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Brute Strength (A Dog Lover's Mystery #19)

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  271 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
The new '-Holly Winter' dog mystery - When Dog's Life columnist Holly Winter rejects applicants who want to adopt homeless dogs, she makes a lot of enemies. In dogs Holly trusts, and the dogs she trusts most are her beloved malamutes, Rowdy, Kimi and Sammy. But right now she could use a human friend. Lately, it seems wherever she turns, things go wrong: an anonymous call t ...more
Hardcover, 216 pages
Published August 1st 2011 by Severn House Publishers
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Jul 20, 2012 Dagny rated it liked it
As this series has progressed, Conant seems to have become more and more fanatical about animal rights, rescue, etc. Either that or I'm getting more intolerant in my old age. Once this part was out of the way though, I enjoyed the book. It's a good read for animal lovers and cozy readers. If you are more interested in the mystery than the characters, it will be a flop, as even I found the identity of the murderer obvious. The family (human and four legged) and neighbor interaction is great fun w ...more
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
May 23, 2011 Jeannie and Louis Rigod rated it it was amazing
I read mystery novels because I enjoy the characters, development of the clues, and eventually the solving of the crime. In this case I read "Brute Strength" because of the quality of the storytelling. That it happens to be a murder mystery also just adds the extra to my enjoyment.

Holly Winters and family are Dog people. The same can be said of myself and family. Holly has a refreshing look at life and the world that seems to parallel my own. Holly's sense of humor, the way her family is constru
Nov 30, 2014 Carol rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebook, mystery, finished
working in pug rescue, i thoroughly enjoyed the parts of this book dealing with adoption applications, the stories that people spin in order to adopt and the reactions you get when turning someone down. As they say, "Been there, done that"'. The mystery party of the book was a bit predictable but still enjoyable for all that. , and these books make me want a malamute while making me realize that they are definitely not the breed for me. I'll just admire from afar.
Jul 18, 2011 Dlora rated it liked it
Shelves: murder-mystery
I do enjoy Conant's books about dogs but this one seemed to have a little too much dog worship. But by the same token, I wish there had been more details about training dogs, the psychology of dogs, showing dogs, and other dog raising details. Brute Strength was more focused on the murder mystery with dog life as background. Holly Winter has received a threatening phone call, seems to be being followed, and begins to suspect that an accidental death might more likely be murder. The characters ar ...more
Feb 11, 2014 Lauren rated it liked it
I read this series for the infrequent appearances of Willie the Scottie, and happily, he makes a special appearance in this entry. I like Holly, she's pedantic about dog breeding, but she's no more annoying than hard boiled cops on a mission. I also love the Cambridge setting and the little tidbits about dog breed history.
Jan 26, 2016 Megan rated it liked it
This book was entertaining but not really well written. There was nothing beautiful about the prose. It was predictable, and the main character mildly annoyed me. It was fine, but I won't reach for another of her books.
Gloria Mccracken
Dec 01, 2013 Gloria Mccracken rated it it was amazing
This is my all time favorite dogs-and-murder series. It has been a long time since we saw a new installment and it was worth waiting for. It has all the major characters we love to see: Holly Winter, the protagonist dog trainer and columnist for Dog's Life; her barely civilized father Buck; her gracious and tactful step-mother Gabrielle; her calm and wise veterinarian husband Steve; cameo appearances by protege trainer Leah and police detective Lieutenant Kevin Denehey and his strict mother; ups ...more
Sheila Beaumont
After four years without a new Dog Lover's Mystery, I enjoyed reading this one so much that I didn't want it to end!

