Title: Hunting Hour by Margaret Mizushima
Genre: Currently # 701 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank for Books, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Cozy, Animals
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: To be released August 8, 2017
Source: Submitted by NetGalley
Title and Cover: Hunting Hour – Cover suggests a canine companion
Okay, I think I’ve just found my new favorite mystery series! Author Margaret Mizushima does a heck of a job with her Timber Creek K-9 Mystery, Hunting Hour, which is actually #3 in the series. (The author is new to me; I have not read either of the previous two in the series.) The Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series involves Deputy Mattie Cobb who handles K-9 drug sniffing German shepherd, Robo. Mattie assists the Colorado small town Sheriff’s office in any investigations in which a canine would be of help. This book being #3 in the series generally has sufficient back story information that it could be a stand-alone, but does not bog the story down with history. (If you need more, consult #’s 1 and 2.)
This is not the first book or series I’ve read with an emotionally stunted female detective (makes me a little nervous wondering how often this scenario might be mirrored in real life). In this series, protagonist Sheriff’s Deputy Mattie Cobb, Robo’s handler, is called in following the discovery of the questionable death of a junior high student. Mattie is in turmoil over Dr. Cole Walker, the town’s only local vet, and his two young daughters.
The support characters are compelling, fleshed out well, and assign empathy where desired and strength where required. I particularly enjoyed Dr. Walker and Stella, the complex and also (well-trained) competent detective.
Following closely behind the discovery of the body of a junior high student, Dr. Walker’s youngest daughter goes missing. Mattie can see the perp in every new interviewee, and readily jumps to false conclusions, while the author throws in yet another questionable but flawed “unsub”, and Stella admonishes Mattie to stay objective. Dr. Walker must sort the emotional conflict of his missing daughter and suddenly having his “ex” on scene. Still, really, it doesn’t take long before we know the real culprit and wonder how long it will take Mattie to realize it as well. (And btw, it doesn’t help to give her our opinion.)
Dialogue is natural, the setting small-town comfortable. The plot doesn’t have a chance to drag, as the search pulls in a bloodhound (what a nose!). Once started, I literally could not put the book down.
I’m always fascinated by the way man (or woman) and canine work so simpatico. A K-9 trained German shepherd is an awesome machine to behold, and it was easy to “watch” in the minds’ eye the animal with the author’s dynamic and detailed descriptions of the scenes. I know Robo is beautiful, regal, and intelligent and easily won my heart for favorite character. The fun with this novel is the little tidbits of police procedurals involving canines, their natural instincts, commands, and connections to their handlers.
This was a NetGalley offering and thanks to Crooked Lane Books for the opportunity to read. It was my pleasure and I heartily recommend whether or not you’re a dog person, a small town USA person, or a crime, police procedural person. You’ll love it.
Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars
The Author: Margaret Mizushima has a winning series in the Timber Creek K-9 mystery series with book one, Killing Trail, nominated for an RT Reviewer’s Choice award for Best First Mystery, and Stalking Ground, book 2, named finalist in the 2017 Colorado Book Awards mystery category. After earning her master’s degree in speech pathology, she practiced in a hospital before opening her own rehabilitation agency. When she is not reading, hiking, or writing, she assists her husband with their veterinary clinic and Angus cattle herd on the small ranch in Colorado where they raised two daughters. Find her on Facebook/Author Margaret Mizushima, on Twitter @margmizu, and her website http://www.margaretmizushima.com ©2017 Virginia Williams