Review: Burning Ridge (A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery #4) by Margaret Mizushima
Source: ARC courtesy of Crooked Lane Books. Thank you!
Publication: September 11, 2018 by Crooked Lane Books
Colorado’s Redstone Ridge is a place of extraordinary beauty, but this rugged mountain wilderness harbors a horrifying secret. When a charred body is discovered in a shallow grave on the ridge, officer Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner Robo are called in to spearhead the investigation. But this is no ordinary crime—and it soon becomes clear that Mattie has a close personal connection to the dead man.
Joined by local veterinarian Cole Walker, the pair scours the mountaintop for evidence and makes another gruesome discovery: the skeletonized remains of two adults and a child. And then, the unthinkable happens. Could Mattie become the next victim in the murderer’s deadly game?
A deranged killer torments Mattie with a litany of dark secrets that call into question her very identity. As a towering blaze races across the ridge, Cole and Robo search desperately for her—but time is running out in Margaret Mizushima’s fourth spine-tingling Timber Creek K-9 mystery, Burning Ridge.
In Burning Ridge, police officer Mattie Cobb and her incredible K-9 partner Robo (and their police team unit) are brought to a stunning mountain wilderness in Colorado called Redstone Ridge when a particularly grisly- outright disturbing- scene is discovered: that of charred human remains. While the Timber Creek series has delved into homicide, kidnapping, and other terrifying scenes of violence, the savageness of the crimes and the fear pulsating throughout Burning Ridge is at its peak here. Mizushima has so wonderfully drawn out the town of Timber Creek, the deeply courageous and complex protagonist Mattie, her relationship with Robo, as well as local veterinarian and potential romantic partner Cole Walker to such a degree that what transpires over the course of Burning Ridge makes for extremely riveting- and heartbreaking- reading. For readers who haven’t yet discovered this series, I do not wish to give much away here for fear of spoilers. But I will say that Mattie’s traumatic personal history regarding her birth parents, brother, and foster mother (gently broached over the course of the three previous novels) cracks wide ope over the course of the novel. Readers familiar with Mattie know her to be pretty unshakable, almost unyielding in her professional work; what is discovered by her and her police team during their investigation into the remains found on Redstone Ridge takes her to a breaking point. Burning Ridge is gripping reading beginning to end; well-plotted, terrifically paced, and, at key moments, provides readers with genuinely shocking and tragic moments.
The Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series is one that has gone from strength to strength, carefully and thoughtfully revealing more about key and secondary characters as the novels roll on, while successfully increasing the stakes and tension of the central mystery in each successive novel. While all of the series entries have been genuinely well-done and engaging, Burning Ridge is the most engrossing, unsettling and chilling of the series yet. It seems as though Mizushima is getting more and more comfortable with the characters and thus taking deeper and more intense risks with the stories and directions characters will go. If you are interested in taking a look at the series, or are on the search for a mystery series featuring a formidable female protagonist, I recommend starting withbook one, Killing Trail, and following from there in order. Overall, I found Burning Ridge absolutely riveting start to end; I look forward to the next installment in the series, and in seeing what direction author Margaret Mizushima takes Mattie, Robo, and Cole next.
I received a copy of this title courtesy of Crooked Lane Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and comments are my own.