Barnes’ Unleashed a witty mystery

Catherine Coles
Coles Notes

Julie Wendland, the readers’ services co-ordinator for the County Libraries, recently enjoyed Unleashed by local author Sally Barnes. It is a witty mystery novel set against the backdrop of a dog park.

“Groucho Marx had it right when he said, ‘Outside a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside a dog it’s too dark to read,’” quotes Julie. “So I was excited when Sally Barnes’ book Unleashed came across my desk.”

“Much like people who travel on the same commuter train day in, day out, the dogs and their owners of Tackers Bay Dog Park are the same in their familiarity.  Flora MacNinch and Barbara Withers with their faithful companions Daisy and Sneakers are the park’s mainstays.  Barnes weaves a narrative between the dogs and their respective owners.  We learn that Daisy, a husky/beagle mix has had a rough start in life before being rescued by Flora.  Sneakers, was the runt of her litter that stole Barbara’s heart.”

“Throughout the book we meet an array of eccentric characters,” explains Wendland. “This includes the matching designer and her dog known as B&B by fellow walkers; a beagle who keeps eluding his owner by losing every GPS tracker available; and Hamish, whose owners the other dogs don’t quite like and are a bit too inquisitive for Barbara’s liking as well.”

“The ever indomitable and private Flora is not afraid to take on guerilla gardeners or even perhaps take down a government so when something happens to her it will leave the reader guessing whether it is her health or foul play.  When Barbara is thrown into Flora’s personal life, it leaves her with more questions than answers.  Could Flora’s bark be worse than her bite?”

“Sally Barnes spins a great web of mystery, politics and laugh out loud antics that will be have readers’ dogs waiting for their walks while their owner to finish just one more chapter,” Julie concludes. “That being said you do not have to be a dog owner to enjoy this book- although your cat might eyeball you suspiciously, as you are chortling away.”

You can reserve Unleashed by Sally Barnes at your branch of the County of Lennox & Addington Libraries or online at

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