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Despite its faults, Baxter's latest in
her ongoing series is an entertaining, humorous read that will especially appeal to pet lovers. Baxter tends to abruptly drop information into the story, which slows the book. Still,
the characters are all eccentrically
fun. Despite the title, there's a
distinct lack of monkeys, but there
are lots of possible suspects and a
surprise ending.

When veterinarian Jessica Popper is contacted by vet-school friend Erin, she can't imagine why; they haven't been friends since school. But when Erin is found strangled in her car after being stung repeatedly by a rare scorpion, Jessica investigates the murder. Could it be Erin's husband, also an ex-schoolmate, who wasn't the man Jessica thought he was? Or Erin's lover, who's a little strange and has access to rare reptiles? Or the mobster-like business partner of Erin's husband? (BANTAM, Aug., 368 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Page Traynor