Panthers in the Playground by D.F. Krieger

Genre Paranormal Romance  Published 2 May 2013 Publisher Sweet Cravings Publishing

PanthersInthePlaygroundZoologist Dr. Zeara Faxfire and her side-kick cat, Magic, are called in to help when a panther is discovered during a police investigation. What is a girl to think, though, when the parents of a missing child keep calling her and the panther in question is writing words?

Detective Jake Markovich, who is assigned to the case as well and happens to believe in the paranormal is a whole different distraction that turns Zeara’s world upside down. Can she lose her grasp on the safety of logic long enough to reach out to those asking for her help?

The only thing Zeara knows for sure is that time is running out, and she must compromise a job she adores to save the panther in her care.

The Urban Book Thief Review

urban book thief

When I first saw the title of this book, I’m ashamed to say that the first thought which popped into my head was: oooh ménage. For me, Panthers in the Playground evokes images of romping panthers, bumping groins and intimate pack-like shenanigans. But my wild imaginings couldn’t be further from the truth – let it be said that there was no bumping uglies in this book. None. Heavy petting – yes, but bumping – no. Okies.

This book is a sweet mystery story that centers around the disappearance of fourteen year old Ricky Jasper. Everyone in the local community is trying to find him and the finger of blame is being pointed at the parents, who strangely, are found with an exotic big cat in their basement. They refuse to talk about why they have a huge honking cat in their house and maintain that their little Ricky is out on some kinda  ancient ceremonial coming of age jaunt in the local forest.


But the local law enforcement have searched the forest and they can’t find the poor missing boy. I wonder where he could be…?

Enter Dr. Zeara Faxfire who works at the local zoo’s big cat exhibit with her best bud Brae. She’s a pretty intelligent chick-a-dee with a smart alec cat called Magic who can talk. Really talk. And I don’t mean like a paranormal or magical talking cat. But a cat that Zeara has taught how to converse – I mean, it’s vocabulary is only about five words big, but still: this cat is the shit. Now I am trying to teach my little kitty Scout how to talk, so far she says ‘ow’ and ‘fuck off’. But I’m pretty sure the second one she only says in her head.

I like Zeara, she has a cool name for a female character. Perhaps because it sounds so similar to She-Ra (Princess of Power), the first kick-ass heroine I fell in love with. Zeara rocks it at home alone with her cat and is very dedicated to her job. Let’s make it clear though that she is not a cat lady. She has a past. A past that gives this character depth and a strength that makes her a lot more intriguing than characters written by other burgeoning authors.



Zeara is asked to take a look at the big cat that was found at the Jasper’s house. This brings her head first into the case of the missing boy and straight into the lap of ding-dong Mr. Detective Hotpants, Jake Markovich. Zeara is quite partial to a man in uniform and spends a lot of the time lusting after the charming cop. Maybe a little too much… but to be fair, in my own experience most doctors are a wee bit self-absorbed due to their genius and such… and this lady is no different.

“I’d really like to get to know you better. When I first laid eyes on you, I knew you were something else, someone with nothing to hide and no desire to screw anyone over.” Jake pulled back a little and looked her in the face. “Honest. I guess that’s what I’m trying to say. I could tell you were an honest person. Honesty is very important to me, especially since it seems my job description basically comes down to uncovering people’s lies. I get so sick of all the lying that happens in this world.”

Throughout the investigation they get to spend a lot of quality time together trying to find Ricky – and to come to terms with the strange direction the investigation is taking them in. A paranormal direction. A direction that is making them reevaluate everything they know about science and the world.

I enjoyed this book. It was a light, fun read with a slight paranormal twist. The characters were interesting and I felt somewhat of a kinship with the sweet lady doctor. My only criticism would be the sometimes stilted language of the character’s speech. At times, it felt very formal and came across as a bit forced. Especially Jake, he was sometimes so cringingly polite that I wanted to smack him across the head until he swore at me. But I guess that comes from usually reading books which contain far too much violence…

The Urban Book Thief has awarded Panthers in the Playground a kiss factor rating of three – nice work Ms. Krieger.


You can buy Panthers in the Playground from


Sweet Cravings Publishing

D.F. Krieger

When D. F. Krieger was banned from writing contests at her school, she immediately set it in her head that she would become a professional writer. Since then, she has thrown away her plans of world domination through books, but she still enjoys writing. Her tastes run from classy urban witches to dragons, space pirates to shape shifters. By the time she pens her final book with a hand ravaged by age, she hopes to introduce her readers to many alternate worlds, lines of thinking, and captivating characters.

You can find D. F. on the East Coast, hiding away from the real world with a gleam in her eye and a plot in her head. She resides with her husband, kids, and pets; who all kindly put up with her random bouts of laughter (over things she can’t explain) and journal collecting fetish.


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