An ex-cop and his canine companion find adventure chasing criminals across the wilds of Dartmoor.
Lorry driver Daniel Whelan earned his 15 minutes of fame when his German Shepherd Taz, a retired police dog, tracked down a profoundly deaf toddler who had wandered away from her grandparents’ farm in Launceton. The Western Post’s article about the rescue brings a call from John Reynolds, who claims that his daughters Katya and Elena ran out onto the moor after a family squabble. Despite misgivings compounded by “Reynolds’s” foreign accent and his refusal to call Bristol Search and Rescue, Daniel manages to find Elena. Katya eludes him, but then turns up at Quarry Farm Racing Stables, owned by Daniel’s girlfriend Tamzin Ellis, despite her father’s assurance that the missing teen had returned home. Now Daniel—who once worked for the Bristol police but who left under unpleasant circumstances he reveals drop by drop, like water torture—is really suspicious. Before he can confront Katya, she bolts, but he catches up with her at Hilary McEwan’s pony-trekking center at Goat’s Tor. What Katya reveals convinces Daniel that something is very wrong with that household of young women Reynolds, actually a Romanian named Patrescu, runs at the edge of Dartmoor. Can he unearth Patrescu’s secret while fighting his ex-wife Amanda for custody of their son?
In spite of its male lead, this series opener from Stacey (Six to One Against, 2006, etc.) reads like Nancy Drew, with probes into what the creepy foreigners could possibly be up to vying for space with personal domestic drama.