A retired military police officer and her adopted bomb-sniffing Belgian Malinois seek a new lease on life in rural Vermont.
Following the death of Sgt. Martinez, her dog-handler fiance, in Afghanistan, Mercy Carr and Elvis, Martinez’s dog, have moved back to Vermont to recover from their physical and psychological wounds. During a hike in the woods, they find a recently abandoned baby. Seeking help, they meet Game Warden Troy Warner and Susie Bear, his enormous Newfoundland-retriever mix. The chance discovery will lead to murder, mayhem, and romance. Mercy has marked off the area because Elvis acted suspicious even before his find. When the authorities check the spot, they find human bones, a skull with a bullet in it, and a handmade belt buckle that might help identify the remains. The baby’s mother, Amy Walker, sneaks into the hospital and steals her baby, then turns up at Mercy’s house. Her home life with an abusive stepfather has kept her on the run while Adam, the artist and activist who’s the baby’s father, has forced them to live off the grid. Mercy wants to help Amy keep her baby, but when she finds the stepfather murdered, things look bad for Amy, especially in the eyes of self-aggrandizing State Police Detective Kai Harrington, who, unimpressed by Mercy or Troy Warner, warns them off the case. The bones that alerted Elvis are most likely those of local troublemaker Wayne Herbert, whose mother and brothers are still enmeshed in many illegal enterprises. Determined to tackle Amy’s problems and the possibly related case of Herbert, Mercy puts herself and Elvis in danger as they continue to hunt up clues with the help of a reluctant Troy, Susie Bear, and Mercy’s grandmother, a well-loved veterinarian with many helpful contacts.
A promising new series from a dog lover (Fixing Freddie: A True Story About a Boy, a Single Mom, and the Very Bad Beagle Who Saved Them, 2010, etc.) who naturally features several dogs as detective partners.