Book Review: Hanging Falls by Margaret Mizushima @margmizu @crookedlanebks

Hanging Falls
A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery #6
Margaret Mizushima
Crooked Lane Books, September 2020
ISBN 978-1-64385-445-8

While hiking in the mountains, Deputy Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner Robo discover a man’s body floating in a lake. They soon find the body, once buried, has washed downhill due to the heavy rains plaguing the Colorado high country. While searching for clues to the man’s identity, they spot someone watching them and take him in as a suspect. Forced to let him go, as there doesn’t seem to be a connection between him and the dead man, in a matter of hours the suspect also ends up dead, hanging from a tall woodland tree. Investigation leads Mattie, Robo, and the police department to a group of religious adherents of what appears to be plural marriage.

This is the first of Mizushima’s Timber Creek mysteries that I’ve read, and it’s certainly not the last. This is the sixth book in the series, and I intend to go back for the earlier stories and catch up with Mattie’s previous adventures. Besides, I want to learn how she and Robo became partners. Then there’s her love life with veterinarian Cole Walker, and her interaction with the other LEO’s at their station. All are interesting and play important parts in the story arc.

As a plus, a great deal of the action happens in the mountains of Colorado, and we interact with wildlife, and the great outdoors.

Plus, Mattie was kidnapped, then abandoned by her mother when she was only two years old. She’s recently had a DNA test done and found some possible close relatives. What’s going to happen with that? It all adds to a well-rounded story with a good mystery, one sure to stir your blood. Besides, I’m a sucker for stories where dogs play a part. Definitely recommended reading.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, December 2020.
Author of The Woman Who Built A Bridge (Spur Award Winner), Yester’s Ride,
Hometown Burning and Six Dancing Damsels: A China Bohannon Novel

Book Review: Nazareth Child by Darrell James

Nazareth Child
Darrell James
Midnight Ink, September 2011
ISBN 978-0-7387-2369-3
Trade Paperback

A young woman searching for her mother. A federal agent down on his luck. A religious ‘healer’ overseeing his own community. That’s the premise of James’ first novel. Mostly set in Kentucky, the story is a search for answers and a time of self discovery, all within the framework of a low key thriller.

Bond server Del Shannon is recruited to go undercover with ATFE agent Frank Falconet to find a missing FBI agent at a religious compound in the rural Kentucky town of Nazareth Church. Coincidentally, this assignment is the closest lead she’s had in her quest to find her mother. Working against a charismatic and powerful messianic leader in one Silas Rule, Shannon and Falconet attempt to ferret out the secrets of the isolated town and it’s almost hypnotized population.

The story moves along on a fairly even pace with lots of set up to a predictable explosive climax. James has some interesting characters easily believable if you saw them on the evening news. A fine first effort in what could be an interesting series.

Reviewed by Stephen L. Brayton, August 2011.