Monday, June 11, 2012

Book Review - Lost and Found

Lost and Found by Jacqueline Sheehan
Harper-Collins 2007
Format? Kindle download

Why?  For one of the June TLC Book Tour choices, I requested the book Picture This because I loved the sound of it...a middle aged woman, a trained counselor, a dog she loves, building her own life again after the death of her husband, etc.  I chose it with full knowledge that there was a prequel for the book called Lost & Found.  My plan was to buy it, but thankfully I discovered that I'd already purchased it on my Kindle during a .99 cent sale! I was obviously meant to read these books :)
What Now? I'm anxious to find out what happens next to Rocky and the dog Cooper-Lloyd :)

**My review for Picture This is scheduled for tomorrow, I've been saving the review for Lost and Found for the day before (today)...with the pesky virus running around our house, I almost forgot! **

Golden Lines 
Deep howls emptied out of her and jerked her body as if her tendons had sprung loose.  Each blast of sound battered her until she wondered if her neck would snap.  In the end, Rocky lay on the floor with the urn and saw the boundary land of madness open up before her and felt a seductive pull.
She was on a four on a ten-point scale of anxiety and she could ride this out.  She hadn't had another panic attack after the first one, two months after Bob died.  And although the sound of another person breathing in her house was now reaching tolerable levels, the thought of Sam and Michelle seeing inside her house made her want to throw up.  Her blood noticed the threat and picked up the pace and her heart rate quickened...
...Her ancient brain came forward like a crocodile, eyes bulging, peeking over the surface of the water.

By the time Michelle pulled up, Rocky had put the cap back on her adrenaline, but her armpits were drenched from the experience.  She had not had a panic attack, but the effort of averting one had drained her.  When the couple left, she was exhausted.
This black dog is Cooper and I eat four kibbles from his dog dish and he is teaching me to eat again and when I am ready to scream in terror at the food sliding down my throat into my stomach, this dog presses his head into my palm.

She felt the pain again in her lower abdomen, saw the hard edges.  She was driving to Orono with Rocky and she could smell the panic coming off the younger woman's skin, a scent like cider vinegar and mangoes that had gone too far past ripe. 

When she slept, her attempt at alpha nature evaporated and her terror began.  He smelled it the first night, even groggy from his own surgery, his own disaster.  He sensed the alarm, the hunt.  Her body restless in sleep, carried traces of an ancient hunter, tracking senselessly, flailing about, sending off waves of scented pain to him.

Rocky's veterinarian husband Bob dies from a massive heart attack suddenly one morning in their upstairs bathroom.  After CPR fails to revive Bob, Rocky stumbles through the next few days of Bob's funeral arrangements and decision making about her future.  She ends up taking a year long leave from her job as a psychologist at a university counseling center and renting a house on Peak's Island, a ferry trip away from Portland, Oregon.
On the island, Rocky falls into an Animal Control Warden job and a recently vacated rental cottage that belongs to former minister Isaiah and his wife Charlotte.
Among her first rescues are a tabby cat who's been left behind by negligent renters and a big black lab injured by an arrow shot.
Rocky makes friends with year round resident Tess, an older divorced woman/physical therapist and a teenager with a secret eating disorder named Melissa.  Both Tess and Melissa have their own psychological handicaps, which makes them perfect for Rocky who suffers from an anxiety disorder.  Topping off their friendship is the black Lab whom they call Lloyd...Lloyd has something each of the women needs.  
Upon investigation, Rocky finds out that the arrow that almost killed Lloyd belonged to his former owner, competitive archer, Elizabeth Townsend who is found dead in her home under suspicious circumstances.  According to her vet and everyone who knew Elizabeth, even though she struggled with her own psychological issues, she would have never hurt Lloyd...who's real name is Cooper. 
In order to keep Cooper-Lloyd, Rocky has to solve the mystery of Elizabeth's death and essentially save her own in the process.

What I Liked
Animal facts - Rocky's husband Bob was a vet so there were many times that Rocky would fall back on things she knew about certain animals bc of things Bob had told her from time to time.  Many of the animals Rocky is called on to help are not in the best shape...mentally or physically and Rocky falls back on her knowledge very naturally but also in a way that's interesting to the reader.  I think it's a given that to read and enjoy this book, you need to be an animal lover or at least interested in them.  If you're not, I'm not sure you'll appreciate this tale for all its characteristics.
Synesthesia - a psychological syndrome where a person responds from two places in their brain to an action...when Tess stubs her toe, she sees orange but also yells orange bc she sees and feels orange at the same time.
Panic attacks - Rocky has them.  She has learned through her own experiences and her training as a counselor to work against them...learning the early warning signs and keep them from controlling her.  As a fellow panic attack sufferer, I appreciated this part of the story more than you know.  It's nice to have a character, strong but flawed, who is not crippled by her anxiety.  The story is also written from the perspective of someone who understands the science and medicine behind psychological disorders...this is obviously Rocky's perspective as a psychologist, but it's also apparant that Sheehan has some experience in the mental health field as well.

Melissa - at first I couldn't figure out the connection here...and Melissa sortof felt thrown in at times...Getting Cooper-Lloyd's perspective felt more natural to me than Melissa's.  I eventually saw the need for Rocky's life to mean something to someone else, no matter how fractured she felt; Rocky's existence and the turn of events in her life were for a purpose of some kind.  Her life still meant something to someone.  But, I still felt like this connection could have been done was just not as seamless of a connection as Rocky's with the other characters.

What I Didn't Like
The point of view switches were a little confusing at times bc there didn't seem to be a pattern for them.  More than half way through all of a sudden Sheehan brings in the dog's point of view. 
 Yes, I said the dog's point of view.  
At first I found this weird...but it grew on me bc Sheehan doesn't try to bring in illogical thoughts or human thoughts to the dog.  She simply imagines what the dog would be thinking based upon, again, what scientists know (or think they know) about how dogs respond to their environments and the events in their lives.

While I could understand Rocky needing some space and not wanting to tell everyone her story, I found it a little strange that she chose to re-invent herself literally...technically lying about who she was.  Again, I realize the she was making decisions while still in shock from the sudden death of her husband, but those decisions could have impeded her ability to go on with her life eventually.

TMI - there were a few places where Rocky would remember specifics about her life with Bob that were TMI for me and one place where Rocky and Tess share a tub that was a little unbelievable for me.  They made me uncomfortable more than anything, but I also didn't think they were necessary for the storyline.  I don't even begin to know what life is like for a woman who's lost her husband (nor do I want to), so Rocky's flashbacks about Bob may be more than perfectly realistic in her situation...they were just hard for me to wrap my mind around from my own personal perspective.

Overall Recommendation
Psychology and animals are huge themes here so I'm pretty sure it's imperative for a reader to be interested in both of these areas to appreciate this novel. 


  1. I read this a few years ago and liked it. I'm about to start her new book, Picture This, which also sounds good.

    1. I finished Picture This today and am reviewing it was a little slower getting started but the pace quickens seriously by the 2nd half.