Liz Evans






Orion Publishing Group 2001
Reviewed by Sunnie Gill

Grace Smith earns something approximating a living as a Private Investigator in the English seaside town of Seatoun. Grace isn't really driven enough to be financially successful at her chosen professional. A former police officer, Grace was kicked out of the force under a cloud when she lied in a case while trying to put a wife-beating criminal behind bars.

Not all of Grace's clients are exciting. Take for example Arlene and her smelly mutt, Waterloo. Waterloo is spoiled rotten and frequently wanders off. When he does, Arlene calls on a very reluctant Grace. Grace dislikes having to find Waterloo because it involves a very large beef bone attached to a piece of rope and swinging it around her head whilst singing along to the Abba song, Waterloo. But a girl has to pay the rent and put food on the table, doesn't she?

Grace meets her next client, Stuart Roberts, when she accidentally clonks him on the head and knocks him out with her dog finding equipment. Stuart is a mild-mannered accountant with a very strange story to tell. He's been having hypnotherapy which has unearthed a supposed past life in which Stuart murdered a family member. Grace is highly sceptical about Stuart's story but, more intrigued by his current life than his story of a past one, she decides to unravel the truth.

Author Liz Evans has been marketed as "the English answer to Janet Evanovich", but I think that's selling her short. Although her books do have a few whacky characters, they are nowhere near as oddball as Evanovich's. Evans' plots have much more depth. Those who enjoyed the first few Evanovich Stephanie Plum books but gave up when they became too much the same, may well find a first rate substitute in Liz Evans. BARKING! is the fourth book in the very entertaining Grace Smith series.

May 2006


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