Standing Dead by Margaret Mizushima & What Have We Done by Alex Finlay @margmizu @crookedlanebks #AlexFinlay @MinotaurBooks

Posted March 4, 2023 by Anne - Books of My Heart in Book Review / 16 Comments

Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Standing Dead by Margaret Mizushima &  What Have We Done by Alex Finlay @margmizu @crookedlanebks #AlexFinlay @MinotaurBooksStanding Dead by Margaret Mizushima
Series: Timber Creek K9 Mystery #8
Published by Crooked Lane Books on March 7, 2023
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
AmazonAudibleLibro.fmBarnes & NobleApple
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Deputy Mattie Cobb and her sister, Julia, travel to Mexico to visit their mother, but when they arrive, they discover that she and her husband have vanished without a trace. Back in Timber Creek, Mattie finds a chilling note on her front door telling her to look for “him” among the standing dead up in the high country.

The sheriff’s department springs into action and sends a team to the mountains, where Mattie’s K-9 partner, Robo, makes a grisly discovery—a body tied to a dead pine tree. Mattie is shocked when she realizes she knows the dead man. And then another note arrives, warning that Mattie’s mother is in desperate straits. In a last-ditch gambit, Mattie must go deep undercover into a killer’s lair to save her mother—or die trying

Mattie’s family issues come to a head in Standing Dead.  She has her sister and grandmother and knows more truth about her parentage and history.  She and her sister go to Mexico to find their mother but she and her new husband have fled.  Mattie returns home and the hits just keep happening.

I love the Timber Creek K-9 series which has a K9 in a more realistic role.  Mattie has really developed a great relationship with her coworkers and personally with Cole and his family.  I would read this series in order because of the growth in both Mattie’s personal and professional life. Everything is set in the gorgeous Colorado high country.  I’ll try to give you a feel for this book without spoiling.

Cole has many demanding clients with horses that got poisoned and Sassy’s new puppies getting sick.  His daughter wants him to hire another friend to work at the vet clinic.  He is very worried about Mattie as she investigates on almost no sleep in a dangerous situation.  There’s been a murder. Her mother and sister are in danger.  To free them, Mattie has to use all her training and skill, and risk herself.

The pace is swift and I appreciate greatly how her co-workers are her friends and how well they support her, but also are very competent in their jobs.  It’s suspenseful with all the things happening and trying to determine who the bad guys are and why they are targeting Mattie and her family.   I thought I knew but I didn’t.  It was very satisfying to see Mattie handle things so well in what had to be a very emotional situation.   Also, I love to see the bad guys apprehended for their misdeeds.


Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Standing Dead by Margaret Mizushima &  What Have We Done by Alex Finlay @margmizu @crookedlanebks #AlexFinlay @MinotaurBooksWhat Have We Done by Alex Finlay
Published by Minotaur Books on March 7, 2023
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
AmazonAudibleLibro.fmBarnes & NobleApple
One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

A stay-at-home mom with a past.
A has-been rock star with a habit.
A reality TV producer with a debt.
Three disparate lives.
One deadly secret.

Twenty five years ago, Jenna, Donnie, and Nico were the best of friends, a bond forged as residents of Savior House, an abusive group home for parentless teens. When the home was shut down—after the disappearance of several kids—the three were split up.

Though the trauma of their childhood has never left them, each went on to live successful, if troubled, lives. They haven’t seen one another since they were teens but now are reunited for a single haunting reason: someone is trying to kill them.

To save their lives, the group will have to revisit the nightmares of their childhoods and confront their past—a past that holds the secret to why someone wants them dead.

It’s a reunion none of them asked for . . . or wanted. But it may be the only way to save all their lives.

It took a bit to settle into What Have We Done because it starts with a prologue of sorts, then chapters are alternately from the point of view of Jenna, Donnie, Nico or a villain. It’s weird because there are actually two more kids who were part of there history and secret, Ben and Artemis.

Things are fast and furious because someone is trying to kill our three people who are telling us the story.  We don’t know who or why or even what the secret is.  Miraculously, they all live but there are some injuries.  Each of them has different ideas about who is after them.

I liked Jenna.  She is competent, smart and loves her family.  She investigates with intelligent and sharp abilities.  I was rooting for her all along as she gathered more information.

Donnie was harder to like.  He is an aging rock star who drinks and takes drugs and just sort of stumbles through life. In fact, his murder attempt was initially thought to be an accident.  He doesn’t really even think of investigating. He’s just trying to survive his own meager existence.

Nico also has some problems, and I like him the least.  He also survives what looks like an accident. Nico is a gambler who owes a lot of money. He tries to find out who might have been trying to kill him.  Most of his ideas don’t pan out or even make sense.

Eventually, they all come together with the villains and things are dicey.  The secrets all come out and the villains want no people who know the secrets.  I enjoyed reading and trying to understand the mystery and secrets.  The ending was mostly satisfying.  There was one person who I thought should have ended up much worse as they caused the whole thing.


About Alex Finlay

Alex Finlay is the pseudonym of an author who lives in Washington, D.C. His 2021 breakout thriller, Every Last Fear, was an Indie Next pick, a LibraryReads selection, an Amazon Editor’s Best Thriller, as well as a CNN, Newsweek, E!, BuzzFeed, Business Week, Goodreads, Parade, PopSugar, and Reader’s Digest best or most anticipated thriller of the year. Alex’s work has been translated into more than a dozen languages and optioned for film and television.

About Margaret Mizushima

Margaret Mizushima is the author of the award-winning and internationally published Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries. Active within the writing community, Margaret serves on the board for the Rocky Mountain chapter of Mystery Writers of America and was elected the 2019-2020 Writer of the Year by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She lives in Colorado on a small ranch with her veterinarian husband where they raised two daughters and a multitude of animals.

Anne - Books of My Heart
Follow me
Please follow and like us:
Follow by Email
Visit Us
Follow Me

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 23-COYER

Posted March 4, 2023 by Anne - Books of My Heart in Book Review / 16 Comments

16 responses to “Standing Dead by Margaret Mizushima & What Have We Done by Alex Finlay

  1. Margaret Mizushima’s K-9 series is a favorite of mine. I love Mattie and Robo, and Mattie’s relationship with Cole. I’m on the hold list for this one at my library…#1 on the hold list…and am impatiently waiting for it to come in. Great review!

  2. I have the first book in the series by Mizushima on Audible and am looking forward to it. I didn’t realize how far along the series was and am glad to see that you are still enjoying the series!

  3. I’d like to pick up The Timber Creek K-9 series at some point. I’ve liked but didn’t love the last two Finlay books so I didn’t request this one. I might get it from the library.