A missing girl who turns up dead ignites the protective instincts, if not the soundest investigating instincts, of a cop with a K-9 partner.
When an emergency call from the Timber Creek police force interrupts Deputy Mattie Cobb during a therapy session, she’s all too happy to take the call and get to work. Being on the job with her police dog, Robo, gives Mattie a welcome sense of calm that makes her feel better about her past. Once she hears the details of the case, though, she’s more unsettled than ever. Mattie and Chief Deputy Ken Brody are called to investigate the disappearance of Candace Banks, a junior high school student who didn’t return home at the end of the day. Though Robo is instrumental in finding Candace, the team is too late, for whoever apparently abducted her has killed her. Shocked and horrified, Mattie finds herself talking things over with her friend town vet Cole Walker. Even though Mattie’s taken a step back from her friendship with Cole and his two young daughters, Sophie and Angela, she immediately worries how it will feel for him to hear about the murder of a girl his daughters’ age. Determined to find a suspect, she zeroes in on Gus Tilley, a bachelor from outside town who’s been showing up at Cole’s practice with alarming frequency. Does Gus’ anxious behavior hide a guilty conscience? Mattie feels certain she can find a connection between Gus and Candace’s murder, whether or not her colleagues agree. She becomes even more determined when Sophie goes missing.
After exploring her heroine’s history in Stalking Ground (2016), Mizushima presents a fresh mystery in which the heroine’s motivations may reveal even more about her background.