Cover Image: Standing Dead

Standing Dead

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

One of the best series I have read. Interesting plot and characters. Should be read in order, to maximum enjoyment.

Was this review helpful?

"Standing Dead" by Margaret Mizushima is a captivating mystery novel that takes readers on a thrilling journey into the heart of the Colorado wilderness, blending suspenseful twists with richly drawn characters and vivid settings.

Was this review helpful?

Standing Dead

by Margaret Mizushima

The story of Standing Dead opens with Mattie, a Deputy Sheriff, and her newly found sister Julia driving to a little town in Mexico looking for their mother. Mattie had a traumatic childhood (ages 2-6) involving a kidnapping and abuse from a man who pretended to be her father. Her real father, a Border Patrol Agent, was murdered and eventually the case was a designated “cold.” Mattie wants to get to the bottom of this case and bring her mother out of hiding.

After her long trip home from Mexico and a reunion with her boyfriend, veterinarian Cole Walker, his two daughters, and her K-9 officer Robo, Mattie and Robo return to their house. There she discovers the first of many creepy notes taunting Mattie and directing her through a variety of difficult situations. She is led to a beetle-kill pine forest where the trees are not the only “standing dead.” Mattie, her family, and her friends are all in deadly danger.

As always with the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery Series, watching the relationship between Robo and Mattie is touching as Mattie understandably has trust issues. Robo is highly trained and intelligent and does some pretty amazing things.

As things get “interesting” for Mattie, Cole is called out to the same area in the mountains to attend to some very sick horses. Their paths cross, and Cole is able to provide a clue that helps the law enforcement team determine the cause of death. Cole goes through his own crisis as he supports Mattie by backing off when she makes decisions to put herself in danger to save those she loves.

Other branches of law enforcement join in with the small local squad. They pool their manpower and resources for the good of the team. Also, there is a local sheriff’s posse that helps as needed, and Cole is a trusted and active member.

I stayed up late to finish this page turner. I am looking forward to the next book in the series and plan on returning to the few that I have not yet read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #8 in the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery Series. It could be read as a standalone, but to understand more of Mattie’s background I would recommend reading some of the previous books.

Publication: March 7, 2023—Crooked Lane Books

Memorable Lines:

She leaned to stroke the dark fur between his ears while she kept up with Sophie’s banter, and soon Cole noticed the taut muscles in her face relax as kids and dogs—two of Mattie’s favorite things in the world—seemed to ease her distress.

He knew how hard it was for her to trust others, and he felt he’d passed a test. He just wished it wasn’t a test involving life and death.

She drove steadily into the night seeing ahead only as far as the headlights would allow. She decided it was symbolic of the mission that lay ahead—she could only see ahead one step at a time. The rest of it would play out and reveal itself very soon.

Was this review helpful?

A gripping crime thriller that I loved mainly because of the K9 and because I love anything to do with dogs but it is so well written and mysterious.

Was this review helpful?

I loved this installment. It was very well written with vivid characters.
Many thanks to Crooked Lane Books and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Was this review helpful?

Last summer, Deputy Mattie Cobb found her mother living in Mexico. Mattie wanted to let her know, the Cobb brothers, the ones who killed Mattie’s father, were both dead. Her mother still doesn’t feel safe. When Mattie and her sister, Julia, go to visit, they find their mother and stepfather have disappeared. Something or someone spooked them. Now it’s up to Mattie to find them again.

It’s not going to take long. It seems the killer has her mother and stepfather and is coming for Mattie. Now, it’s a game of cat and mouse as threatening notes with hints of what’s next are discovered at crime scenes. Each one brings the killer closer.

A body is found tied to a dead tree in a burned-out area, one of the law enforcement officers is shot, there are two maybe-poisoned horses, a litter of sickly puppies, and a cat who ate something he shouldn’t. Hunting and camping season means a lot of suspects. Mattie and her search dog, Robo, like the rest of the team, are nearing exhaustion.

In her personal life, she’s agreed to marry Cole, the veterinarian and sometimes member of the Sheriff’s posse. He’s in charge of the horses, puppies, and cat — and hoping none of their owners is the killer.

The only way Mattie can save her birth family, her work family, and her to-be family, is to let the killer come for her.

This is book eight in the series. Mattie is coming to terms with a childhood trauma, is more open to having friends, and accepting love into her life. Robo, of course, is the hero of every scene. I love learning more about how they work together. Mizushima’s description of the area is sharp enough you can hear the twigs snap as they walk through the deadened woods. Mattie is surely someone you’d want in your corner, and if you’re lost, Robo can find you. Be prepared to read it in one sitting. The suspense and desire to know what happens next makes that a must. Then read it again, to savor it.

