Poisoned Pen Press, $24.95, 256 pages
Did Not Survive is the latest installment in the Zoo Mystery Series by Portland author, Ann Littlewood. This second book continues to tell the story of Iris Oakley, zookeeper at the fictional Finley Memorial Zoo in Vancouver, Washington. The story begins with Iris stumbling into what she believes is a violent elephant attack against her boss, Kevin Wallace. After his death, Iris makes it her mission to solve his murder and piece together the odd incidences happening at the zoo, including missing animals and possible employee sabotage. The reader really misses out on the back story and character development that one would assume occurred in the first book. Littlewood does a great job of weaving her personal knowledge of working in zoos with animal rights issues. Her subtle ways of writing about animals living in zoos, sanctuaries, and in the circus, enlightens readers without preaching at them. In the words of Jane Goodall, “The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.” Kudos to Littlewood for using her books to spread the word on these important issues. If you are looking for an entertaining story for a good weekend read, check out Did Not Survive.
Reviewed by Crystal Schneider