Crooked Lane Books (2021)
Reviewed by Jen Oliver-Rigsby for Reader Views (10/2021)
“Striking Range,” number 7 of the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery Series by Margaret Mizushima, picks up exactly where “Hanging Falls” ended.
Deputy Maggie Cobb and her K-9 partner, Robo, are trying to find out the truth behind her father’s death and get caught up in trying to solve the murder of a dead formerly pregnant woman and that woman’s newborn. Meanwhile, the other half of the Timber Creek police department are trying to figure out what other secrets John Cobb, Maggie’s former kidnapper, had buried in the forest. Will these two mysteries eventually overlap or are they truly separate investigations? Can Maggie overcome the trauma from being kidnapped in order to solve the mystery of the murdered formally pregnant woman?
The two mysteries within “Striking Range” are well developed and are balanced throughout the book. Mizushima does a great job of showing progress with both cases and how both affect the members of Timber Creek. There are plenty of suspects in who killed the formally pregnant woman and where the newborn is, if the baby was still alive. Searching for John Cobb’s secrets includes multiple different type of canine investigators which adds to importance of these dogs. Maggie’s character continues to be well developed and readers should be able to relate to her in some aspect. Not as much personal insight is done with Maggie’s character as in previous books, but it also is not needed if you have read the other books.
I would recommend that readers start with the beginning of the series, only so a reader can truly understand Maggie and her relationship with Robo, Cole (her veterinarian boyfriend) and other members of the Timber Creek community. Since “Striking Range” does not delve deep into Maggie’s character, this adds to my recommendation of reading the previous books.
Even though this is under 300 pages, I made this last as long as I could. It is one of the books where I want to read it in one sitting but want to make it last. The pace is quick and I had to force myself to stop only to make it last just that one more day. I feel that way about all of the Timber Creek K-9 mysteries. Highly recommend if you’re a cozy mystery or just a mystery fan in general.