The victim is a local teen, and she is not the only victim - her dog was also shot and left for dead. Dealing with a death is hard enough in a small community, but when the person is murdered and seemingly an innocent victim it is even harder. As Mattie and the rest of the team get more involved in the case it becomes clear that the death is not an isolated random act, that there is some connection between the death and rumours of drug use in the community. With a tough no nonsense detective from out of town marking her territory around the case, and Mattie trying to squish her K-9 and patrol duties into her day it is no wonder she is feeling stretched a little thin and jumping at shadows. Life is never easy when you're a police officer, and sometimes working in a small town makes it harder to do your job - not easier. People are keeping secrets, and unless Mattie can work out what those secrets are, more lives are at risk.
I was reading Killing trail as an ebook while also reading a tree book and I kept finding myself tugged between the two books - and ended the struggle by leaving the tree book at home to read in the evenings and reading Killing trail during my lunch breaks. Mizushima has an easy to read writing style that almost reads itself, and the mix of characters kept the story interesting and diverse enough that it really felt like it reflected a relatively small community. The biggest draw card for me for this series was that the main characters are a dog handler and her police dog - and it felt like a solid representation of those working relationships. I thoroughly enjoyed the Ryder Creed series by Alex Kava, and while Mattie is no Ryder Creed she is an interesting character in her own right and fits in a similar space of brining those relationships into the literary world.
I have already downloaded the sequel, Stalking ground, so I can keep reading this engaging and interesting series. Luckily there is a third book in the series, but I may have to pace myself with the rest of the series as it looks as though the author writes one a year - which means a wait until 2018 for a fourth book in the series.
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Reviewed by Brilla