by Margaret Mizushima
Striking Range is one of those books that can not be tidily put in a box with a label. It is a police procedural as the reader gets to see law enforcement, federal, state, and local, at work. It is a K-9 mystery, a who-dun-it where Deputy Mattie Cobb shares the limelight with K-9 officer Robo. He is her buddy and she is his handler; they look out for each other. Watching Robo’s skills is fascinating. This book has enough suspenseful action and danger that it is also a thriller.
The plot is quite involved as Mattie is reviving a thirty year old cold case of the murder of her biological father. Was he a dirty cop? There seems to be only one person alive who knows the truth. He is the same evil man who tried to kill Mattie, but in her determination to find justice for her father, she visits him in a Colorado state prison.
Another thread in the plot is the discovery of the body of a young girl. Only the day before, she was pregnant. What happened to the baby? Why would someone kill the baby? How does fentanyl keep tying into this mystery?
Cole, Mattie’s boyfriend, is a veterinarian and is active in the sheriff’s posse. He plays a prominent role in this story, and there are also a number of kids who figure strongly into the plot.
There are many suspects to sort through. Although I had guessed the motive from a number of reasonable possibilities, the identity of the murderer was a surprise. Complications to solving this crime keep adding up and weather conditions in the rural setting don’t help. Author Margaret Mizushima is a talented writer with descriptions that put you at the scene and let you experience the emotions of the characters. This series is my favorite K-9 series. I have happily read all of the published books in the series and am looking forward to the next one.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Notes: 1. #6 in the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery Series. Although the characters continue from one book to the next, it would be excellent as a standalone as the author includes background information as needed.
2. It has a few instances of swearing, but no sex.
Publication: September 7, 2021—Crooked Lane Books
Getting the kids ready for school each morning before he hurried off to work was like lining up horses at the gate before a race—everyone wanted to run off in a different direction, and sometimes someone balked at going anywhere.
Narcan reversed the effects of opiates such as fentanyl, one of the street drugs most dangerous to narcotics detection dogs. It saved the lives of dogs, their handlers, and even addicts after accidental exposure or overdose. Nowadays K-9 officers carried two doses, one for their dog and one for themselves.
Always a sporty dresser, he straightened his bow tie, which was lime green with yellow polka dots, a cheerful addition that conflicted with the lines of fatigue on his face.