The Darkest Thread (The Flint K-9 Search and Rescue Mysteries Book 1) by Jen Blood – a #BookReview – #animalfiction

A buddy read with the CE—do we agree?

Book Blurb:

The Darkest Thread by Jen BloodFor fans of John Connolly, Nevada Barr, and dogs of all shape and size, the first novel in the new Flint K-9 Search and Rescue Mysteries, from the author of the bestselling Erin Solomon Mysteries!

When teenage sisters go missing in the mysterious “Bennington Triangle” of Vermont, an area renowned for its disappearances and strange occurrences over the past hundred years, FBI agent Jack Juarez brings K-9 handler Jamie Flint and her dog Phantom in to assist with the search. When Jack realizes the case shares haunting similarities with the murders of the missing girls’ aunts ten years before, it becomes clear that he and Jamie are dealing with much more than two girls who simply wandered off the beaten path.

My Review:

So enthused to find another good K-9 story, a search and rescue team in Jamie Flint, her GSD Phantom, her son Bear, and his rescue pit bull Casper. The hook at the beginning has them doing a training run in Maine and definitely got my attention and elevated expectations.

Then, she gets a call to travel to Vermont to search the Bennington Triangle for two missing teenage girls. Her son will accompany her along with his young Nigerian immigrant friend Ren and her dog as well as assorted FBI agents, local police and search and rescue. And, for me, at this point, the story goes wonky.

First, a strong paranormal element is introduced—that of her son—and to a lesser degree Jamie, disappointing for me as I thought it was to be a K-9 narrative, telling and teaching about the abilities of our canine partners and their wonderful work. Once they get to Vermont, the storyline brings in the Redfield family. Mercy! That whole family, their history, and the inter-relationships with the FBI launches some hefty disbelief.

There is backstory we’re missing and backstory we get that doesn’t jive with what is going on. Bear is shot and he and Ren taken hostage by Dean Redfield following discovery of the body of one of the girls. It just keeps getting further and further from the K-9 thing with Jamie bull-headedly pushing forward while the dogs are resting. Lots of weirded out characters, ghosts, graphic descriptions of torture, twists and turns.

While it is fairly fast paced, it ventures too far into the supernatural for me in a K-9 story. The lively conclusion pulls most threads together, but still leaves me feeling just a little disappointed. 3.0 Stars – V Williams

His Review:

The Darkest Thread by Jen BloodJen Blood creates engaging mysteries. This one touches on the paranormal and is situated in the mountains of Vermont. The narrative suggests that the mountain folk in Vermont share many traits with the mountain folk of West Virginia.

Jamie Flint has her own search and rescue service in Maine that includes her young son, Bear, and his female companion. The request for their services is on Glastenbury Mountain in Vermont. Two girls who went out for an early morning walk have gone missing. Because of the wild and rugged area on the mountain Jamie and her group have been called in.

The family the girls are related to are not strangers to some of their women going missing. This has been happening since the middle 1940’s. This is where the story gets a little difficult for me to believe.

Jamie and her son have been visited by spirits asking for their help. Because of the events going back generations, this is where the plot darkens. Can the spirits get closure from the services provided by Jamie and her son Bear? More importantly, why haven’t some of the disappearances been solved?

The story includes some interesting historical information about the topography and area around Glastenbury mountain. Seems the native Americans in the area had made some rather interesting cairns lined with limestone rocks. These cairns are not simply water wells, mounds, or monuments. Pre-European settlement makes this fact particularly strange. Many questions arise as to why these people would create the cairns.

The author includes many descriptions of tracking with dogs and the challenges faced by the handlers and the animals. As you read this book, you become very involved in the relationship of the handlers to the dogs. The symbiosis between the two is part of the endearing relationship of dogs to humans.

The FBI and some governmental law enforcement agencies are pointed out as not always the white hat hero types. One of their own is thrown into prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Circumstantial evidence and a questionable judge painted him into a prison cell! The inter-relationship and family ties to the law and the investigation team is also rather strange.

