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A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery Book 6
BY MARGARET MIZUSHIMA
Murder stalks the rugged Colorado high country—and sends Mattie Cobb on a quest to uncover the darkest secrets from her past in the sixth gripping installment of Margaret Mizushima’s Timber Creek K-9 mysteries
A deluge has flooded the high ground near Hanging Falls—but heavy rains aren’t the only menace descending on Timber Creek. While on a scouting mission to pinpoint trail damage, officer Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner Robo stumble upon a body floating at the edge of a lake. Robo catches human scent, which leads to an enigmatic forest-dweller who quickly becomes suspect number one.
With help from veterinarian Cole Walker, Mattie identifies the victim, and discovers an odd religious cult whose dress and manners harken back to the 19th century. As the list of suspects grows, an unexpected visit from members of Mattie’s long-lost family sheds new light on her childhood as they help Mattie piece together details of the fateful night when she was abducted at age two.
The tangled threads of the investigation and family dynamics begin to intertwine—but darkness threatens to claim a new victim before Mattie and Robo can track down the killers.
Deputy Mattie Cobb
1. What is your name?
I’m Deputy Mattie Cobb of the Timber Creek County Sheriff’s Department in Timber Creek, Colorado. I’ve worked there for about eight years, but a year ago I earned the honor of becoming the first K-9 handler in our department by beating my colleagues in a cross-country footrace. It was a strange way to be selected but that’s how Sheriff McCoy decided to make the assignment. I was paired with Robo, a gorgeous German shepherd—black and tan but heavy on the black side—and I can say that he’s the best partner I’ve ever had.
2. Who is your best friend? What kinds of things do you do when you’re together?
Robo is my best friend—we run together each morning, we hang out together in the evening, and we work together all day. We’re inseparable, and Robo has taught me what it feels like to trust, something stolen from me decades ago at age two when my mother, brother, and I were abducted. Though I’ve always been a loner, I’ve finally learned to have human friends as well: Stella, the detective in our small department; Rainbow, the dispatcher who’s a free spirit and the daughter of two hippies; and a man I’ve grown to love, Cole Walker, who’s the local veterinarian and rapidly becoming my best friend…in addition to Robo, of course.
3. If you have a family, how do you get along with them? If you don’t, are there people in your life that you consider family? How do you get along with them?
My life has been complicated. I mentioned that my mother, brother, and I were abducted when I was two. The man who held us captive tried to kill my mother one night after I’d turned six, and I ended up dialing 9-1-1. I saved my mother, but after she was released from the hospital, she disappeared, abandoning my brother and me to be raised in foster care. We were soon separated—Willie was sent elsewhere and I ended up in the home of Teresa Lovato, a loving woman who helped raise me and who showed me how to overcome my anger by channeling it into cross-country running. I love my Mama T and still visit her each week when she cooks me the best breakfast in the world—huevos rancheros smothered in her homemade green chile.
4. Do you have a birthmark? Scars? Where is it/are they? How did you get it/them?
My scars are mostly on the inside where they can’t be seen. You see, that same man who tried to kill my mother molested me, leaving me with repressed memories that are slowly coming to the surface. I’m working with a trauma counselor on ways to deal with the aftermath of my childhood experiences, and I’m learning how to accept the love of new friends in my current life.
5. When you’re angry, what do you do? Where do you go? How do you deal with your anger?
I run. I run up and down the foothills that surround Timber Creek, taking Robo with me. He never questions why we’re out there, and he’s always by my side.
6. What’s the one thing you’re afraid of losing?
I’m afraid of losing Cole’s love and the chance to be a part of his family. I fell in love with his kids first, two daughters, now ages nine and sixteen. Cole’s a loving dad, but after his wife left him and the kids, they’ve faced their own set of abandonment issues. He’s a family man, and at one time I thought he might want to get back together with his ex-wife for the sake of the kids; but he’s finally convinced me that I’m the one he loves, although our love is brand new, and it sometimes feels fragile.
7. What makes you laugh out loud?
Stella, the detective I work with, makes me laugh out loud with her sarcasm and her sardonic view on life. She knows all my secrets, and like she says, I can count on her to take my secrets to the grave.
8. What’s your favorite food?
Mama T’s homemade tamales and green chile. I recently found two members of my birth family through a DNA database, and this is what my mama fed us for dinner the night we got together to celebrate being reunited.
9. What’s the one thing you want out of life that you don’t think you can have? Why can’t you have it?
The one thing I’ve always wanted is my family; and now that I’ve found some of my birth family, I realize that I’ve had family and friends who have loved me all along. But connecting with some of my birth family has shown me what I can never have, because some of my people are missing or have been killed by the same ring of smugglers who once tried to kill me. Until I figure out who these criminals are, the lives of my family and friends will always be threatened—and the problem is so huge, I’m not sure we’ll ever find peace. But that won’t stop me from trying.
Margaret Mizushima is the author of the award-winning and internationally published Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries. Active within the writing community, Margaret serves as president for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, was elected the 2019-2020 Writer of the Year by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and is also a member of Northern Colorado Writers, Sisters in Crime, and Women Writing the West. She lives in Colorado on a small ranch with her veterinarian husband where they raised two daughters and a multitude of animals.
Links to Margaret’s website, blog, books, etc.:
Thanks, Margaret, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!