Killing Trail by Margaret Mizushima

TRAIL
Killing Trail by Margaret Mizushima
A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (311 pgs)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Stephanotis

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. Fans of Nevada Barr and C.J. Box will love this explosive debut.

Mystery, suspense and a canine…who could ask for more? The canine in this story is Robo, Mattie Cobb’s K-9 partner who helps her solve a case in the small Colorado community that she calls home.

I enjoyed the opening with its introduction to Mattie and how she came to be partnered with Robo. It’s clear that Mattie hasn’t always been the best dog handler which I felt made her more of credible character. It’s not long into the story that the duo is put to work when a young girl’s body is found. There’s also a dog who’s been shot which brings into the picture a newly single dad and veterinarian, Cole Walker. I liked Mattie’s character and her determination and vulnerability at times. I also liked Cole a lot. He too seemed full of hurt from his recent divorce and his struggle as a newly single dad. There was a hint that a relationship will develop between these two which I hope is the case.

And let’s not forget the mystery. I had several suspects in mind but when the first one wound up dead, it made me read on faster to find out if my other inclination was right. This is a fast paced mystery, well layered with clues and does keep you guessing. The two things I enjoyed about it the most are the setting and the cast of characters who came across as real people.

The author obviously did lots of research on K-9 training and how police officers work with their canine partners which added to the authenticity of the story. This is a series I’ll definitely be following, and if you’re looking for a new police procedural story, this is one I’d recommend you check out.

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