The ending is a bit surprising and again caused me to question the timeline of the entire story. It is well written and entertaining. 3.5 Stars – CE Williams

Rosepoint Rating: Three point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Pet Dogs, Dog Care
Publisher: Adian Press 
Print Length: 353 pages
Publication Date: October 20, 2016
Title Link(s):  The Darkest Thread [Amazon]

Jen Blood - authorThe Author: Jen Blood is the USA Today-bestselling author of two critically acclaimed, action-packed mystery series: The Erin Solomon Mysteries and the Flint K-9 Search and Rescue Mysteries. Both series feature strong, independent women who dominate in their chosen fields (Erin Solomon as an investigative reporter intent on learning the truth about her own past; Jamie Flint as a single mom, small business owner, and K-9 search and rescue trainer and handler).

In addition to her career as an author, Jen is also a freelance writer and certified dog trainer. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing/Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine, is a regular blogger with Maine Crime Writers, and leads workshops throughout New England on writing, editing, and independent publishing.

Jen taps into a background in freelance journalism in the heart of Midcoast Maine to write mysteries rich with atmosphere and action, with great characters, a hint of romance, and plots that will keep you guessing until the last page is turned. Her series has been hailed by critics and readers alike for its sharp wit and well-drawn characters. For more information and to get your free copy of the Jen Blood Starter Library, visit Jen’s website at jenblood.com.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams the CE and I

Fatal Divisions (A Hank Worth Mystery Book 4) by Claire Booth – A #BookReview – #policeprocedural

Book Blurb:

Family secrets and internal police politics cause trouble for Sheriff Hank Worth and his Chief Deputy Sheila Turley in this compelling mystery.

Fatal Divisions by Claire BoothHank Worth has always been committed to his job as Branson sheriff, so getting him to take a break is difficult. But to everyone’s surprise he agrees to take time off after a grueling case and visit a friend in Columbia, Missouri, leaving Chief Deputy Sheila Turley in charge. She quickly launches reforms that create an uproar, and things deteriorate even further when an elderly man is found brutally murdered in his home.

As Sheila struggles for control of the investigation and her insubordinate deputies, Hank is not relaxing as promised. His Aunt Fin is worried her husband is responsible for the disappearance of one of his employees, and Hank agrees to investigate.

The search for the missing woman leads to a tangle of deceit that Hank is determined to unravel . . . no matter the impact on his family.

His Review:

Sheriff Hank Worth was past exhausted. His wife was trying to get the old work horse to take a break. His department was way over budget and the county commissioners were complaining. His second in command was a no-nonsense female who was trying to develop a better work schedule and eliminate large cost overruns. The rest of the department hated her guts!

Fatal Divisions by Claire BoothFinally, Hank is maneuvered into a weeks’ getaway with an old college buddy. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief. But the buddy has a case he is working on as well and there is no rest for Hank. Meanwhile Sheila, his second in command, was going to fix all of the budgetary problems caused by sandbagging employees. Predictable of course the old timers rebelled and a sickout begins.

Mail mounting up in a mailbox causes the postman to call a deputy to check on one of his postal customers. Upon entering the house, a grizzly murder is discovered. The first suspect is the mans’ estranged sun. Dual plots spin from there. Claire Booth crafts this yarn with the best of them.

She is very adept at keeping the reader off balance with dual plots clouding the development of the investigations. Strong women are replete throughout the tale and men seem to be cast as the weaker sex. A fun approach to the investigations but also a bit unsettling. The ending justifies the means, however, and a surprise leads to a totally unlikely perpetrator. Then the development of the characters becomes crystal clear.

Pick up this book and enjoy a ride with Claire Booth available now. She doesn’t disappoint in her development of a tale. 4.5/5 stars – CE Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley. These are my honest and unbiased opinions.

Book Details:

Genre: Small Town & Rural Fiction, Police Procedurals
Publisher: Severn House Publishers; Main edition

  • ASIN : B08MQ61BH2

Print Length: 240 pages
Publication Date: December 1, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Fatal Divisions [Amazon]
Also find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Claire Booth - authorThe Author: Claire Booth spent more than a decade as a daily newspaper reporter, much of it covering crimes so convoluted and strange they seemed more like fiction than reality. Eventually, she had enough of the real world and decided to write novels instead. Her Sheriff Hank Worth mystery series takes place in Branson, Missouri, where small-town Ozark politics and big-city country music tourism clash in, yes, strange and convoluted ways. Her latest, A Deadly Turn, is available now.

For more about Claire, her books, and some of the true crimes she’s covered, please visit http://www.clairebooth.com.

©CE Williams – V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat