Category Archives: Timber Creek K-9 Mystery Series

Review: Hunting Hour by Margaret Mizushima

Title: Hunting Hour by Margaret Mizushima
Timber Creek K-9 Mystery Series Book Three
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Deputy Mattie Cobb is in a dark place and has withdrawn from Cole Walker and his family to work on issues from her past. When she and her K-9 partner Robo get called to track a missing junior high student, they find the girl dead on Smoker’s Hill behind the high school, and Mattie must head to the Walker home to break the bad news. But that’s only the start of trouble in Timber Creek, because soon another girl goes missing—and this time it’s one of Cole’s daughters.

Knowing that each hour a child remains missing lessens the probability of finding her alive, Mattie and Robo lead the hunt while Cole and community volunteers join in to search everywhere. To no avail. It seems that someone has snatched all trace of the Walker girl from their midst, including her scent. Grasping at straws, Mattie and Robo follow a phoned-in tip into the dense forest, where they hope to find a trace of the girl’s scent and to rescue her alive. But when Robo does catch her scent, it leads them to information that challenges everything they thought they knew about the case.

Mattie and Robo must rush to hunt down the kidnapper before they’re too late in Hunting Hour, the third installment in critically acclaimed author Margaret Mizushima’s exhilarating mystery series.


In Hunting Hour, the discovery of a missing teen’s lifeless body has a rather profound effect on K-9 handler Deputy Mattie Cobb. Although this latest release is the third installment in Margaret Mizushima’s Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series, it can easily be read as a standalone (but I highly recommend the entire series).

Mattie is still trying to work through the deep-seated and extremely troubling issues from her highly dysfunctional and abusive childhood when her search for missing thirteen year old Candace Banks ends in tragedy. The subsequent investigation uncovers startling information that makes Mattie suspicious that the girl’s father, Burt, might have been molesting his daughter. Although there is no evidence to substantiate her theory, inconsistencies in his alibi definitely make him a person of interest in the case. The investigation into Candace’s death is barely underway when Mattie’s friend, local veterinarian Cole Walker’s youngest daughter is kidnapped.  Certain the two cases are linked, Mattie, Chief Deputy Ken Brody and Detective Stella LoSasso begin a frantic search to locate eight year old Sophie before it is too late.

In recent months, Mattie has distanced herself from Cole, his daughters and her co-workers as she undergoes therapy in an effort to come to terms with her traumatic past. With these terrible memories fresh in her mind, she is exhausted and emotionally battered as she and her canine partner Robo begin searching for Candace. After finding the young girl’s body, Mattie and the team soon discover somewhat unsavory and very unexpected information about the young teenager and Mattie’s childhood experiences lead her to a very troubling conclusion. Since Stella is the only person with any knowledge of the demons that are haunting Mattie, she gently, but diligently, cautions her to try not to let her past cloud her judgment and maintain her focus on the evidence they are uncovering.

Despite Mattie’s unsettling suspicions, there are other viable suspects who have valid reasons for harming Candace. Several members of the high school football team are brought in for questioning but is one of the young men Candace’s killer? After Sophie’s disappearance, suspicion then falls on Gus Tilley, one of Cole’s clients whose out of character behavior in recent days moves him to the top of the suspect list. Mattie and the rest of the Sheriff’s office are also frantically searching for a recently paroled pedophile who has been spotted in Timber Creek, but their efforts have thus far yielded few results.

With an engrossing storyline and an intriguing mystery to solve, Hunting Hour is a riveting police procedural that is incredibly suspenseful. Mattie is a deeply flawed yet immensely appealing protagonist who is gradually making progress with coming to terms with her past. Cole is a wonderful possible love interest but he is also carrying emotional baggage that leaves Mattie doubtful he is ready for a new relationship. The investigation into Candace’s death and Sophie’s disappearance is fast-paced and without a discernible motive for either crime, Mattie, Robo and the Sheriff’s department are faced with an almost daunting task as they ramp up their search for answers. Margaret Mizushima continues to keep the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series fresh with the addition of new characters, evolving relationships between Mattie and her co-workers and perplexing mysteries. This newest addition to this phenomenal series is sure to be a hit with loyal followers and readers who are just now discovering this fantastic crime fighting duo.