This is a series I look forward to each year. I hope there will be many more tales of Mattie and Robo’s exploits.

Was this review helpful?

I've been in a book slump recently when it comes to mystery and thrillers but this is one of my favorite series so I had to read it. Took a little longer to read than I had anticipated but I still really enjoyed it.

This one reveals more of Mattie's past throughout the book but even with how this one ended (not saying how, we don't need spoilers) I don't feel like everything from her past is finished revealing itself.

I guess we'll see in future books from this series.

Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher, and author for a copy of this in exchange for a review.

Was this review helpful?

This is a great series but don't be put off by this being the 8th in the series if you haven't read any or all of the previous entries. There is plenty of backstory to make it clear. Maddie Wray, her brother and mother were held by the terrorists who killed her father, a border patrol officer. That fact is the thread through the series.
Maddie and her sister, Julia, are in Mexico to connect with her mother, Ramona and her step-father. When they arrive they find that Ramona and her husband have left their house and contents to a neighbor and have fled to parts unknown. Was their decision influenced by those past events? It doesn't take long for Maddie to know that danger has followed her back to Timber Creek, CO and will put her friends and family in serious danger. With her fantastic K-9 partner, Robo at her side, she will fight a battle against people who have had a long range plan, one that has been there since she was just two years old.
I won't give away any more of the plot for fear of spoilers. I will say this is no cozy so if you picked this up because there is a dog on the cover and you are thinking sweet doggo, think again. This is a serious police thriller with a K-9 dog who is not to be messed with. After reading all eight in the series I have my fingers crossed that this isn't the last chapter for Maddie and Robo. I very much want more cases to unravel with them.
My thanks to the publisher Crooked Lane and to NetGalley for giving me an advance copy the exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

A twisted mystery from the very first page through to the amazing finish. Someone is targeting Deputy Mattie Cobb and her family. Her father was murdered years ago and a visit to her mother, with her sister Julia, brings no answers as her mother is missing. When a man is found dead and tied to a tree, a note is left for Mattie, a beginning to the madness yet to come. Mattie relies on her fiancé Dr. Cole Walker, a local veterinarian and his daughters. She also depends on her K9 Robo who always has her back. When more notes are found signed by a friend of her father, she has no idea who is sending them or what they want. Who will be targeted next as she warns everyone to be extra cautious? Cole is busy with sick horses that drank tainted water and puppies that have become ill. The killer may think they have every thing under control, but they have not counted on Mattie, Robo, her department, her friends and her will to win and live. I received an advance review copy at no cost and without obligation for an honest review. (paytonpuppy)

Was this review helpful?

Standing Dead is another excellent thrilling police procedurals where the four-legged partners work as diligently as their two-legged counterparts. By Margaret Mizushima this is the eighth book in the Timber Creek K-9 Series. Because it involves Deputy Mattie Cobb’s this book is personal for her and the most intense of the series.

From Mexico to Timber Creek there are surprises, not the good kind but the dead kind, threatening letters and notes, dying trees and fear of dying loved ones. The criminals are worst then the Mountain Pine Beetle killing the Lodgepole pines in Colorado. Mattie and Robo will not be detoured from doing what is needed. A tough female deputy book right in time for March Women’s History month. This fictional character fits the bill to be remembered. Though the book is an excitingly great read anytime of the year for any fans of books involving police officers with K-9 partners.

Fans of books written by Amy Shojai, Kelley Armstrong (Detective Casey Duncan character) or D. D. Ayres. I highly recommend Standing Dead but with a warning to start reading early in the day or you will find yourself unable to put it down causes you to read though the night.

An ARC of the book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley which I voluntarily chose to read and reviewed. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie

This is an incredible novel for those who appreciate mystery, K-9s and their handlers, and romance! I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite the grim nature of the crimes. The author describes the primary characters so well that I felt I had known them for a long time. The Colorado setting, including the ghost town, felt as if it I was there. I appreciated the author’s descriptions, including characteristics unique to K-9s such as Robo and things Mattie had to learn to be an effective handler and partner. It might be helpful to read a couple of the earlier books in the series, but I could keep up with concise backstories even though I haven’t yet read the last couple.

