Yeah, I know this is a mystery novel, and therefore a work of fiction. But it reads like the story of a real woman, with a real gone-south relationship, a real career and real problems. And into that real life comes the biggest problem she's ever faced - her husband Rick is found dead, mauled by lions, in what appears to be an act of drunken negligence.
Contrary to what you'd expect of your average fictional heroine, Iris Oakley does not dash off half-cocked, determined to prove Rick was murdered. Instead, real person that she is, she grieves, tries to cope and struggles to bring her life back into balance. Left alone, Iris would likely have accomplished just that. But harder times keep coming her way, and a series of near fatal accidents forces her to re-examine her assumptions about Rick, their life together, and his untimely demise. Step by step, she comes to the conclusion his death was no accident, and it's up to her to do something about it.
One thing that makes Iris so real is her job. She's a zookeeper who lives and breathes the care of exotic animals. She knows their wants, needs and quirky personalities as well as she knows those of her parents, friends and co-workers. This gives her rare and often comical insight into the human condition (as seen in animal terms), and into the animal condition (as seen in human terms). Mixed with the inner workings and day-to-day procedures of the zoo, Iris Oakley's unique perspective on life provides a consistently thoughtful and entertaining backdrop to the story.
Night Kill is something truly different in the world of mysteries, and it's only the first in what I hope is a long-running series.
Breaking News: Night Kill has just been issued for the first time in paperback, and is now available for Kindle too.
Ann on the promo trail with an ardent admirer.
Tomorrow: Second in the series, the brand new Did Not Survive.
Wednesday & Thursday: An exclusive interview with Ann.