The Keeper

April Nunn

Working nights as a zookeeper and balancing single motherhood leaves Jolie Sowell little time for a social life. When a friend sets her up on a blind date with single father Cade Bishop, she is drawn in by his charm. The two begin dating, but after a string of animal deaths at the zoo, which soon morphs into human fatalities, Jolie is under pressure from her parents and Cade to quit her job and do something less dangerous. Meanwhile, the other zoo employees are under suspicion as investigators try to determine who is behind the zoo killings. Could Jolie really be in danger? Is one of her co -workers a murderer?

Three cheers to the author for having such a lively imagination!  Although the motive is as old as time, the premise is very unusual, which is a good thing.  The suspense comes not from guessing who the murderer is, but from watching helplessly as the characters unwittingly put themselves in harm’s way. This can be an effective plot maneuver but can also backfire on even the most skilled writers. In this case, the reveal comes too early in the story, severely lessening the desired impact on the reader. While the emphasis is mostly on Jolie’s predicament, she must compete against the secondary characters for airtime.  Unfortunately, these forays into the personal lives of the other characters stymie the momentum of the book and throw a wet blanket of the suspense elements. Still, overall, this is a unique thriller, written with a dramatic flair, and is an enjoyable read. 

Julie Whiteley