Review: Killing Trail (A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery) by Margaret Mizushima
Source: Hardcopy courtesy of Crooked Lane Books. Thank you!
Publication: December 8, 2015 by Crooked Lane Books
Verdict: Very Good
When a young girl is found dead in the mountains outside Timber Creek, life-long resident Officer Mattie Cobb and her partner, K-9 police dog Robo, are assigned to the case that has rocked the small Colorado town.
With the help of Cole Walker, local veterinarian and a single father, Mattie and Robo must track down the truth before it claims another victim. But the more Mattie investigates, the more she realizes how many secrets her hometown holds. And the key may be Cole’s daughter, who knows more than she’s saying.
The murder was just the beginning, and if Mattie isn’t careful, she and Robo could be next. Suspenseful and smart, Killing Trail is a gripping read that will have readers clamoring for more Mattie and Robo for years to come.
I always like it when a mystery novel surprises me, and Killing Trail did just that. An interesting, smoothly written mystery with a fresh angle, Margaret Mizushima’s debut fiction title is a solid read. In rotating third-person narratives, Killing Trail revolves around young Deputy Mattie Cobb, her K-9 partner Robo, and the devastating death of a local teenage girl. With shaky leads and a ticking clock, Mattie and her incredible canine partner face a tricky investigation.
In tandem with the notable police dog partnership element of this novel, Killing Trail also manages to successfully tie-in personal heartache as well as potential romance. The third-person point of view from our protagonist Mattie is developed well, providing readers specifics of investigative work and K-9 training as well as insight into the history of a seemingly unyielding young deputy. The secondary perspective of Cole Walker, the recently divorced town vet, gives us readers a terrific complement to Mattie- not just as a spotlight for a future romance, but arguably more as a way to round out and expand the edges of both characters.
The introduction and foray into K-9 training and partnership is pretty fascinating and adds that extra element of interest to the novel. It seems clear that Mizushima did in-depth research into this area of police work; any passages relating to this subject area comes across so fluidly in the novel. I find that the relationship between Mattie and Robo brings a compelling new aspect to the crime fighting duo genre; it really sets the novel apart from similarly themed mysteries!
Overall, Killing Trail is a well-written, solidly executed mystery title. With a greater focus on procedure, exploration and character, this novel may appeal to readers who appreciate their mysteries focused more on development and insight (balanced by a good amount of suspense and whodunnit!). With rounded characters and just enough personal and relationship uncertainty left hanging, there is ample room for the author continue with this series. I was hooked into the story from the beginning to end and hope to read more Timber Creek K-9 mysteries in the future.
I received a copy of this book from Crooked Lane Books in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and comments are my own.