An officer must learn to trust her K-9 partner when their small town is plagued by a shocking crime.
Even though she’s not the kind of woman to get close to others, especially not males, Deputy Mattie Lu Cobb likes everything about her newest partner. Maybe it’s their intense three months of training together or the fact that she beat out Chief Deputy Ken Brody for the chance to work with him, but the fact that Robo’s a 90-pound drug-sniffing dog might be what makes him the best partner she’s ever had. Mattie’s proud to be part of the first K-9 unit in Timber Creek, an honor that’s a far cry from her humble roots. On her first trip out with Robo, she plans to introduce him at the local school when the two are diverted by a call about a disturbing discovery in the woods. Nobody likes pools of blood, but Mattie’s glad for the chance to prove her skills to the rest of the department. In their training, Mattie had trouble learning to trust Robo; she knows she has to follow his nose, not her ideas about what might have happened. In the woods, Robo leads Mattie to another dog. Deputy Brody laughs that all Robo’s done is found a friend, but the other dog turns out to be guarding a shallow grave and may have more secrets to share. Local vet Cole Walker identifies the dog as Belle, a dog that belongs to one of his daughter’s school friends. Relying on her partner and her own investigative skills, Mattie tries to understand who would want to kill Belle’s owner and how the murder may be connected to rumors of local drug smuggling or worse.
This series kickoff, the solo debut for Mizushima (Crossing Colfax: Short Stories by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, 2014), reveals just enough about ancillary characters to suggest untapped opportunities while fleshing out solid backgrounds to make a cozy cozy.