Hunting Hour (Timber Creek K-9 Mystery #3) by Margaret Mizushima
Published August 8th 2017 by Crooked Lane Books
Candace Banks is a sexually promiscuous young lady, particularly popular with the highschool boys. When she doesn’t come home after school her mother panics as she suffers from asthma and has left her inhalers at home. Worried that she has had an attack and is unable to get home, Deputy Mattie Cobb and her partner, K-9 Robo, are called in to try to find her. They do, on a hill behind the high school, hidden under a bush lying on her back, hands folded on her chest, eyes closed, red abrasions on her face, broken fingernails, and blue lips. Was this an asthma attack or something else that killed Candace? When it is determined is is a homicide, Mattie, Robo and Stella are on the case. When another young girl goes missing shortly after, it hits close to home as it is Sophie, Cole’s daughter, the young girl that is close to a daughter to Mattie.
I am really enjoying this series. Mattie and Robo are like one main character. Robo has skills that stand him apart from other K-9 officers. He is able to find cadavers, locate drugs, track a scent and even air scent. All but one of these skills help in this book. I enjoy learning about the training and developing relationship between these partners. Mattie is smart, driven, yet caring with some flaws caused by some things in her background. She is working on her baggage and we are getting to know more about her with every book. I am enjoying the relationship between Cole and Mattie. There is some tension there caused by their developing relationship, but it is moving slowly and has its ups and downs. Her secondary characters are also becoming more developed with Chief McCoy and Detective Stella LaSasso playing a larger role in this story.
Margaret Mizushima has written a well-plotted police procedural with a great mystery to solve. There are a lot of possibilities, clues and twists in this book that had me highly invested in the story. I felt for the older man in the story who appeared to have some mental health issues and Maggie’s reaction to him reminded me too much of how mental health patients are often treated by others. I liked how she wove in this storyline to bring awareness to this issue. My one niggle with this book was the ending. I felt it was a bit of a let down from the intensity of the search and story up to that point. Having said that, it was a good story and I love seeing Mattie and Robo work together to solve another series of crimes in Timber Creek. I look forward to seeing Mattie and Robo continue to solve crimes in Timber Creek while Mattie becomes a more trusting and loving person who develops strong and lasting relationships with others in her life.
Synopsis: Deputy Mattie Cobb is working through issues from her past and has withdrawn from Cole Walker and his family to focus on herself, when she and her K-9 partner Robo get called to track a missing junior high student. Until they find the girl on Smoker’s Hill behind the high school, dead. But that’s only the start of trouble in Timber Creek, because soon another girl goes missing–and this time it’s Sophie Walker. Hard as they search, Cole, Mattie, and Robo can’t find her anywhere. Mattie’s primary suspect, a strange man who lives near the wilderness area, calls to report he hears deer “screaming” in the woods. Suspecting the man might have lost touch with reality and be referring to something he’s done to Sophie, Mattie takes Robo into the dense pine forest, hoping to pick up a trace of her scent. But when Robo does catch Sophie’s trail, it leads them to another clue that challenges everything they thought they knew about the case. Now Mattie and Robo must rush to hunt down Sophie’s kidnapper before they’re too late in Hunting Hour, the third installment in critically acclaimed author Margaret Mizushima’s exhilarating mystery series.
About the Author: Margaret Mizushima is the author of the award-winning and internationally published Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries. Active within the writing community, Margaret serves on the board for the Rocky Mountain chapter of Mystery Writers of America and was elected the 2019-2020 Writer of the Year by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She lives in Colorado on a small ranch with her veterinarian husband where they raised two daughters and a multitude of animals. She can be found on Facebook. Twitter, on Instagram at margmizu, and on her website at www.margaretmizushima.com.