Friday, September 18, 2020

"Hanging Falls"

Margaret Mizushima is the author of the award-winning and internationally published Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries. She serves as president for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, was elected the 2019 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.

Mizushima applied the Page 69 Test to her latest novel, Hanging Falls, and reported the following:
Page 69 of Hanging Falls reveals much about the book and is a good indication of the whole story. Its setting is the fictional town of Timber Creek, a small community that lies high up in the Colorado Rockies. It occurs during the summer, and atypical monsoon-like rains have flooded the mountains surrounding the town.

Prior to this page the heroine, Deputy Mattie Cobb, found a man’s body floating in a mountain lake at the base of Hanging Falls, and she became drenched during a daring recovery. The series hero, veterinarian Cole Walker, assisted in packing the dead man down from the forest by horseback, and at the end of the day, they’ve succeeded in turning the body over to the coroner and are getting ready to drive home in Cole’s truck.

Mattie has been searching for her biological family, and the result of her filing her DNA with an ancestry database will be revealed on this page as well. She’d been planning a trip to San Diego to meet two members of her family that she can’t even remember—since she’d been abducted at the age of two—but the need to help investigate the current homicide has thrown a wrench in her plans. Robo, Mattie’s K-9 partner, is also along for the ride.

From page 69:
[Cole] began wiping the inside of the windshield. “I’ll get that heat back on your feet full force as soon as I can.”

“It’s all right,” she said, loving this man for always thinking of her well-being, something she’d experienced only from Mama T, her foster mother, before meeting Cole. She shifted to sit cross-legged, tucking her feet under her before settling into the warmth of the bucket seat. “This seat warmer is already doing the trick. This is heaven.”

“It certainly is,” he said, putting the truck in gear before reaching for her hand. “We have ten miles to go, and I have you all to myself.”

Robo settled down in the back and went to sleep while they rode in silence, Mattie savoring the cocoon of warmth and love that Cole had spun. But then her mind went back to the dead man she’d fished out of the lake. She wouldn’t be able to push aside the memory of his cold flesh and the terrible marks on his body anytime soon. What significance did the word PAY carved on his chest have? Would it eventually give them a lead?

How were they going to identify him and notify his family? Family notification had gained much more significance during the last few weeks since she’d found hers.

“I’m going to have to call Julia and tell her I can’t leave for a couple of days,” she said, worried about disappointing her sister.

“I heard you tell the sheriff.” Cole gave her a sympathetic glance. “Sorry this has come up at the last minute. But good grief, Mattie, a body in the lake? So you’re sure it wasn’t an accidental drowning?”

Cole must not have seen the condition of the corpse before coming up the trail to find her. He’d helped the department time and again with their investigations, and at this point she felt no hesitation whatsoever in discussing the case with him. “We’re sure. He has marks on his torso that might have been made by a whip of some kind. And someone carved the word pay on his chest.”

Pay?” Cole frowned as he considered it. “As in payback for something?”

“Who knows, but I think that’s probably it. For what, I have no idea.”
Each Timber Creek K-9 mystery has a murder to solve that stands alone, but there’s a thread that run through the series that tells Mattie’s story. I’m thrilled to share that Mattie has found a sister, and they will be reunited in Hanging Falls. But their reunion won’t be as joyful as one would think, since her sister and grandmother will reveal what little they know about what happened that fateful night when Mattie was abducted.

And what secrets are still hidden from them all.
Visit Margaret Mizushima's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Margaret Mizushima & Hannah, Bertie, Lily and Tess.

Coffee with a Canine: Margaret Mizushima & Hannah.

My Book, The Movie: Hanging Falls.

--Marshal Zeringue