Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Source: pr firm in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: September 13th, 2016
Challenges: NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | OmniLit* | iTunes | Barnes & Noble
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Blurb from goodreads:
When Deputy Ken Brody's sweetheart goes missing in the mountains outside Timber Creek, Mattie Cobb and 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--with no way out unless they can catch a predator more deadly than any natural threat.
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.
Mizushima blends family drama, police procedural work, and horse racing. I appreciated the fact that Mizushima did her homework and got her racing facts correct. I recently read a mystery where it was painfully obvious that the author knew nothing about horse racing so thank you Ms. Mizushima.
Although "Stalking Ground" is the second book in a series, it worked fine as a stand alone. I do wish I had read the first book just so I could better appreciate the nuances but it's not necessary. Mattie loves her work and her canine partner Robo. She relates better to Robo than she does to most humans. She gets a life-changing revelation from her brother during the story and it hits her hard. At the same time, she's dealing with feelings for local veterinarian Cole Walker. Cole is dealing with a divorce and being the primary caregiver for two daughters. His story line is the one with the race horses. He provides some assistance to Mattie and the other police as they search for the missing woman Adrienne and then the search for her killer.
The first part of the story, despite beginning with a missing person, is slow as Mizushima lays the foundation for the story. There's a lot happening but the action is near the end of the story. The first half or so is extensive police procedural, and family relationships. It's hard-hitting and painful at times, but oh so authentic. Slowly the story picks up until the story lines intersect and the villain begins their hunt. I read a review where the writer said the book couldn't be accused of gritty realism, which made me raise my eyebrows because I had the opposite reaction; I thought the story was both gritty and realistic.
"Stalking Ground" drew me in with it's mix of mystery, procedure, character development, and setting. It was layered, rich, clever, and twisty. Late in the story I guessed the killer's identity but it was pretty obvious by then. Mizushima kept me guessing. I'm looking forward to reading more in the series.