Review: Guarded by Mary BehreGuarded by Mary Behre
Series: Tidewater #2
Published by berkley on August 5, 2014
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Source: Advance Reader Copy

She’s given up on finding love…

Veterinarian Shelley Morgan has always preferred animals to humans, and not simply because she can communicate with them psychically. Unlike most people she’s known, animals have never broken her heart. But after six months in her new town, some of her favorite four-legged companions begin disappearing from the local zoo. Determined to track down the animals and their thief, the telepathic vet decides to investigate, unknowingly delving into a deadly mystery…

He’s ready to make her heart go wild…

Although his bear-like physique has been an advantage in the Tidewater Police Department, Dev Jones’s size often intimidates people. Only Shelley has seen past his massive build to the intelligent man inside, but that was years ago. So when she contacts him requesting his help to solve a series of animal kidnappings, he’s eager to reconnect with her. But the thefts escalate to murder and all the evidence points to Shelley as the killer, and Dev faces a devastating choice: forsake his career or risk losing the woman he’s grown to love…

I really enjoyed Spirited, but for me, Guarded didn’t quite measure up.

I think my biggest problem was the heroine. Shelley is a veterinarian, and she can actually communicate with animals a la Dr. Doolittle. I liked this, and I thought that it was a neat “crift” (curse/gift). In the first Tidewater book, Jules can communicate with ghosts.

I liked the idea of this book, but unfortunately the story stalled for me.

Basically Shelley took a small-town vet job because she was promised to be able to care for the zoo’s big cats (her specialty). But it was a privately owned dump of a zoo that had animals going missing-from small time lizards to the baby white tigers, but no one seemed to care, or to be willing to admit it.

Shelley emails a friend to come help her investigate. Since he’s a detective, she’s certain that he’ll help her find the missing animals in no time.

Dev has been in love with Shelley since college, and he’s so excited to come to see her, especially since he comes bearing news that he’s found one of her missing sisters. (Jules from Spirited).

But Shelley was dating his roommate and turns out that guy was a jerk. Also turns out he lied to Shelley about all kinds of things. I really felt that this was pointless. Like really.

So back to what bugged me.

2 main things. Shelley was frustrating. Her whole deal is that she’s afraid of getting too close to anyone. Everyone she’s ever loved has left her (by left I mean died or been taken from her). So she has commitment issues, but this makes no sense to me seeing as she was engaged to her ex. Plus, I really had a hard time thinking she wouldn’t want to see her sister. I didn’t feel like the reasoning was good enough.

The other thing was that so many things could have been cleared up sooner. Dev came to see Shelley mainly to help with the animals, but Shelley kept putting off telling him. And he kept putting off telling her about her sister. I mean it seemed that the reasons were cut and dry, and yet they were dragged out. even the missing thumb drive, the headache “from wine,” the mysterious visitor the night before, her wiped hard drive…see where I”m going with this?

The bad guy-yeah that wasn’t well done. I’m all for a surprise he was right under your nose type of bad guy, but none of the reasons for him to hold a grudge were even hinted at until the very end. It was weird.

On the whole, the book was okay, but I really hope the next one is better, because I like the overall series arc and I like the writing.

***ARC courtesy of Berkley


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