Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars
“…she said a silent prayer to St Roch. The patron saint of dogs.”
Mercy and Elvis are back in The Hiding Place, the most enthralling entry yet in USA Today bestselling Paula Munier’s award-winning Mercy Carr mystery series. When the man who killed her grandfather breaks out of prison and comes after her grandmother, Mercy must unearth the long-buried scandals that threaten to tear her family apart. And she may have to do it without her beloved canine partner Elvis, if his former handler has his way….
Some people take their secrets with them to the grave. Others leave them behind on their deathbeds, riddles for the survivors to solve.
When her late grandfather’s dying deputy calls Mercy to his side, she and Elvis inherit the cold case that haunted him—and may have killed him. But finding Beth Kilgore 20 years after she disappeared is more than a lost cause. It’s a Pandora’s box releasing a rain of evil on the very people Mercy and Elvis hold most dear.
The timing couldn’t be worse when the man who murdered her grandfather escapes from prison and a fellow Army vet turns up claiming that Elvis is his dog, not hers. With her grandmother Patience gone missing, and Elvis’s future uncertain, Mercy faces the prospect of losing her most treasured allies, the only ones she believes truly love and understand her.
She needs help, and that means forgiving Vermont Game Warden Troy Warner long enough to enlist his aid. With time running out for Patience, Mercy and Elvis must team up with Troy and his search-and-rescue dog Susie Bear to unravel the secrets of the past and save her grandmother—before it’s too late.
Once again, Paula Munier crafts a terrific mystery thriller filled with intrigue, action, resilient characters, the mountains of Vermont, and two amazing dogs.
Even as an adult I still gravitate heavily to dog stories, albeit a stronger more aggressive type than Lassie. This is the story of Elvis, a military trained, sharp as a tack, fierce, loyal, and gorgeous Belgian Malinois. Okay, the story includes Elvis, who is the canine protagonist, but I like him best.
The third in the series examines parallel storylines, each complex and just as gripping: the mystery—which involves more than one active case as well as a cold case, and the entry of the prior owner/handler of Elvis seeking to retrieve his dog. He is another Army vet, original owner of Elvis and Mercy is adamant she won’t turn the dog over to be a support animal in Missouri.
Mercy’s grandfather’s deputy is dying and requests her presence to hand over a cold case in which he was involved and couldn’t shake. There is also the news that the person responsible for her grandfather’s death has escaped from prison. It would appear he is headed back to Vermont and that her grandmother might be in danger. Her grandmother doesn’t appear to be worried and doesn’t bestow additional reasons why or why not.
Mercy had a falling out with Troy Warner and Book 3 catches up the reasons for the break. Tensions still run high between them—although they are forced to work together on some cases, including the suspicious death of a game employee following a juvenile moose. Troy has a search and rescue dog, Susie Bear, a lovable Newfie.
As a veteran herself, Mercy is still working through her return to civil life, enjoying her grandmother Patience, and smoothing the contentious relationship with her mother.
It is a well-plotted and fast-paced narrative, never sagging in the middle, while she whittles away at clues and interviews, often times involving Troy.
The immersion into a winter in Vermont is frost-laden and beautifully described sufficient to see your breath and chill the bones. There are stunning descriptions of snow storms and cabins deep enough in the woods accessible only by snowmobiles. As several of the threads began to appear linked, pieces of the puzzle gradually fall into place.
I correctly surmised what happened to the abuse victim, and the author does a good job of unraveling all the clues, making sense of the chronology. I really enjoyed the strong inclusion of the working canines, as well as the cats, and the sensible resolution of the ownership question of Elvis.
I read Book 1, The Borrowing of Bones, and greatly enjoyed it. Somehow I missed Book 2, but was thoroughly engaged and entertained in this uncorrected digital galley received from the publisher through NetGalley. Assuming my quibbles regarding this novel, including several contradictions, the clarification of her income (she isn’t K9 police—so who pays her?), and one glaring error regarding ticks (they don’t jump), is correctly edited, I enjoyed this entry more than the first. I’m looking forward to Book 4 and can wholly recommend this to any who enjoy a canine/location driven mystery, interesting and complex male/female protagonist team, and the beauty of Vermont and their distinctive Yankee spirit.
Genre: Small Town & Rural Fiction, Cozy Animal Mystery, Cozy Animal Mysteries
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ISBN : 1250153077
ASIN : B08BYDK2DV
Print Length: 326 pages
Publication Date: Happy Release Day! March 30, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
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The Author: PAULA MUNIER is a literary agent and the USA TODAY bestselling author of the Mercy Carr mysteries. A BORROWING OF BONES, the first in the series, was nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark Award, and was recently named the Dog Writers Association of America’s Dogwise Book of the Year. The second, BLIND SEARCH, pubbed in November 2019. The third, THE HIDING PLACE, will debut in March 2021.
Paula was inspired to write the series by the hero working dogs she met through Mission K9 Rescue, her own rescues, Newfoundland/retriever mix Bear, Great Pyrenees/Australian cattle dog mix Bliss, and Malinois mix Blondie, and a lifelong passion for crime fiction.
Paula also written three popular books on writing: PLOT PERFECT, THE WRITER’S GUIDE TO BEGINNINGS, and WRITING WITH QUIET HANDS, as well as the acclaimed memoir FIXING FREDDIE: A True Story of a Boy, a Mom, and a Very, Very Bad Beagle, and HAPPIER EVERY DAY: Simple ways to bring more peace, contentment and joy into your life.
She lives in New England with her family, her three rescue dogs, and a rescue torbie tabby named Ursula.
©2021 V Williams