by Sandra Murphy
This week we have a pair of K-9 mysteries-No Man’s Land: An FBI K-9 series by Sara Driscoll and Tracking Game: Timber Creek K-9 Mystery Margaret Mizushima. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of both books, along with links you can use to purchase them. If you have ad blocker on you won’t see the Amazon links at the end of each review.
No Man’s Land: An FBI K-9 series by Sara Driscoll
Review by Sandra Murphy
Special Agent Meg Jennings and her K-9 partner, Hawk, a black Lab, work with the FBI on Search and Rescue operations as a Human Scent Evidence Team. Always on the lookout for training opportunities, she agrees to go urbexing with her boyfriend, Todd, a firefighter trained paramedic and his fellow firefighter, Chuck. Exploring long-abandoned buildings gives Hawk a different kind of training.
Once inside the building, Hawk seems distracted, but Meg chalks it up to the unusual surroundings of the former psychiatric hospital; he doesn’t calm down. Deciding to let Hawk take the lead, the three follow him as he races off, following a scent only he can smell.
Hawk leads them through the basement to the furnace room and then up the stairs to the coal storage bins where he signals he’s found what he was looking for. Though the coal bins are eight feet tall, they have to investigate. After all, Hawk has never been wrong.
Sure enough, there’s the body of an elderly woman inside the bin. And that is the beginning of a new investigation.
Meg is also friends with McCord, an investigative journalist for the Washington Post. Hearing Todd, Chuck, and Meg talk about their urbexing adventure reminds him of a case of a missing person found in an abandoned mansion. McCord, a whiz at research, finds other possible cases.
As unlikely as it seems, someone is kidnapping elderly men and women and leaving them to die in popular urbexing sites.
When an elderly man goes missing, it’s a race against time to find him alive. Although the suspected disappearances were spaced apart, now the occurrences are happening closer together. Will it be possible to find the killer before more people die?
This is book four in the series, definitely a page-turning thriller of the best kind—there’s a dog! I’m fascinated to learn more about the abilities of dogs and this doesn’t disappoint. The information on how to investigate, to plan, and work as a team, to rely totally on partners, dog and human, and to trust them without hesitation or doubt, overlays a mystery that seems impossible to solve. Cozy readers may expect thrillers to be gory and gruesome, but this book disproves that theory. Great characters, history of the buildings in their heyday and present dilapidated condition, explanation of urbexing, and a darn good mystery, take storytelling to the next level. And there’s a dog!
Tracking Game: Timber Creek K-9 Mystery Margaret Mizushima
Review by Sandra Murphy
Mattie Cobb and Cole Walker are on their first in-public date. They met while working on a murder investigation, she a K-9 officer and he a veterinarian, so much of their time together has been of the high adrenaline sort. Appearing as a couple will be seen as a statement.
While taking a break outside, away from the crowded room, Mattie and Cole hear an explosion and the fire department siren. When she calls in for a report, she’s told a car is on fire which doesn’t sound that bad. Upon arrival, it’s worse. The van is in flames, the driver dead beside the road. His rescuer is Cole’s best friend who, hit by flying debris, is knocked out.
As Mattie checks the dead man, Nate Fletcher, a local rancher, she finds it wasn’t the fire or explosion that killed him. Two gunshots to the heart did that.
Nate is an outfitter. Those who want to explore the mountains, fish, or hunt, hire him to lead the way. Nate’s business supplies all the gear needed. Although Nate was supposed to be buying supplies for a fishing tour, none are found in the remains of the van, plus he’s back a day early. The more Mattie and the other officers learn, the more questions they have.
A 911 call comes in from a man who says he’s been shot near the creek. Before he’s able to give any more information, the line goes dead. Mattie and her K-9, Robo, start their search. The body is found, another obvious murder, but before officers can arrive on the scene, Robo reacts to a scent. It’s followed by a growl unlike what Mattie’s ever heard, different than a cougar, but what exactly?
Of course, personal lives need attention! too. Cole wants to help his injured friend, his kids need attention, his sister is visiting, and his parents matchmaking for him to marry Mattie. Her life is equally complicated with a secret about her childhood she wants to tell Cole.
This is book five in the series. I so enjoy reading about Robo, how he’s trained and works, the clues he’s able to detect. The partnership he has with Mattie is one human partners should envy. The developing romance between Cole and Mattie is moving at what would seem like a snail’s pace to most people, but it’s what they need.
There was one plot point that I figured out before the reveal, but the identity of the killer was a twist I didn’t see coming although it is the perfect answer. Full of suspense, I read this page turner in a matter of hours and will read it again. I recommend you do the same. Have snacks close by.
To enter to win a copy of both books, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “K-9 mysteries,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 1, 2020. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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