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Filed under Contemporary, Crooked Lane Books, Margaret Mizushima, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Timber Creek K-9 Mystery Series

Review: Stalking Ground by Margaret Mizushima

Title: Stalking Ground by Margaret Mizushima
Timber Creek K-9 Mystery Series Book Two
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


When Deputy Ken Brody’s sweetheart goes missing in the mountains outside Timber Creek, Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner Robo are called to search. But it’s mid-October and a dark snow storm is brewing over the high country. And they’re already too late. By the time they find her body, the storm has broken and the snow is coming down hard.

While Brody hikes down to bring back the forensics team and veterinarian Cole Walker gathers supplies to protect them from the storm, Mattie and Robo find themselves alone, guarding the gravesite overnight in the dead of the early winter. And that’s only the first long, dark night in a series of them, because as their investigation develops, Mattie, Robo, Brody, and Cole find themselves in the middle of the killer’s stalking ground–where the hunters have just become the hunted.

An effortlessly engrossing read filled with tension, excitement, and heart, Stalking Ground, the second in Margaret Mizushima’s lauded debut series, will send a chill down every reader’s spine.


Stalking Ground by Margaret Mizushima is another perplexing mystery in the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series starring Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner, Robo.

In this second installment in the series, Mattie and Robo are tasked with the unenviable job of trying to locate Chief Deputy Ken Brody’s missing girlfriend, massage therapist Adrienne Howard.  Although Adrienne has not be gone for very long, Brody is certain she is the victim of foul play but Mattie cannot help but wonder if she has just left.  When the missing woman’s car is found, Mattie and Robo try to track her but when Robo cannot find a trace of Adrienne, Mattie fears the worst.  After receiving an anonymous tip,  Mattie, Robo and Brody are faced with the grim task of searching for Adrienne’s body in a remote mountainous area.  When they uncover her remains, Mattie sends Brody to bring in the rest of the investigative team while she and Robo guard the burial site and gather evidence.  When an early snowstorm hits, local veterinarian Cole Walker, who is also a member of the volunteer mounted patrol, brings them much needed supplies to endure the storm.  The next day, Mattie and Robo once again team up with Detective Stella LoSasso as the investigation into Adrienne’s murder begins.

While Mattie still relates better to her canine partner than people, she is making progress with her co-workers and friends.  She enjoys spending time with Cole and his daughters, fifteen year old Angela and eight year old Sophie, but she is little uneasy about some of the feelings she has for Cole.  She has a casual friendship with her co-worker, Rainbow but Mattie still remains close to her former foster mother Teresa “Mama T” Lovato.  Mattie is estranged from her brother Willie but in recent months, he has been tentatively reaching out to her through Mama T.  When he finally works up the courage to call her, she is at first happy to hear from him, but an unexpected revelation brings up unsettling pieces of memories Mattie would rather leave buried.

Mattie’s professional relationship with Brody is much less contentious but he remains skeptical of Robo’s skills and although she thinks he is too close to the case, she agrees to work with him.  In the aftermath of their gruesome discovery, Brody goes back to regular patrol duties while Mattie and Stella spearhead the investigation.  They discover some puzzling information about Adrienne’s past but with few leads, they are not making much progress in locating a suspect or uncovering a motive for her murder.

Cole has a professional connection to Adrienne but unfortunately, he is not much help during the investigation.  He has a lot going on both professionally and personally so his interactions with Mattie are somewhat limited.  She does offer some useful advice for his ongoing issues with his oldest daughter Angela, who is still having troubling adjusting to her mom’s abandonment and her parents’ divorce.  In the midst of the upheaval at home, Cole is spending quite a bit of time on the road as he travels to an isolated ranch to treat an extremely ill horse.  Growing concerned over the lack of progress and some very puzzling symptoms and test results, Cole is stunned when he finally learns the truth about the cause of horse’s illness.

Stalking Ground by Margaret Mizushima is a gripping addition to the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series.  The characters are immensely appealing and they continue to grow and evolve as they work on their individual issues.  The mystery surrounding Adrienne’s murder is quite intriguing and while it is fairly easy to guess who the killer is, the perpetrator’s motive remains elusive until the novel’s rather dramatic conclusion.  A well-written and engaging whodunit that old and new fans of this refreshingly unique series are going to enjoy.

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Filed under Contemporary, Crooked Lane Books, Margaret Mizushima, Mystery, Rated B, Review, Stalking Ground, Timber Creek K-9 Mystery Series