Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Striking Range by Margaret Mizushima
Series: Timber Creek K9 Mystery #7
on September 7, 2021
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, Apple
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 love continuing with Timber Creek K-9 series which is really one of the best for actually including a K9 and its duties in the story. The author also does well with the police investigations in this remote area. I also enjoy all the personal relationships which have grown throughout the series. I would read this series in order because of the growth in both Mattie’s personal and professional life.
In Striking Range, Mattie moves forward with investigating her past. Her biological father was murdered and she is trying to solve the case. She goes to interview someone in prison who knew him at that time, along with a cold case detective, Hauck. The prisoner is dead when they arrive. Hauck comes back to town with her to search the prisoner’s marked places they find in a map in his cell.
Cole is busy with Sassy having puppies, fathered by Robo. A new client, Tonya, comes in with her aunt and her border collie. So he doesn’t go into the mountain for the search and only lends his horses. The search finds drugs but a storm comes up before they can complete all the searching. Then Tonya, who was 9 moths pregnant, turns up dead and no longer pregnant.
With multiple cases and searches happening, things are fast and suspenseful. They are also exhausting for Mattie and the others in law enforcement and for Cole with his work. Robo’s trainer comes to town with a team of dogs / handlers trained in different types of work and they are very busy. There are dogs for cadaver work, narcotics, gunpowder and explosives who all have successful searches. I guessed at the main bad guy very early but not the extent of his evil. Mattie and Cole both face close calls.
I appreciate all the details about the dog searches and work, as well as the police investigative interviews, data searches and evidence evaluations. The addition of the personal relationships gives another layer. Angie has her first crush / boyfriend. Mattie has her Mama T, her sister and her grandmother. I really enjoy everything about these books and look forward to more!
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