Category Archives: A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery

Review: Striking Range by Margaret Mizushima

Title: Striking Range by Margaret Mizushima
A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery Book Seven
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 288 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


A deadly secret is buried in the Colorado high country–and murder is only the beginning in the seventh gripping installment of Margaret Mizushima’s Timber Creek K-9 mysteries.

He was suspect number one–the man who tried to kill Deputy Mattie Cobb and may have killed her father thirty years earlier. But when Mattie and cold case detective Jim Hauck reach the Colorado state prison where they will finally get to interview him, he’s found dead in his cell. There’s only one clue: a map leading to Timber Creek and rugged Redstone Ridge.

Though she usually works with veterinarian Cole Walker, Mattie’s K-9 partner Robo has just sired a litter of pups, who require special, time-consuming care at Cole’s clinic. Left to explore the map’s clue without him, Mattie and Robo journey into the burned forest surrounding Redstone Ridge. But before they can finish their search they’re called to help investigate the death of a young woman found in a campground filled with elk hunters. Identification of the deceased points to her having recently given birth, but the infant is nowhere to be found.

As a deadly storm descends upon the mountains, covering everything with a layer of ice and snow, Mattie and her team search for the missing newborn. The storm batters the area, taking its toll on the team and forcing the sheriff to call in reinforcements. When new evidence surfaces, they decide that finding the woman’s killer will lead them to her baby, making them even more desperate to solve the case.

Then Cole goes missing, stranded alone in the high country with a person that Mattie now suspects is the mastermind behind several murders, including her father’s. She and Robo take to the trail to find Cole–but the killer has a cold-blooded plan that threatens them all.


Striking Range by Margaret Mizushima is a riveting mystery that takes place in rural Colorado. Although this newest release is the seventh installment in the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series, it can be read as a standalone.

Hoping to finally solve her father’s murder, K-9 Deputy Mattie Cobb teams up with San Diego cold case Detective Jim Hauck to question prisoner John Cobb. But when they arrive at the prison, they discover he died that morning. Disappointed, Mattie and her K-9 partner Robo head back to Timber Creek to gear up to follow the only lead they find in his cell. Jim joins them as they return to Redstone Ridge where they search the cave where John held her prisoner. Robo leads them to a surprising discovery along with other possible crime scenes. Before they can finish their hunt for more evidence, Mattie joins the investigation when a body is found at a local campground.

After a long night without much sleep, Mattie and Detective Stella LoSasso work together on the current case.  They are not making much progress but Stella discovers information that is absolutely chilling. They also locate the victim’s car which partially solves a troubling incident but also leads to more questions. Tirelessly tracking down each new lead, Mattie, Stella and Robo find an unlikely suspect who gives them valuable new evidence. But will they find their new suspect before someone that Mattie loves finds themselves in a dangerous situation?

Striking Range is a fast-moving mystery with a captivating storyline and atmospheric setting. Mattie is a dedicated deputy who will not rest until this latest case is resolved. Her relationship with local veterinarian Cole Walker continues to evolve and he remains an integral part of the volunteer force. Mattie’s friendship with Stella deepens as they work together on the current case. The continuing story arc about Mattie’s past simmers in the background as she puts all her effort into their current investigation. With a shocking plot twist, Margaret Mizushima brings this latest addition to the fantastic Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series to a nerve-wracking conclusion.

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Filed under A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery, Contemporary, Crooked Lane Books, Margaret Mizushima, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Striking Range, Suspense

Review: Killing Trail by Margaret Mizushima

killing trailTitle: Killing Trail by Margaret Mizushima
A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery Book One
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher



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.


With Killing Trail, Margaret Mizushima’s Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series is off to strong beginning. Starring an intrepid and appealing crime fighting duo, this debut police procedural is a suspense-laden murder mystery that I highly recommend to fans of the genre.

Deputy Mattie Cobb’s first case with her new K-9 partner, Robo, is particularly heart wrenching. The teenage victim, Grace Hartman, is well-liked and has never been in trouble, leaving everyone mystified as to why anyone would want to kill her. While she has just completed twelve weeks of training as a K-9 handler, Mattie is a veteran of the small town police department and she is determined to bring Grace’s killer to justice.

Mattie is an excellent police officer who is more comfortable with murder than her emotions. She is bit prickly and although she is immensely likable, she tends to be a loner. In her early thirties, Mattie relates well to children but she is reluctant to form friendships and she shies away from romantic entanglements. Growing up in a series of foster homes, she went through a rebellious period as a teen but she managed to turn her life before getting into too much trouble.  No matter how far she has come from her troubled childhood, Mattie still carries residual guilt for her role in the events that tore her family apart.

The first stop on Mattie’s investigation is local veterinarian Cole Walker. Grace’s dog, Belle, was discovered alongside her body and the canine is in need of treatment for a bullet wound in her leg. While caring for her, Cole makes a startling discovery about Belle that points the investigation in a very unexpected direction. This information coupled with a vital clue from Cole’s oldest daughter, Angela, leads Mattie to search for Mike Chadron, a local dog breeder who has been missing since Grace’s body was discovered. What, if anything, does Mike have to do with Grace’s murder? Wanting the answer to this question, Mattie’s search for the missing man leads to yet another dead body. The investigation takes a few more unexpected twists as she follows the evidence and her suspicions turn to someone much closer to home.

Killing Trail is a spellbinding police procedural with a marvelous cast of eclectic yet engaging characters. The novel is fast-paced with a unique and intriguing mystery. The investigation is quite interesting and Margaret Mizushima skillfully keeps readers guessing whodunit through a series of misdirects and a very clever red herring. An excellent debut that will leave fans impatiently awaiting the next installment of the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series.

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