Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Hunting hour by Margaret Mizushima

Hunting hour is the third book in the Timber Creek K-9 mysteries, and while you can read it as a stand alone this review contains ***SPOILERS*** if you have not already read Killing trail and Stalking ground.  I highly recommend reading the series in order.

Life with a police dog for a partner was never going to be easy for Deputy Mattie Lu Cobb, especially with a smart and dominant dog like Robo, but they have proven themselves time and again.  Earning the respect of her team is important to Mattie, but that respect is sliding into concern because Mattie is not at the top of her game.  Memories buried long ago in her past have been stirred up by her brother reaching out and contacting her, and those memories are making it hard for her to function.  She isn't sleeping well, isn't eating well, and she is distracted enough that it is affecting her working relationship with Robo.  Worst of all, her colleagues have noticed the change and are challenging her about her behaviour and health.

The distraction couldn't have come at a worse time, because a young girl has gone missing from one of the local schools, and the team needs Robo and his nose to find her.  When he does find her, they are too late to save her, and it hits Mattie hard that they have lost another child from their community - and there are aspects of the case that stir up her memories and make it challenging for Mattie to remain objective and focused.  The death is a tragedy for the community, but Mattie is able to keep some professional distance.  When veterinarian Cole Walker reaches out to let her know that one of his daughters is missing it leaves Mattie reeling in shock, and sends her into overdrive to find the kidnapper before the unthinkable happens and the community loses another child.  This case will stretch Mattie to the limit and may push her over the edge.

The Timber Creek K-9 mysteries series has been a delightful surprise, not only for myself but also for my elderly mother.  The characters are relatable and engaging, and the relationships between all the characters bring the series to life and help you feel truly connected to the series.  I picked up the first book in the series because I was wanting books about working dogs and their human partners, and I have continued to read the series because of how well the relationship is portrayed between Mattie and Robo, but also because Mizushima has written characters that you really connect with and care about - and more importantly, with each new book in the series we add more layers and background to each character, which makes them even more familiar and comfortable. 

I did have an inkling quite early one about who the person involved was, but it didn't stop me enjoying the book, and there were quite a few times when I wondered if I had actually figured it out or not!  This is a great series if you like mysteries that have relatable and realistic characters.  Mizushima doesn't try to be too clever, and she has a nice writing style that gives you the bones of the story and enough detail to keep it interesting, without bogging you down with superfluous details.  Hopefully there are many more books in this series to come, although with a small town like Timber Creek there may not be that many more people Mizushima can kill off!

One of the challenges of reviewing this series is that there are little twists and turns that I want other readers to discover for themselves rather than me spoiling them - so a little lighter review than normal but I still highly recommend this series.

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

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