Once Bitten Hardcover – Sep 1 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
In her eighth doggedly endearing adventure in sleuthing, Melanie Travis is anticipating her brother Frank's impending nuptials to beautiful dog-handler Bertie Kennedy while reflecting over the defection of her fianc, Sam, who (in last year's Unleashed) suddenly announced he wasn't ready for marriage and went off to find himself. Bertie has hired an old friend, Sara Bentley, to plan her wedding, despite Sara's dubious reputation as a poor little rich girl who flits from one job to another. When Sara disappears soon after taking on the job, Bertie insists that Melanie help find her. As if Melanie doesn't have enough headaches, her ex-husband, Bob Travis, has suddenly reappeared, without his young wife, and is acting like he wants Melanie back. As Melanie delves into Sara's background, she realizes that most of Sara's friends and family aren't that concerned about her. Then a dead body turns up in a fire in the guest cottage where Sara lived on her mother's estate. Is it Sara? If not, then who is it, and where is Sara? The plot takes some surprising twists as Melanie digs deeper into Sara's life, trying to unearth the truth. Balancing an entertaining mystery puzzle with Melanie's attempt to resolve her feelings for her ex-husband and her decamped fianc, Berenson rounds out the story with the lore of the dog-show world her readers expect. (Sept. 4)bolder jacket design for the series that can only help sales.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Series sleuth Melanie Travis (Unleashed), a teacher and dog handler, goes in search of the sometime wedding consultant she recommended to her brother and his fianc?e. The consultant apparently vanishes in the midst of preparations, but when her cottage burns down, a woman's body is found. For all collections.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
While she is happy to see her brother maturing into a responsible businessman and committing himself to dog trainer/knockout Bertie Kennedy, Melanie is still nursing the wounds of her breakup. When Bertie's flighty wedding planner, part-time trainer Sara, mysteriously disappears, Melanie finds there is no time left to cry over spilt engagements when Bertie pleads with her to find Sara...and help plan a wedding while she's doing that.
Berenson injects quite a dose of romance in this installment when in the midst of all this chaos, ex-husband Bob returns to town, clearly bitten by the reconciliation bug. I have to admit, Melanie's divided loyalties between maintaining a stable home life for son Davey (who is ecstatic to have his father so close) and yearning for her missing true love made for better suspense than the actual mystery, the disappearance and even more bizarre reappearance of Sara, a character I came to like less and less as the story progressed.
I have enjoyed the Melanie Travis series since its inception, but with Once Bitten I fear Berenson may be hitting her stride. However, the weaknesses detected in the actual mystery (the aforementioned Sara and her conflicts with her even less likable parents...Melanie herself admits she can't stand them) are bolstered by the compelling subplot. I certainly hope for the next book the mystery will be a bit meatier (no pun intended).
What's best about this novel is the dogs. Melanie shows her standard poodle Faith and is working on 'finishing' her, i.e., achieving champion rank. When Melanie goes to the dogs, ONCE BITTEN goes well indeed. When Melanie fixates on men, I was tempted to roll my eyes--I mean, get on with it.
The mystery plays a third fiddle to Melanie's dog problems and her men problems. Fortunately, she doesn't have to do much to solve it.
Author Laurien Berenson's light tone, her wonderful descriptions of the dog shows and of dog people, and of the relationship between Melanie, her son, her aunt, her dogs, and her future sister-in-law make ONCE BITTEN a pleasure to read despite its flaws.
Most recent customer reviews
All the characters are fun, all the plot entertaining, the dialogue sure to draw at least a smile. A lovely mystery intertwined with the story of its characters all diverse and... Read morePublished on Sept. 5 2010 by Jacqueline Vidi
ONCE BITTEN brings back most of the familiar characters from previous Berenson tales (with a puzzling omission -- what happened to Aunt Peg's Douglas? Read morePublished on Oct. 29 2001 by Annag Chandler