Title: Burning Ridge (A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery) by Margaret Mizushima
Genre: Currently #204 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Traditional
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: To be released September 11, 2018
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title and Cover: Burning Ridge – Cover depicts K-9 major character
Burning Ridge comprises #4 in the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series and the second I’ve had the privilege to receive through download from the publisher and NetGalley. Protagonist Deputy Mattie Cobb is a handler for regal German Shepherd police K-9 Robo who has been trained for specialty assignments in search and rescue in the remote and rugged Colorado mountains.
Veterinarian, Dr. Cole Walker, continues to provide the love interest (which does not overwhelm the storyline), while level-headed and experienced Stella, is a complex, well-trained, competent detective who provides police procedural basics and authority.
Unfortunately, the beauty of the Colorado wilderness doesn’t completely hide the ugliness of a person or scenario twenty-plus years in the making when Robo discovers a charred body and even older shallow grave sites near the same location. When the body is found to be someone extremely close to Mattie, the situation becomes very personal.
Mattie stems from an unfortunate background, but has become a competent, independent woman bonded with her K-9 partner. Upon further investigation into the area, Robo discovers additional artifacts probably connected to the older case and as the MO is identical, must be connected to the recent grisly discovery.
Yes, it’s the fourth in the series, but really will function well as a standalone, as this book reveals much more about her dark childhood than previously disclosed and somewhat sets the stage for revelations in book five. Robo continues to be a strong, driving force in the series and the author releases little tidbits about the training, commands, and intuitiveness of our faithful and loving canines. Cole is beginning to realize the seriousness of finding a companion associated with police detection services and the even more dangerous position of a K-9 officer. Still, his two girls and he seem to have enfolded her into their lives. Also, Mattie has taken an interest in the welfare of a young woman with whom she has connected and is trying to find a safe and loving harbor for the girl in the face of an often physically and emotionally absent father.
The characters continue to be well-fleshed and emotive. The dialogue is delivered naturally and the descriptive scenes of saddling the horses to climb upwards through brush and trees deliver you into the middle of the struggle with hoof on rock or shale. You even come to love Mountaineer, the reliable, sure-footed mount given to Mattie. The drama grabs you from the opening chapter and the well-plotted storyline never slows.
The imagination fires and leads you into red herrings and twists and through the next leg of the complex plot. My only complaint would be the inexplicable connection to the antagonist or lack of resolution for his/her/their involvement (obviously being saved for #5). I greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review and heartily recommend whether or not you’re a dog person, a small town USA person, or a crime, police procedural person. It’s a fast, easy mystery. You’ll enjoy. (Trust me)
Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five of Five Stars
The Author: Margaret Mizushima writes the Timber Creek K-9 mystery series featuring Deputy Mattie Cobb, her K-9 partner Robo, and Cole Walker, DVM. KILLING TRAIL, book one in the series, was nominated for an RT Reviewer’s Choice award for Best First Mystery, and STALKING GROUND, book two, was named a finalist in the 2017 Colorado Book Awards mystery category. Her short story “Hay Hook” was published in the 2014 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers anthology CROSSING COLFAX. After earning a master’s degree in speech pathology, she practiced in a hospital and in her own rehabilitation agency, and now she assists her husband with their veterinary clinic and Angus cattle herd. She likes reading and hiking, and she lives on a small ranch in Colorado where she and her husband raised two daughters and a multitude of animals. She can be found on Facebook/Author Margaret Mizushima, on Twitter @margmizu, and on her website at http://www.margaretmizushima.com.
©2018 V Williams