Mattie and her sister, Julia, went to Mexico to visit their mother. Due to events in their early childhood, Mattie had just found her mother, Ramona, a few months ago. She also learned she had a sister and met Julia and their grandmother. Their father, a border patrol agent, had been murdered thirty years ago. Mattie, her mother, and her brother Willie were kidnapped after witnessing it. Only six when rescued and put in foster care, Mattie didn’t even know her real last name until recently.

When Mattie and Julia arrived at Ramona’s house, an elderly lady was living there until Ramona and her husband Juan returned. Her mother was terrified of being found by the people who killed their father and didn’t want anyone to know where she was. With Ramona and Juan missing, she was afraid she had somehow led the “bad people” to their home.

The sisters hoped the new cold case detective at the San Diego police department would re-open their father’s case. Since the only two men Mattie remembered died in prison, one recently, they hoped it would be safe for their mother to give any information she remembered to the detective. Instead, Mattie and Julia saw the detective alone.

When Mattie returned home, a note was left at her home that “he” would be found in the high country among standing dead. Standing dead are trees that have been killed from infestations of certain beetles and are left there. After racing to the nearby campground with Robo, Sheriff McCoy, Deputy Brody, Robo led Mattie to a body tied to a dead tree. Stuffed in his pocket is anothr note for Mattie. Her mother is being held and won’t survive much longer. The notes are signed by “a friend of your father’s”.

Cole, a veterinarian and Mattie’s fiancé, is on an emergency call to a campground near the high country to meet a man with sick horses. One is down, the other struggling to stay up. They have been poisoned by a substance that Cole guessed at based on the symptoms and treated them. He went to the campground where the sheriff’s department, with Mattie, are to get samples from the water tank. They must track the source of the water as many hunters are in the area. The next day, Mattie’s sister Julia in California is kidnapped. Mattie has no idea who else was involved with her father’s murder; her mother refused to tell her. Cole and his daughters are threatened next.

Mattie’s life is like an onion, with a bit more of her past revealed in each novel. The trauma suffered between ages two and six years old has caused her no end of trouble. The crimes against her father, mother, brother, and herself were many, and she doesn’t remember most of them. Cole loves her too much to be frightened away. They, and all the regular characters, are very well defined; their words and actions make them people I would like to know. My favorites are Mattie, Robo, Sheriff McCoy, Cole, and Rainbow.

This was an incredibly tense novel in which most of the events are personal to Mattie and, by extension, Cole and those closest to her in the sheriff’s department. It kept me between curiosity/ guessing and breathtaking suspense. I had little suspect lists everywhere but was shocked to find the truth. All loose ends were tied up, and hopefully there are no more bad guys left from that period of her life who will show up! I highly recommend this, and the earlier novels of this series!

Was this review helpful?

I love this series. This book was a page turner till the end. I was on the edge of my seat from the first paragraph. The characters, the plot and the nonstop action gives the reader a fast paced book. Well done.

Was this review helpful?

would like to thank netgalley and the publisher for letting me read this fantastic book

oh my word what a book i was on the edge of my seat at times, couldnt put it down

mattie is out doing her job with her k9 partner robo, they are searching the pine woods and find a dead that will have repercussions for mattie and her family

and its not long in coming danger is all around and nobody is safe

could this have something to do with past events from matties childhood

oh my word this book had me right from the first page and the pace didnt relent, some shocking discoveries and action all the way

cant wait for the next book in this series

Was this review helpful?

This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart

Review copy was received from Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

4.5 hearts

Mattie's family issues come to a head in Standing Dead. She has her sister and grandmother and knows more truth about her parentage and history. She and her sister go to Mexico to find their mother but she and her new husband have fled. Mattie returns home and the hits just keep happening.

I love the Timber Creek K-9 series which has a K9 in a more realistic role. Mattie has really developed a great relationship with her coworkers and personally with Cole and his family. I would read this series in order because of the growth in both Mattie's personal and professional life. Everything is set in the gorgeous Colorado high country. I'll try to give you a feel for this book without spoiling.

Cole has many demanding clients with horses that got poisoned and Sassy's new puppies getting sick. His daughter wants him to hire another friend to work at the vet clinic. He is very worried about Mattie as she investigates on almost no sleep in a dangerous situation. There's been a murder. Her mother and sister are in danger. To free them, Mattie has to use all her training and skill, and risk herself.

The pace is swift and I appreciate greatly how her co-workers are her friends and how well they support her, but also are very competent in their jobs. It's suspenseful with all the things happening and trying to determine who the bad guys are and why they are targeting Mattie and her family. I thought I knew but I didn't. It was very satisfying to see Mattie handle things so well in what had to be a very emotional situation. Also, I love to see the bad guys apprehended for their misdeeds.

