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Summary

From Neil Abramson, the acclaimed author of Unsaid, comes a riveting novel that explores the complex connection between humans and animals.

Veterinarian Samantha Lewis and her team are dedicated to providing a sanctuary for unwanted, abused, and abandoned dogs in New York City. But every day it gets harder to operate her no-kill shelter. Sam is already at her breaking point when she learns of an unidentified, dangerous virus spreading through their neighborhood. The medical community can determine only that animals are the carriers. Amid growing panic and a demand for immediate answers, suspicion abruptly falls on dogs as the source. Soon the governor is calling in the National Guard to enforce a quarantine - no dog may leave the area.

Samantha knows from her own painful history that despite the lack of real evidence against the dogs, a quarantine may be only the beginning. As questions about the source of the virus mount and clash with the pressure for a politically expedient resolution, Sam is forced to make life-altering choices. She finds allies in a motley crew of New Yorkers - a local priest, a troubled teen, a smart-mouthed former psychologist, and a cop desperate to do the right thing - all looking for sanctuary from their own personal demons. But the person Sam needs the most to unravel the mystery of the virus and save the dogs is the last one she'd ever want to call on - because contacting him will mean confronting the traumatic past she has fought so hard to escape.

©2016 Neil Abramson (P)2016 Hachette Audio

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  • lifelong learner
  • 04-02-19

Depressing book

I could not finish this book. After three descriptive dog euthanasias, I had to stop reading. It was literally making me depressed. I no longer cared about the plot after a character in the book takes an unwanted dog from the shelter, gives him a great day, the frightened dog begins to trust again and finally prances around happily with his toy turtle in his mouth. He is a changed pup as he is then returned to the shelter in the evening and killed. WHAT??? I couldn’t get that image out of my head. This is not the first description of a dead dog in this book, but we got to know the euthanized shelter dog really well. So, no thanks. To say this book is a downer is an understatement. It’s like stepping into a black cloud of despair and staying there.

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  • The Story Adict
  • 20-08-16

Could Have Been Better, But Not by Much

I'll be honest, I usually avoid literary fiction because I find it boring, cliché, and trying too hard to be relevant or masterful. However when I picked up a printed copy of this book from my public library I knew I needed to get the audio book and that's exactly what I did. After finishing it in one sitting I thought I needed some time before I wrote a review and here we are.

The Pros to these Prose:
1. this book isn't perfect but it was a good listen, thoughtful and insightful. There were lot of things that I wasn't aware of that the book brought to life.
2. Most of the characters are interesting and the three main characters are fully realized and fleshed out, with their own backstories, desires and so on.
3. There was a lot of suspense and tension, with twists and turns that still made sense in the context of the book.
4. The exposition was done well, they were much less info dumbs and more peeks into the character's minds or history that couldn't be done any other way. Once more they were kept to the absolute minimum.
5. The performance was spot on, her male voices could use some work.
6. Everyone was nicely layered, nothing was fully revealed until it was time, which lent a lot of texture to the story. It wasn't the typical, here's everything you need to know about this character in twenty words and we'll go from there. The book instead waited and revealed bits and pieces about each character when it was relevant.
7. the pacing of the story is just right, not to slow that you get bored but not so fast that you lose track of what is happening.

The Cons: Because no book is perfect.
1. The writer clearly does not understand the military mindset. The soldiers in the book were stupid, paper cutter, one dimensional and flat. Their big surprise at the end wasn't that big to anyone that actually knows someone that has served.
2. While the message of the book is clear there are several points where that message overwhelms the story. Some images and thoughts repeat ad nauseum and does not go into depth nor add to the story. I don't need to hear about mute dogs every twenty minutes, or mass whole sale slaughter of animals every thirty minutes, nor sick and dying children every five, or so it feels like.
3. The romantic sub-plot seemed a bit forced and could have been left out completely and been just fine.
4. It assumes that the reader knows a lot of things, for instance dogs communicate in highly verbal manners and surgically muting them is almost as traumatic for the dog as it would be to a human.
5. It makes an argument, an impassioned one but doesn't really offer workable alternatives.
6. While most of the main character's are well fleshed out some were not. The Police officer's for one was very flat, almost simple.

Final evaluation: Thumbs up, it's worth a buy though not for a pleasure and relaxation read. If you want fluffy do not look here. However, if you want a good book that you can soak into this is definitely one such book. Also while I seem to be critical of the book, Just Life, is so close to perfect that these minor errors just stood out annoyingly bright to me. Hopefully his next book with be perfect.

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  • R. Robinson
  • 24-12-20

Stayed up all night listening to this book!

I loved this book! I am a dog foster and volunteer with a dog rescue so this book hit close to home. I know the trouble these groups have getting funding and help so I could relate to it.
The word “just” has several meanings. As an adverb it means only or merely. As an adjective it means based on what is morally right and fair. Both are used in this book. Veterinarian Sam Lewis runs a no-kill shelter in a neighborhood that currently has a virus killing children. The CDC has found a possible link to dogs and wants to gather them all up. QCK they call it-Quarantine, Cull, Kill. To the powers that be they are just dogs after all. Sam's helpers are a group of misfits: an abused teen, a recovering addict, a former psychologist who lost her license who is as she says the token fat girl, a priest struggling with dementia and doubting, and his friend a Jewish hardware store owner. They are all, especially the priest, trying to live a just life. They are determined to save the dogs and figure out what is causing the virus. Some may say the plot was predictable and perhaps it was a little but the way it developed held me rapt. The characters developed as the book moved along. Perhaps the most important character was the dogs. Their trust, love, and devotion set the scene for the story as it does for my life.

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  • Angelina Smith
  • 22-06-17

Moving and beautifull

Absolutely loved it, I am a Catholic, dog lover, Animal control officer, National Guardsmen, and HAZMAT tech so I feel like this book pretty much summed up my life. I do not agree with how it portrays the National Guard but every good book needs an antagonist I guess. In reality the Guard had done great things to work alongside civil authorities and not against them.
I will definitely suggest this book.