Whenever veterinarian Devon Brady isn't tending ill and wounded animals, she and her greyhound Gracie are to be found at disaster sites, rummaging through rubble in the hopes of finding survivors. Following an earthquake on a remote Caribbean island, a wounded black Labrador named Ned, falls in her lab. The lab's owner, a shadowy figure with the name of Marrok, quickly awakes suspicion in Devon after he dumps the dog on her and disappears. Ned needs surgery after being shot and a hair-raising question creeps up Devon's neck; who would try to shoot a search and rescue K9? And why would the owner simply disappear and just leave a note in which he asks her to take care of his dog?
Unable to answer those questions Devon follows her heart and intuition and decides to take in Marrok's lab following surgery - a decision which will forever change her life.
Marrok soon reappearing, his strange behavior - leaving his beloved and injured lab in the care of a total stranger - is just the beginning of this man's deep secrets and seemingly irrational choices. As a half-Apache, Marrok grew up on an Arizonian reservation, beaten by a drug addicted father but taken under the wing of shaman Paco. Marrok's hard upbringing reflects in his choice of occupation. As a trained SEAL, he never shies away from inflicting violence and death. The man seemed to have only one soft spot; dogs -- the dogs of summer. His lab Ned is one of those dogs who carry a mysterious healing power, and Marrok goes through lengths to make sure that the lives of the dogs of summer are protected as ruthless characters try to get their hands on the K9s and their special gift. When Devon's revengeful ex-husband teams up with the hunters of the dogs of summer, Devon's life isn't the only one in the line of fire.
When I first began Reading Iris Johansen's `Dark Summer', I thought I had a déjà vu. Then I remembered Johansen's Eve Duncan series in which one of her stories led us to a search and rescue K9 unit and her owner.
The similarity of both books struck me as somewhat odd, but Dark Summer soon began to twist and turn into much different directions than `The Search' did.
As usual, Johansen's plot is somewhat predictable but still entertaining. Just when I thought I had all these colorful and gifted characters sorted out, they surprised me yet again. There is a lot of unnecessary dialogue which explains character's past actions we don't need to know. Some of the dialogue is a bit stiff, especially between Devon and Marrok, but that didn't inhibit me from racing through this page-turner in just two sittings. I fell in love with black lab Ned and his K9 crew, Marrok's toughness, and Devon's undying love for animals. For some reason I can see these guys carry on in another book. After all; we should find out how Marrok uses his own special gift ... I just hope it won't turn into something like a Eve Duncan-series which has gotten too harvested for my taste.
I wish we could give .5 stars, because this is another `between 3 and 4 -star novel' from a well-known author. To give 4 solid stars I would like to see a more solid craft from the writer and a more convincing plot of the para-normal, but I was too entertained to give it just 3 stars.
Rebecca Lerwill is the ward-winning author of Relocating Mia and The Acronym. Her reviews are posted on Amazon, Goodreads and Authorsden.
Rebecca Lerwill is not only an amazing author of Relocating Mia and The Acronym, she is also eloquent in her book reviews. I agree with Ms. Lerwill on Iris Johansen. Some of her series have run its course, or needs a major shaking up. It can happen to seasoned authors like Johansen and Charlaine Harris - a good lesson to all.