Was this review helpful?

I have been faithfully reading the Timber Creek K-9 series since book 1. Standing Dead is the 8th book in the series, and I enjoyed it just as much as all of the others! Margaret Mizushima never disappoints me!

The basics: Deputy Mattie Cobb's mother and her husband disappear in Mexico. A note taped to Mattie's door in Timber Creek, sends the sheriff's department into the high country to investigate. Mattie is forced to go undercover to save her family members.

I'm not going to say more than bare bones info about the plot as it's always best to go into a suspense story without much information on the plot. I can say that this story is gritty, suspenseful and downright creepy in some parts. I enjoyed every word!

I enjoy the setting, the action and the characters in this series. Robo is an awesome K-9 officer, and Mattie is a very strong main character. Margaret Mizushima is a very skilled writer, getting in all the nuances of a K-9 team, investigation, procedures and action.

I'm definitely eagerly awaiting the next book in this series! Always an enjoyable read!

**I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from Crooked Lane Books. All opinions expressed are entirely my own**

Was this review helpful?

Great addition to a terrific series. I always enjoy the time spent with these characters. Exciting adventures. Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy via NetGalley. My review is voluntary.

Was this review helpful?

Deputy Mattie Wray & her sister Julia go to Mexico to visit their mother Ramona but they find that she & her husband Juan Martinez had abruptly left a month earlier. Once home in Timber Creek, Colorado, Mattie finds a note on her front door telling her to look for someone among the standing dead (pine trees) in the high country. Soon enough, Mattie & her K9 partner Robo finds the body of a man tied to a dead pine tree. Mattie is stunned when she realizes the dead man is Martinez. Another note is found with the body, stating that Ramona is in danger. Then Julia goes missing & a Timber Creek Sheriff Dept employee is abducted & tied to a tree. Now it's a deadly cat-&-mouse game with Mattie & a revengeful killer from her family's past.

This was a thrilling read in the Timber Creek K9 mystery series.

I received a digital ARC from Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books. All opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

and a half stars

Number 8 in Margaret Mizushima's excellent procedural series focused on Deputy Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner, Robo, in the Colorado high country. Opening with Mattie and her sister, Julia, in Mexico hoping to reconnect with their mother. When it seems her mother and stepfather have gotten spooked and disappeared. Throughout the series, the murder of Mattie's father was been a major plotpoint, and this one is no different. While it can certainly be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone, I would recommend reading a few earlier in the series as background to increase your enjoyment. Both the terrain and working with K-9 officers are essential elements in the story/series. Pulse-popping action and strong characters will keep you riveted to the pages. My slight ding in the star rating results from the plausibility and intensity of the revenge motive. To say any more would spoil your enjoyment. Happy reading!

Was this review helpful?

This story in the series is the most complex and action packed. Mattie is at the center of threats made to her friends and family. She and her colleagues at the sheriff's department are racing to figure out it all fits together and traces back to her father's murder. Her fiancé Cole is kept busy helping horses that were poisoned near where her step-father's body was found as well as helping with Sassy and her puppies, who are offspring of Robo.
The tension builds slowly throughout the story and we see the close bond between Mattie and Robo, her k-9 partner. By the time, the showdown is on, the tension is at a fevered pitch. It is a relief when it is over. A wonderful, suspenseful addition to the series.

Was this review helpful?

Beautifully written, refreshingly clean and engrossing Standing Dead is the eighth book in the fascinating Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series.

Along with cold case unit Lieutenant Sonia Alvarez, Deputy Mattie Cobb has been investigating the shooting of her border patrol officer father which occurred years prior. She and her sister Julia travel from Timber Creek, Colorado to Mexico to search for their missing mother as the only witness. But they discover she and her husband have disappeared. The story takes the reader down a twisty path as Mattie receives a disturbing note about finding "him" as standing dead near a campground. Her beloved K-9 Robo searches for and finds a dead body, someone known to Mattie. But it doesn't end there.

Meanwhile, veterinarian Dr. Cole Walker, Mattie's fiancé, is called to a mysterious horse case which affects more than the animals.

I really like Mattie and Cole as individuals and as a team. Veterinary information and animals always intrigue me. Snippets of home life with kids add a feel of intimacy and balance while the outside world exudes trouble.

My sincere thank you to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for providing me with an early digital copy of this arresting novel.

Was this review helpful?