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K-9 Cozy Mystery Police Procedural
BY KATHLEEN DONNELLY
A former marine learns to love again in this suspenseful, action-packed K-9 search and rescue from debut author Kathleen Donnelly.
After losing her military K-9, former marine Maya Thompson swears she’ll never work with dogs again. But when she returns home to Colorado and accepts a job with US Forest Service law enforcement, fate brings K-9 Juniper into her life just as another tragedy unfolds.
Juniper, a beautiful two-year-old Malinois, isn’t the only new addition to Maya’s life. Josh Colten, the local deputy sheriff, insists on helping with her new case. Handsome and mysterious, he’s all anyone in town can talk about, but Maya can’t let herself like him, let alone trust him.
When Maya’s grandfather goes missing amid a growing drug war, Maya must put her faith in Josh, and her own battered instincts, to find him. But there’s a web of secrets tying her grandfather to the tragedy that brought Juniper into her life—secrets someone would kill to keep hidden.
Thanks so much for having me as a guest today, Karen! I’m excited to connect with readers and provide this excerpt from Chasing Justice.
Pino Grande National Forest—June
A black truck with an old camper shell whipped around a switchback in the distance. Driving too fast for the dirt road, the vehicle fishtailed on the washboards. A plume of dust swirled behind it.
Maya Thompson, a U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement officer in training, sat in the passenger seat of the patrol Tahoe studying the truck speeding their way and debating if the driver might lose control. Her FTO, or field training officer, Doug Leyton, didn’t seem bothered about the vehicle careening toward them.
As the truck flew by, it kicked up a rock that smacked the windshield and bounced off onto the dirt road. Maya startled, but Doug’s hands sat steady on the steering wheel, completely unfazed while her heart pounded. Nothing about rocks hitting windshields or trucks passing on dirt roads had been the same since returning home from Afghanistan.
Give it some time, everyone said.
Time healed everything.
Maya took a deep breath and pulled her long red hair back in a ponytail, securing it with a hair band. “How far out are we?”
Doug shrugged. “Maybe another five minutes.”
In the back of the SUV, Juniper lay on the seat specially designed for K-9s, with rubber mats and a vent for air-conditioning or heat depending on the time of year. With her eyes closed, the Malinois rode with the relaxation of an experienced veteran, despite being two years old and new to the job. A black fur mask crossed her face, mixed with a light brown coat over the rest of her body. A white spot splotched her chest.
Juniper opened one golden eye, then closed it again, the picture of contentment.
“Wish I could chill like that,” Maya said.
“Me too. Although she’s not always like that at home. When she’s not working, she can be difficult.” Doug glanced at Maya. “How’ve you been doing?”
“No, I mean, how are you really doing? You can tell me. I’m your best friend, right?”
“Seriously, I’m fine. There’s no need to worry about me.”
Maya turned her head to watch the trees passing by in a blur—a mixture of green and brown from the pine beetle kill over the last few years. The pine beetle was about the size of a grain of rice and native to Colorado. The beetle infestation had impacted over 3.4 million acres of forest. The trees had been dying before Maya left to join the military, but at that time, the damage wasn’t as widespread. Now she was back and the beautiful, lush forests she loved so much were partially dead, with trees cut up into slash piles waiting for winter snow to burn. The forest looked like Maya felt inside.
Award-winning author Kathleen Donnelly is a K-9 handler for Sherlock Hounds Detection Canines—a private narcotics dog company. She enjoys using her K-9 experience to craft realism into her fictional stories. Along with working dogs, Kathleen loves horses. She owns two horses and a bossy, yet adorable pony. Kathleen’s love of the mountains inspired her setting for Chasing Justice.
She enjoys escaping to the high country to hike and photograph the scenery and wildlife. Kathleen has a B.A. in Journalism from Colorado State University and formerly wrote for The Berthoud Weekly Surveyor where she won a Colorado Press Award. Kathleen lives in Colorado with her husband and all their four-legged friends
Links to Kathleen’s website, blog, books, #ad etc.:
Pre-order & Other Vendors for Chasing Justice:
Special Giveaway: Kathleen will give away one paperback copy (U.S. Only) of Chasing Justice along with a bookmark and–to honor, Juniper, her fictional K-9–a “Fur Missile” sticker to one lucky reader who comments on her Karen’s Killer Book Bench blog.
Thanks, Kathleen, for sharing your story with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!