By: Margaret Mizushima
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publicatino Date: November 2019
Reviewed by: Gina Montanha
Review Date: November 29, 2019
Deputy Mattie Cobb and her date, Cole Walker, are enjoying the Celebration of Summer dance in their small town of Timber Creek. Just when they are getting quite cozy, an explosive boom nearby calls them away from their rendezvous. They discover a burning van and the dead body of local outfitter Nate Fletcher. As if that wasn’t gruesome enough, further investigation reveals the true cause of death to be gunshot wounds. To make matters worse, Cole’s best friend Garrett Hartman had tried to rescue Nate and his life was now hanging by a thread.
Timber Creek may be a small town, but there’s no shortage of murder suspects here. Nate was married to Kasey Redman, whose parents owned a great deal of land in town - land that they may be in danger of losing. Kasey’s protective brother Tyler was never fond of Nate and her friend Wilson Nichol has been carrying a torch for Kasey since childhood. Then there’s the suspicious pair of men from out-of-town, who were supposed to go on a hunting trip with Nate the very weekend he turned up dead.
As Mattie and her best friend and canine partner Robo further examine the details surrounding Nate’s death, they uncover more than they bargained for. Before they’re able to make too much headway on the case, another man gets shot. But when Mattie and Robo rush out to the scene, they are threatened by a dangerous and menacing animal.
At the core of this murder mystery are two beautiful relationships. The first one is between a couple whose friendship blossoms into a beautiful romance. Both Mattie and Cole have complicated pasts, but they discover it’s worth the effort to help each other manage their pain and regrets. Then there’s the sweet, yet stern connection between Mattie and Robo, a master and her highly skilled police dog, each of who are willing to give their lives to protect the other.
I really enjoyed trying to solve the crimes in Tracking Game, only to find out I had been duped. Very clever plot twists kept my interest and were sure to surprise me in the end. As an animal lover, I truly appreciated the canine characters that were intertwined in the story and the human connections they shared. The author has an obvious knowledge and understanding of these bonds.
Quill says: Tracking Game is stimulating & exciting, keeping you guessing at every turn. That combined with the tender moments shared between man, woman and dog, make this a very well-rounded mystery indeed!