As usual, Susan Conant has come up with a fascinating cast of characters, both familiar and new, canine and human, an intriguing, complex mystery plot plus subplots, and, best of all, dog writer Holly Winter's dog-centric worldview with plenty of her trademark doggy humor. And an amazing assortment of dogs, mostly Alaskan malamutes, but also a puli, a Scottish terrier, and a bichon
Deon Stonehouse
Brute Strength by Susan Conant is the latest in her highly entertaining mystery series set in Boston. The sleuth is Holly Winter, a writer for a dog magazine, a woman passionate about all things canine. Holly trains and shows her gorgeous Malamutes. Fair warning, you have to seriously love dogs to appreciate this series. But if you love dogs, this series is a hoot! Holly portrays the sport of dog showing spot on. Brute Strength finds Holly busy with Malamute Rescue, one of the less pleasant task ...more
Shirley Schwartz
Sep 20, 2011 Shirley Schwartz rated it really liked it
This book was a breath of fresh air for me. It's been awhile since M. Conant has written a Holly Winter mystery, and I have missed Holly, Steve, Rowdy, Kimi and Sammy. Not to mention all the other wonderful characters, both human and canine in this series. This book is an excellent return after a few years hiatus. The story is great, the people and dogs are wonderful, and the mystery interesting enough to keep you reading. I love this series because it is a series that is custom-written for dog- ...more
Oct 21, 2012 Kaye rated it it was amazing
Holly Winter, Dog's Life Columnist and malamute owner, is helping with the Malamute Rescue list of potential adopters and not making many friends. Holly trusts dogs, particularly Rowdy, Kimi, and Sammi, her malamutes and her husband's dogs Lady and India. However, it seems that she could use a human friend. Rita, her friend and tenant, had a fight with her boyfriend and went out of town. Kevin, who used to live next door, now lives with his girlfriend. So when she meets another malamute owner, V ...more
Randi Wininger
Sep 01, 2015 Randi Wininger rated it it was ok
I couldn't even force myself past 20 pages. It was a little torturous actually. I wasn't being captured by the story or creating any kind of attachment. It didn't make me want to keep reading and the writing itself seemed over done. Like they were trying to hard. Which is very hard for me considering I am a crazy dog lover of northern breeds and was highly looking forward to this book and all other books written by her. I even skipped through to other parts of the story to see if it picked up or ...more
Oct 01, 2011 Grey853 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, cozy
It's hard to believe there have been 19 of the Dog Lover's Mystery books so far. These are books one doesn't really read for the mystery, but for the characters including the dogs. Conant does an amazing job of educating people about different breeds and dog behavior in general without making the story read like a textbook.

The main character Holly has strong opinions about not only her dogs but about life in general, but she's still very likable as are many of the regulars that show up in her b
Sep 17, 2011 Probibliophile rated it liked it
This was not one of her very best but still very good. The mystery part was hard to follow but it had lots of things Conant's readers love: Holly as a dog show/obedience show veteran, her cousin Leah, the Harvard pre veterinary student, who has grown even more voluptous; Rita the wonderful friend and neighbor and her boyfriend Quinn with the Dylan fixation; Holly's stepmother and moose-like father; and her nearly perfect husband, Steve Delaney, the vet. As usual the action takes place in Cambrid ...more
Willow Brook
May 13, 2012 Willow Brook rated it liked it
I've been reading Holly Winter mysteries since the first one came out in 1990 and they are like comfort food to me. Holly is both endearing and irritating in her love of all things dogs and her at times canine viewpoint of humans. This installment is a leisurely mystery with a far-fetched (sorry. -- couldn't resist the pun) motive for the murder. Still, I enjoyed spending some time with Holly, her family, friends and dogs. At just over 200 pages, this is a quick, uncomplicated read.
Nov 25, 2012 Molly rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook, read-in-2012
As with the whole series, the plot is relatively thin--but who cares about plot with this fantastic set of characters? Even very minor roles are fleshed out in ways that make them feel like someone you might have met. Interactions between all these personalities are riveting, and the whole book flows smoothly and enjoyably to the big finish. Always recommended.
Dec 05, 2011 Dixie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this series. It makes me feel like I am not alone in the category of crazy animal person - even if Holly, Steve, their five dogs and one cat are fictional characters.

