Following a heartbreaking but necessary divorce, Chloe Evans hopes to make a safe and comfortable new life for her 6-year-old son, Jeremy, as the new police dispatcher in Jack Pine, Oregon.

Then Jeremy's brand-new puppy, Rowdy, gets deathly ill, and Chloe doesn't have the required money for treatment. Both Jeremy and Chloe have heard the stories about the mysterious Ben Longtree, a veterinarian who no longer practices. Ben is rumored to have gotten away with killing a man. Desperate to save his puppy, Jeremy takes Rowdy and climbs up the hill to Ben's remote house.

The last thing Ben needs is an unannounced vistor to intrude upon his illegal treatment program for local wildlife—not very well hidden given the menagerie of recovering animals on his land. But when Jeremy arrives so determined to be brave to save his dog, Ben gives in.

While Chloe and Jeremy see the kind and gentle side of Ben, one deputy in particular sees nothing but hate. Deputy Bobby Lee Schuck has had a vendetta against Ben since they were kids, and as a deputy, Bobby Lee is used to getting his own way. When Chloe compounds her sin of liking Ben by refusing Bobby Lee, the stage is set for a potentially dangerous showdown.

Ben Longtree is a marvelous hero whose extraordinary gifts bring a unique and special magic to this warmhearted novel. No one can tug your heartstrings better than Catherine Anderson. (Apr., 464 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith