by A.J. Rich
Gruesome and terrible, The Hand That Feeds You is a psychological thriller that delivers a quick one-two punch. Graduate student Morgan Prager is finishing her thesis at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. She meets her fiancé Bennett through her studies (almost unbelievable that a woman of her intellect would date someone she met in the way she found him--but then some women are crazy). Although he can be commanding, assertive and downright mean, Morgan tells herself she is in love with Bennett. She comes home from class one morning and finds the front door open. She fears Bennett may have left the door open accidentally and worries that her three dogs may be loose. Bennett never liked her dogs and Morgan thinks he may have left the door open on purpose.
Entering the apartment, she is overjoyed to see her dogs alive but they are acting strange. Their coats are red with blood. Morgan starts operating on adrenaline and shock. She finds the body of a man she thinks may have been Bennett. It's too hard to tell because the body has been mauled, the face mutilated and a leg torn off. Morgan begins to fear what her dogs could do to her. They obviously killed once, what if they turn on her? She backs away and locks herself in the bathroom, calls 911 and waits for help to arrive.
How could this have happened? Could her dogs really have killed Bennett? One of her Dobermans is shot by a police officer. The female Doberman and Cloud, her Great Pyrenees are taken into custody. Morgan is taken to the psych ward where she struggles to come to terms with the loss of her fiancée, the horrific bloody scene, and the guilt she feels for allowing her dogs to be in this situation.
Once released Morgan searches for Bennett's mother and father. When she finds only dead ends, she has to ask herself: who was this guy I fell in love with? He has no past and no family. There is no record of him being a music producer. In fact, he seems to be a ghost. Then Morgan finds other women who were duped by Bennett, including one who was recently murdered. The police are no help. Morgan turns to her brother and other close friends.
The closer Morgan comes to the truth and the release of her dogs, the deeper the secrets. Could someone have used her dogs to kill Bennett? Who is the real killer? And is he now after her?
The Hand That Feeds you rockets off the first chapters. By the middle of the story, I felt a bit bogged down and wanted answers to come. On the other hand, I felt the ending a little rushed.
As a dog owner and rescuer, The Hand That Feeds You really got under my skin. The ick factor creeped me out entirely. It was not just that the dogs attacked and killed; it was that they were then locked up in a terrible environment.
Recommended for adult readers. If you love animals, you may want to pass on this one. I just can't get over it!
FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.
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