Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars
A deadly secret is buried in the Colorado high country–and murder is only the beginning in the seventh gripping installment of Margaret Mizushima’s Timber Creek K-9 mysteries.
He was suspect number one–the man who tried to kill Deputy Mattie Cobb and may have killed her father thirty years earlier. But when Mattie and cold case detective Jim Hauck reach the Colorado state prison where they will finally get to interview him, he’s found dead in his cell. There’s only one clue: a map leading to Timber Creek and rugged Redstone Ridge.
Though she usually works with veterinarian Cole Walker, Mattie’s K-9 partner Robo has just sired a litter of pups, who require special, time-consuming care at Cole’s clinic. Left to explore the map’s clue without him, Mattie and Robo journey into the burned forest surrounding Redstone Ridge. But before they can finish their search they’re called to help investigate the death of a young woman found in a campground filled with elk hunters. Identification of the deceased points to her having recently given birth, but the infant is nowhere to be found.
As a deadly storm descends upon the mountains, covering everything with a layer of ice and snow, Mattie and her team search for the missing newborn. The storm batters the area, taking its toll on the team and forcing the sheriff to call in reinforcements. When new evidence surfaces, they decide that finding the woman’s killer will lead them to her baby, making them even more desperate to solve the case.
Then Cole goes missing, stranded alone in the high country with a person that Mattie now suspects is the mastermind behind several murders, including her father’s. She and Robo take to the trail to find Cole–but the killer has a cold-blooded plan that threatens them all.
I just love it when author Margaret Mizushima comes out with a new installment in the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series. This is the seventh and my new favorite in the series.
Protagonist Deputy Mattie Cobb is partnered with her canine, Robo. The little Colorado town of Timber Creek is small but situated on major north/south, east/west roads and gets their fair share of action—even up in God’s country, those gorgeous pine covered mountains.
Mattie is still trying to clear her father’s reputation as a dirty cop and think she’s finally going to talk to the one guy who could shed some light on what actually happened all those years ago. When she arrives with California Cold-Case Detective Jim Hauck to interview him, however, he is discovered deceased in his cell. They find a map he has left marking locations of his activities that will generate an excursion into the high country.
In the meantime, the multi-layered plot begins to ease into other experiences such as the birth of a litter of puppies that Robo has sired and the discovery of a young woman’s body who has just given birth. The newborn infant, however, is missing.
I have really come to love the support characters, including her boyfriend, veterinarian Cole Walker and his two daughters. I always get to learn more about canine behavior and their amazing relationship with their handlers (or owners), their intelligence, intuition, and empathetic natures.
The writing style always manages to grip the scene and describe it down to the nuances of body language, inflection, and personality. They come alive on the page, as does the scent of the mountains, the chill of the temperatures, and the wind as it slices sideways through the heavy winter clothing.
The fast-paced plot lines make for a compulsive read. It’s gripping and never waivers or sags in the middle or constantly repeat gains.
The police procedurals remain authentic, realistic, and the interpersonal dynamics believable. As always, suspenseful and artful storytelling, building the tension as it shifts the scenes.
I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley and these are my honest and unbiased opinions. I started the series with Hunting Hour (Book 3) but my last reviews were Hanging Falls and Tracking Game. This is one of my very favorite authors and series and I’m always happy to recommend. Currently on pre-order.
Genre: Cozy Animal Mystery, Cozy Animal Mysteries, Police Procedurals
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Print Length: 288 pages
Publication Date: September 7, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
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The Author: Margaret Mizushima is the author of the award-winning and internationally published Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries. Active within the writing community, Margaret serves as president for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, was elected the 2019-2020 Writer of the Year by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and is also a member of Northern Colorado Writers and Sisters in Crime. She lives in Colorado on a small ranch with her veterinarian husband where they raised two daughters and a multitude of animals. She can be found on Facebook/AuthorMargaretMizushima, Twitter @margmizu, Instagram at margmizu, and her website at http://www.margaretmizushima.com.
©2021 V Williams