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by Margaret Mizushima
Crooked Lane Books, September 2018
280 pages
ISBN: 1683317785

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Cole Walker takes his daughters on a trail ride along a rugged mountain ridge. While stopped to eat and enjoy the view, the younger daughter finds a boot with a burned foot in it. Walker picks up the foot with a trash bag to turn into the sheriff and starts back down the ridge to call authorities. He notices an unfamiliar horse trailer at the start point of the trail - a fact he plans to investigate. Walker's girlfriend, K- 9 officer Mattie Cobb is called to the scene. Walker accompanies her back up to show her where the boot was found. As things turn out, the foot in the boot was just the beginning of the horrors on the ridge. Unfortunately, the discoveries soon lead directly to Mattie's past.

BURNING RIDGE is the fourth book in the series with Mattie Cobb and her canine partner Robo. Although often books with dogs, even working dogs, fall under the cozy umbrella, this series does not. These are pretty straight forward police procedurals. Robo is a great dog, but he has a job to do and is treated as such. Wonderful as Robo is, and he will surely be readers' favorite character, he is not a "cute" dog. Robo is all business.

Another point readers need to be aware of is that this book has grit. There are burned bodies and a subplot of domestic violence in Mattie's past that caused her to lose touch with her brother, Willie, when they were placed in foster care.

Because of her own shaky background, Mattie reaches out to befriend Riley, the neighbor girl who has recently moved to town. Her mother died recently and her father seems to be constantly busy, leaving a very needy and lonely girl to find her own way. But are they quite what they seem to be?

I have read two of the previous books in the series, but honestly, each book does stand on its own. There is enough of Mattie and Cole's history given through what is happening so that readers will not feel lost, though after reading one of the books, readers will probably seek out the other three.

Caryn St.Clair resides in University City, Missouri and is a former elementary school media specialist, President of the Parks Commission and a docent at the St.Louis Zoo.

Reviewed by Caryn St Clair, September 2018

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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