This is the fourth in the Timber Creek K-9 series featuring Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner Robo, but you absolutely don’t need to have read the others to dive right in here. While references are made to events which were obviously detailed in past books, there is little which seems to outright affect the plot of this one, apart from Mattie already having a relationship with Cole, the local vet.
It’s Cole who, when out on a trail ride with his daughters, makes a grisly discovery of human remains up in a lonely spot in the mountains, and Mattie and Robo are then called in to assist with investigating the crime. Things very quickly become personal, and when more bodies are found, it appears evident that someone is more than willing to cross unthinkable lines in pursuit of their goals. A personal connection puts Mattie and Robo squarely in the killer’s crosshairs.
I really enjoyed the relationships between the characters in this story; Mattie’s friendship with the lonely teenage girl who latches onto her was a favourite part and I’d enjoy seeing more of Riley in future books. As a romance reader, I’d have wished for a little more than just talk between Mattie and Cole, however.
The author has extensive experience with veterinary medicine and lives in Colorado, and this shines through in the story, a firm bedrock of knowledge. The police investigation felt real and there were plenty of red herrings to keep the reader from figuring out who the culprit was until it was time for the big reveal (though naggingly, a couple of plot points weren’t neatly tied off). The only other thing which bothered me was the apparent speed with which people loaded horses up, transported them around and then had them ready for long mountain rides. I have extensive experience with horses myself, and things never seemed to happen at quite that speed.
Four stars for an engaging, realistic story with well-written characters, but I have to knock one off for those untied loose ends and what was really a romance in name only.
Burning Ridge is available now.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.