Kudos to Susan Conant for mentioning pit bulls as certified therapy dogs. This was a refreshing departure from recent books that I read portraying pit bulls as vicious attack dogs.
Dorothy Timm
Jul 01, 2013 Dorothy Timm rated it liked it
99% of the book discussed her dogs, with virtually no mention of any mystery. Since I love all animals, it was a 3 star, just OK, but honestly, for anyone who's not a real dog lover, I can't see them even tolerating this book. Sometimes, many pages would go by where I'd think the author forgot that this was supposed to be a mystery and not just a dog book.
Sep 09, 2012 Karen rated it liked it
Another in the series about dog trainer/writer Holly Winter, owner of Malamutes. Murder always seems to be a part of Holly's life and so it is of course in this story. Quick one day read. I like the characters in her stories..Holly, husband/vet Steve, neighbor Rita, niece Leah, dad Buck, neighbor Kevin and stepmother Gabrielle. And of course the dogs Rowdy, Kimi, Sammy, Lady and India.
May 12, 2012 Sue rated it it was amazing
What can I say about Susan Conant and her books starring Rowdy, Kimi, Sammy and of course Holly Winter? (Holly would always put her dogs first!) Ms. Conant is one of the best writers of "doggie mysteries" writing today and this book doesn't fail us. Not only is the mystery well-written but of course her information on dogs, rescue groups, and showing dogs is interesting and insightful.
Jackie Harrison-jewell
Aug 07, 2011 Jackie Harrison-jewell rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I've hung in there with Susan. I've read every Holly Winters book to come down the pike. I've heard as much dog proselytizing as I can stand and I'd like to think I have the right to say it. Enough already. I get it. I GET it. And now I'm done. Thanks Susan. It's been great but I'm going to have to get my cozy fix somewhere else from now on.
Janet Windeguth
May 25, 2011 Janet Windeguth rated it liked it
Holly and the gang are back after a four-year break, and I’m pleasantly surprised how well-written this entry is. Some authors tend to stumble after coming back to a series, but not Conant. A little right-wing on how absolutely fantastically undoubtedly inarguably (etc., etc.,) wonderful dogs are, but not nearly as off-putting as previous books.
Aug 15, 2011 Tammy rated it really liked it
It's been so long since Susan Conant came out with a new Dog Lover's mystery that I had forgotten how engaging her writing is. There were some laugh out loud moments and anyone with a dog can relate to the antics of Rowdy, Kimmy, Sammy, Lady and India. The back story with Buck and Gabrielle provided some comic relief as well. I just hope that it isn't as long until her next book.
Aug 03, 2011 Sue rated it really liked it
Susan Conant's Holly Winter series is a fun cozy series with loads and loads of information on dogs, particularly malamutes. A quick but entertaining read with familiar characters and fun plots. Comfort food book.
Amber Polo
Jul 21, 2012 Amber Polo rated it really liked it
Shelves: dogs
Excellent dog mystery filled with real dog information. Humor intelligence. Matter of fact heroine trying to balance her life in Boston. My only complaint was too many names of people and dogs (from previous books?).
Tara Choate
Jul 23, 2011 Tara Choate rated it liked it
Loved it. Classic Susan Conant. The "English" editing style was a little offputting (I don't like no period after Mrs. and the single quote), but easily overlooked. The love of dogs is what really drove the book (as usual), but I ate it up. Ha ha.
Jun 17, 2015 Bonnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love this series

Great cosy mystery series for dog lovers. The characters are well plotted and the mysteries are not too obvious or too dark.
Sep 09, 2012 Sue rated it liked it
It's a good read. I wonder why the author changed publishers, though. This is obviously not as nicely printed as her previous novels. Kind of a nail-bitter; I had a hard time putting it down.
Apr 01, 2012 Kim rated it it was amazing
A neighborly adventure. Just love the dogs, dog facts, dog education, etc.
Leslie Angel
Sep 14, 2011 Leslie Angel rated it liked it
She's back--and not over the top either. A good one.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Mother of author Jessica Park aka Jessica Conant-Park

The photo is of Jessica Conant-Park and Susan Conant, daughter and mother.
More about Susan Conant...

Other Books in the Series

A Dog Lover's Mystery (1 - 10 of 19 books)
  • A New Leash on Death (A Dog Lover's Mystery, #1)
  • Dead and Doggone (A Dog Lover's Mystery, #2)
  • A Bite of Death (A Dog Lover's Mystery, #3)
  • Paws Before Dying (A Dog Lover's Mystery, #4)
  • Bloodlines (A Dog Lover's Mystery, #5)
  • Gone to the Dogs (A Dog Lover's Mystery #6)
  • Ruffly Speaking (A Dog Lover's Mystery, #7)
  • Black Ribbon (A Dog Lover's Mystery, #8)
  • Stud Rites
  • Animal Appetite (A Dog Lover's Mystery, #10)

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