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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Found myself Googling vegetarian recipes after I closed the book on the last chapter
One of the best parts of starting any new book is the anticipation of what comes next. Will you greet old friends to stroll through familiar haunts and join in their adventures? Will an entirely new world come to life with exciting new people in new places? When the novel is by a seasoned series author like Martha Grimes, whose strongest suit is developing memorable...
Published on March 14, 2008 by Bookreporter

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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars If you don't know Martha Grimes, don't start here.
Martha Grimes is one of my favorite authors. I have read all her books more than once, including Biting the Moon, a takeoff on Rainbow's End. That is a very good story, though I was more interested in seeing Mary Dark Hope, a wonderful character, again. Dakota, however, is preachy and tedious. I expected Andi to solve the mystery of her amnesia, find her family, or at...
Published on March 18, 2008 by Amazon Customer


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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Found myself Googling vegetarian recipes after I closed the book on the last chapter, March 14, 2008
By 
Bookreporter (New York, New York) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dakota: A Novel (Hardcover)
One of the best parts of starting any new book is the anticipation of what comes next. Will you greet old friends to stroll through familiar haunts and join in their adventures? Will an entirely new world come to life with exciting new people in new places? When the novel is by a seasoned series author like Martha Grimes, whose strongest suit is developing memorable characters in interesting places, you can be sure of one thing: you're in for a good read.

In DAKOTA, Grimes brings back a truly remarkable young woman by the name of Andi Oliver, first created in BITING THE MOON, a stand-alone novel released in 1999. Andi comes to us as fresh as any character can possibly be. She woke up in a Santa Fe motel not knowing who or where she was, where she had been, and with no identity or clues to her past. This is the way we meet new characters in fiction all the time, relying on the author to fill in the back story. Andi is unique in that she has to make up her own identity to survive, thus creating her own back story. And what an imagination she has! She invents an entirely fictional wealthy Long Island family, which makes for amusing moments as she tries to remember non-existent siblings and past events. So our Andi is creating herself in her own fiction. Now there's a new twist!

Andi is one of many heroines Grimes has brought us outside of her well-loved Richard Jury mysteries. No setting could be further from the cozy firesides in the famous English pubs of her mystery books than the wide open plains of the American West. Fans have asked so often if she was going to write another novel about Andi that she decided the young woman with the cast iron backbone and an affinity for abused animals had more adventures to share. After surviving in the wilds of New Mexico and Idaho, Andi is on the road again, hitchhiking through the Dakota plains. She works her way northwest through waitressing jobs to sustain her minimalist lifestyle and finds herself in a remote North Dakota town whose main industry is a factory farm --- a hog containment industry where pigs are raised for area packing plants.

Andi, who has already killed a man in Idaho in self-defense, seems to be a magnet for trouble, and she stirs up the suspicions of the local townspeople by rescuing an abandoned donkey belonging to a local rancher and scuffling with his bullying sons, which brings the local sheriff into the picture. She is befriended by an aging local rancher who provides food and shelter in return for mucking stalls for his livestock and exercising his racehorse, Dakota. When she goes to work at the factory farm, she witnesses how cruelly the animals are treated and tries to bring about changes. Already being shadowed by someone from her unknown past, she becomes the target of the factory farm management, who see her as a threat to their enterprise. The novel builds to high suspense when the man from her past and a hired killer from the factory farm get her in their gun sights.

Grimes, a long-time vegetarian, is donating a significant amount of her royalties from DAKOTA to select animal rights groups. As a long-time meat eater who especially enjoys a rack of ribs or a juicy steak, I must admit that my eyes were opened by this novel. It is not a diatribe or soap box, but those pristine packages of clear-wrapped chops and steaks look a little different to me now. I found myself Googling vegetarian recipes after I closed the book on the last chapter.

--- Reviewed by Roz Shea
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Left me breathless!, March 9, 2008
This review is from: Dakota: A Novel (Hardcover)
I am a long-time fan of Martha Grimes and her Richard Jury series, as well as the stories about little Emma. For some reason I did not read "Bite the Moon" which is the introductory book to her other heroine, Andi Oliver. That is an oversight that I intend to correct now that I have read Dakota. I don't even know what to say about this book. It is so unexpected and so perfectly written. The characters are truly wonderful, and Andi is a delight. She is a young woman without a past and one who is used to making her own way. She also has a great love of animals, and they all relate to her. The expose that Ms. Grimes performs on the intensive hog raising industry is uncomforable to read about. We all sense that this is what it's like, but prefer not to think about it. And just watch how Andi handles herself! She comes up against one danger after another, and just handles each as they come up. She's a cracker! I loved this story.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Road Taken, April 9, 2008
By 
Ted Feit (Long Beach, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Dakota: A Novel (Hardcover)
Andi Oliver, in a previous novel, underwent various traumatic experiences, and now suffers from amnesia. She remembers nothing of her previous 19 or 20 years, except for the past two years. She does remember shooting a man and running away, walking across three states, with short stopovers for waitress jobs to earn a few dollars, then continuing on her journey.

Walking down a dirt road near Kingdom, ND, she sees a mistreated donkey by a fence. She liberates it and treats various sores, afterwards taking it into town. Andi befriends a local widower who offers her a part-time job and room and board. Later, with time on her hands, she takes on another part-time job at a hog "factory farm," as well as at a nearby slaughterhouse, where she witnesses untold acts of cruelty toward the animals. These observations allow the author to feature her own beliefs in animal rights and vegetarianism.

