By: Margaret Mizushima
Published by: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: March 7, 2023
Reviewed by: Kathy Stickles
Review Date: February 28, 2023
In her new book, Standing Dead: A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery, author Margaret Mizushima has given readers the eighth installment of this wonderful series about Deputy Mattie Wray and her adorable canine partner, Robo. In this new book, the author has really outdone herself with her excellent characters. Standing Dead is a fabulous mystery that everyone, those who know the series as well as those who are just discovering it, will enjoy immensely.
This book starts out with Mattie and her sister Julia traveling to a small town in Mexico to find her mother. Unfortunately for them, when they arrive in the town they find out that their mother and her husband left town very quickly and no one knows why or where they have gone. It does not take long for Mattie to figure out that they are in danger and she has no idea how to find them or even if she will find them.
Returning home to Robo and her fiancée Cole, Mattie soon starts to receive threatening letters about her mother. In addition, on her first call after returning to work, she finds the body of her stepfather tied to a tree up in the mountains. After that the action comes through in page after page. Very quickly Cole, a veterinarian, also becomes involved in the case due to the poisoning of horses in the same area where the body is found. Now he has to worry about these animals as well as Mattie as the danger increases and some very serious suspects begin to emerge.
As is always the case with this author, Standing Dead, is extremely well-written and the characters in this small Colorado town are smart, interesting, and so very enjoyable to read. Ms. Mizushima’s skill at writing about police procedures, K-9 search techniques, veterinarian skills, and family relationships is unsurpassed. The main characters in the story are so very human and likeable that they seem real to the reader, which is one of the best things about the story. Robo is one of the standout characters in the book and seeing the solid team that he and Mattie make as well as seeing the love between them is simply wonderful.
There is a lot of family history making up the base of the plot and it is all explained in a way that ties the novel and series together in regards to what is happening and why. While the book can be read as a stand-alone, it would be very helpful to have read the first books in order to completely understand what is going on with all of the different family aspects as well as the relationships presented.
Standing Dead is truly an excellent novel with a great plotline, wonderful characters, perfectly written dialogue, and a gorgeous and very talented K-9. I would highly recommend this story to everyone. I, for one, cannot wait to see what Mattie, Robo, and the others get up to in their next story.
Quill says: Standing Dead is an outstanding book and a fabulous addition to this series. The author is a real treasure because she is able to give the reader wonderful relationships combined with so much actual procedural information and keep them meshed together in a way that is perfect.