By Margaret Mizushima
A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery #3
Crooked Lane Books, 2017
Deputy Mattie Cobb is in a dark place and has withdrawn from Cole Walker and his family to work on issues from her past. When she and her K-9 partner Robo get called to track a missing junior high student, they find the girl dead on Smoker’s Hill behind the high school, and Mattie must head to the Walker home to break the bad news. But that’s only the start of trouble in Timber Creek, because soon another girl goes missing—and this time it’s one of Cole’s daughters.
Knowing that each hour a child remains missing lessens the probability of finding her alive, Mattie and Robo lead the hunt while Cole and community volunteers join in to search everywhere. To no avail. It seems that someone has snatched all trace of the Walker girl from their midst, including her scent. Grasping at straws, Mattie and Robo follow a phoned-in tip into the dense forest, where they hope to find a trace of the girl’s scent and to rescue her alive. But when Robo does catch her scent, it leads them to information that challenges everything they thought they knew about the case.
Mattie and Robo must rush to hunt down the kidnapper before they’re too late in Hunting Hour, the third installment in critically acclaimed author Margaret Mizushima’s exhilarating mystery series.
Hunting Hour, a combination of police procedural and suspense, is an outstanding murder mystery – atmospheric, fast-paced, haunting, a clean read that was downright hard to put down. Although third in the Timber Creek K-9 series, it stands alone, but I can guarantee that the character development will leave you eager to read the previous two books.
Margaret Mizushima has crafted an engrossing, well-written story with Colorado’s rugged beauty as the backdrop. Mattie is an appealing lead character – intelligent, but with an abusive past that affects her relationships and actions. That troubled past also affects her investigative skills – negatively by getting in the way sometimes, but positively by helping her identify with the victim. There’s a hint of romance with Cole Walker, local vet, and I loved Mattie’s relationship with his two daughters. Other secondary characters are well drawn, making it even more rewarding to read the series in order.
Robo, Mattie’s work dog, is a star! One of this story’s strengths is the bond between dog and human, and it was fascinating to see the way a police dog works. From Mattie’s abusive childhood to the murder/kidnapping of children, anything that threatens a child captures the heart and emotions. As for the “whodunit” part, twists and turns kept me on the edge of my seat and unsure until the end.
I’m not normally a suspense fan, but there was a good balance between suspense and the workings of the investigative team. I hope there will be many more Timber Creek K-9 mysteries in the future.
I was provided a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
Margaret Mizushima is the author of the Timber Creek K-9 mysteries, which includes Killing Trail (Crooked Lane Books, 2015) nominated for an RT Reviewer’s Choice award for best first mystery, Stalking Ground (Crooked Lane Books, 2016) a finalist in the Colorado Book Awards mystery category, and Hunting Hour (Crooked Lane Books, 2017).
She has a background in speech pathology and practiced in an acute care hospital before establishing her own rehabilitation agency. Currently, she balances writing with assisting her husband with their veterinary clinic and Angus cattle herd. She enjoys 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.
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