of exotic animals with the intention of selling them over the Internet to unscrupulous collectors. The arrest left the parrots and tortoises untended. The zoo was to hold the rare animals in quarantine until the trial.
On a return trip to the farm Iris and Denny were accosted by the Tipton family, owners of the farm, who wanted their birds back. While their father wasn’t able to get away, the two sons disappeared during the scuffle.
Iris continued her work at the zoo while she also tried to stop the trafficking that placed so many animals in danger. When the Tipton brothers showed up at her home threatening her family and friends, she went into full-out sleuth mode while trying to keep her two-year-old son safe from harm. She also had to contend with friends in trouble, two new possible relationships – the first since her husband died – and well-meaning co-workers determined to keep her safe. When one of her best friends was shot and lingered between life and death, Iris knew she had to find out who was behind the plot before anyone else got hurt.
Endangered by Ann Littlewood is the third in the Zoo Mystery series featuring Iris Oakley. This is also the best story yet. From start to finish the pace keep readers turning pages as they try to figure out who is the mastermind behind the growing, fictional, exotic animal trafficking franchise in the Washington state area.
Littlewood worked in the zoo business for twelve years before moving on to other pursuits. Her unique insight and experience serves her well in the details that makes this book such a good read. Her characters are well thought out and believable and she handles them with care.
Her attention to detail holds readers interest without slowing the pace of a story that could get bogged down due to the number of characters and the several storylines that are playing out at one time. It’s to the author’s credit that she is able to hold everything together in one exciting mystery.
A special thank you goes to Poisoned Pen Press for providing a copy of Endangered for our review. If you are interested in any of Ann Littlewood’s books in this series, they are available at Amazon.com.