Another element of the plot is the two men trailing Andi (who knows what her real name is? She adopted her current moniker from the initials "A O" on her backpack) across three states, one of whom seeks information from her past, which she can't remember. As in the previous novel that introduced Andi, Dakota is tender and appealing, as well as informative. One can assume we will be seeing Andi again, a good thing to be sure.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping Grimes!, March 22, 2008
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This review is from: Dakota: A Novel (Hardcover)
I do savor everything I read by Martha Grimes. She gets into the heart of characters and deals with hard issues and real problems. This book could be somewhat disturbing to some people who are squeamish with some of her descriptions about slaughter of pigs and cattle and how they are treated in breeding facilities but Andie is a tough cookie that wants to stand up for the animals she comes across that are neglected or abused and she is determined to do what she can to ease their suffering. She is still trying to discover who she really is and where she came from and makes new friends along her travels as well as a few enemies. Martha Grimes always makes you think, even about the hard things in life to face.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Andi, amnesiac and drifter, is still running from her only memory, September 11, 2008
This review is from: Dakota: A Novel (Audio CD)
Renee Raudman has performed on film, TV and radio alike and her experienced voice lends high drama to this sequel to Grimes' BITING THE MOON, best enjoyed by prior fans of the novel. Here Andi, amnesiac and drifter, is still running from her only memory - of an event in a Santa Fe bed-and-breakfast. In Dakota she gets a new job - and begins to uncover the truth about her work place and its sister facility, which hold keys to her past and some of her darkest nightmares. A riveting story evolves.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars If you don't know Martha Grimes, don't start here., March 18, 2008
By 
Amazon Customer "Lv4Books Book Rescue" (Tehachapi, California, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dakota: A Novel (Hardcover)
Martha Grimes is one of my favorite authors. I have read all her books more than once, including Biting the Moon, a takeoff on Rainbow's End. That is a very good story, though I was more interested in seeing Mary Dark Hope, a wonderful character, again. Dakota, however, is preachy and tedious. I expected Andi to solve the mystery of her amnesia, find her family, or at least make a new life for herself. Instead we get 400 pages of pigs-are-people-too and sermonizing. None of the wry humor I love from this writer and certainly none of the genius of the Emma books. The only really interesting character doesn't appear until 30 pages from the end. The end offers no satisfaction but leaves the character open to another adventure in animal rights. No thanks. If it was any other author I wouldn't have finished it. If you want to read about livestock farming read Animals in Translation by Temple Grandin. If you are a fan of Martha's, do yourself a favor and skip this one. If you are just getting to know her, go read Hotel Paradise, an absolutely wonderful book by anyone's standards.
p.s. Martha, FYI, I've adopted four PMU horses. Hotel Paradise (Emma Graham Mysteries)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dakota, April 14, 2008
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This review is from: Dakota: A Novel (Hardcover)
People ask why Martha Grimes would write a novel like this. I say because she can. I applaud her for bringing animal abuse to the forefront and taking an unpopular stand.

Martha brings back the character of Andi Oliver that we met in Biting the Moon. Andi loves animals and will do anything to relive their suffering. This was a very hard book for me to read as I'm a animal lover. If you have a hard time with this type of thing then don't read the book. It is well written and has the great characters that Martha is so well known for. I look forward to the next novel on Andi and her adventures.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Martha Grimes at her worst, July 8, 2008
This review is from: Dakota: A Novel (Hardcover)
I have read and enjoyed most of Martha Grimes' Richard Jury series, and several of her other works, but this one was definitely not a page turner. I'm not sure what reviewers mean by calling the main character "indelible". Andi Oliver--something akin to an amnesiac Nancy Drew--is more incredible than indelible, and the secondary characters have so little dimension, they're like paper dolls rather than people. Some reviewers cite an exciting plot, but to me the plot is full of holes, and events unfold too conveniently to be believed. This story reads like material for a didactic after-school special for pre-adolescents. It should be labeled as juvenile fiction.

I'll stick to the Richard Jury series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars terrible, June 23, 2011
This review is from: Dakota (Paperback)
I used to enjoy reading Ms. Grimes books but lately they have been terrible and this one is the worst so far. Her main character,Andi is is not believable nor likable. On page 184 jim says "pretty soon you'll be saying slaughtering those pigs is as bad as the slaughtwer of six million jews in the war" Andi responds on page 185 "It's worse". I stopped reading the book immediately after that sentence and I will never read another one of her books, in fact I am going to be getting rid of every book I have of hers. I saved them because I used to like her so much. I think she owes an appology to every one who suufered at the hands of Hitler during World war 2.If Ms. Grimes thinks more of animals than she does human beings she should try to sell them her books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars exciting suspense thriller, February 3, 2009
This review is from: Dakota (Paperback)
Andi Oliver still suffers from amnesia (see BITING THE MOON) as she aimlessly wanders North Dakota. Following her rescuing of a donkey, Andi decides she needs a respite from her quest to find out her real name. So she settles in Kingdom.

However, she is hardly in her temporary digs when she runs into a dispute with local bullies. She obtains a job at Klavan's pig farm where the owner and workers mistreat the animals; Andi plans to change that practice starting with the nearby slaughterhouse for the inhumane cruel treatment of animals. However, as she stirs up the townsfolk dividing them between for or against her, a psychopath wants to kill her and someone else plans to torture her into revealing secrets she no longer knows.

Although the amnesia theme does not move at all and a late spin seems implausible, DAKOTA is an exciting suspense thriller especially when the focus is on the mistreatment of animals under the guise of feeding humans. The story line is fast-paced as Andi takes a respite from her quest only to find a social issue of cruelty that drives her to take action. Fans will enjoy her DAKOTA caper.

Harriet Klausner
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Dakota
Dakota by Martha Grimes (Paperback - February 3, 2009)
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