Cover Image: Hunting the Truth

Hunting the Truth

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Hunting the Truth (National Forest K-9 #2) by Kathleen Donnelly
Publisher: Carina Press & Carina Adores (Harlequin), Carina Press
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thrillers, Romance
Published: September 26, 2023

Hunting the Truth is the second book in the National Forest K-9 series by Kathleen Donnelly. This book can easily be enjoyed as a standalone mystery or as part of the series. I am definitely hooked!!!!

I loved this book! I thought the characters were fascinating and well developed. I thought the mystery was fascinating and I loved putting all the pieces together!

I definitely recommend reading Hunting the Truth!

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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Maya Thompson is a U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer with her K-9 partner, a Malinois named Juniper in Colorado. Beyond work, Maya is committed to investigating the cold case murders of her mother, Zoey, and grandmother. The multitude of questions surrounding the circumstances of the deaths, 10 years apart, have haunted Maya and Pops, her grandfather and local Sheriff. The investigation is sparking Maya's PTSD from her military service as a U.S. Marine in Afghanistan and triggering fragmented memories of the past. The most vivid memory of the past is when she was almost 5 years old, with the last instructions her mother gave her and the last words she ever heard her mother say, "Hide, Maya. Don't let the bad people find you."

I loved the character portrayal of Maya, Pops, and his deputy sheriff Josh Colten. All 3 individuals devoting their lives to justice through their law enforcement service are not perfect but are even more captivating, pushing through their flaws and the different experiences of anguish in their personal lives. The character portrayal of Maya is a testament to a woman's inner strength and resilience, pushing through vulnerabilities after deception by a man in their relationship, grief in the loss of her mother and Nana, and PTSD from military service.

Juniper. What extraordinary work is accomplished by a K-9 in their partnership with a serving officer in law enforcement. The author’s writing highlights learning about the training and service of these exceptional dogs. The meticulous training and outstanding service are seamlessly incorporated into her storytelling, resulting in compelling reading. Unsurprisingly, the authenticity I felt in the partnership is true to the author’s service.

The excitement of adventure, mystery, and slow-build romance possibility of Book 1 gave intrigue as to how Book 2 would progress. For this reader, it was a page-turning read that kept me on the edge of my seat. I highly recommend this series. I can't wait to read the further developments.

Thank you to Kathleen Donnelly, Carina Press, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an eARC of this book.

#HuntingtheTruth #NetGalley

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Excellent mystery that pulls you in with intrigue and emotion - strong characters, real situations, real emotions - and the best part, the dog is the real star of the show! Perfect blend of plot, character, and interaction - great series

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In Hunting the Truth we find out the mystery of who killed Maya’s mother and grandmother. We see the progress in Josh and Maya’s relationship. This was a fast paced read with plenty of twists and turns. Great to see Juniper doing what she was trained to do.

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Hunting the truth is an absolutely riveting heart pounding thriller. Our Mc Maya witnessed a terrifying murder her mothers but unfortunately the event was so traumatic she only remembers bits and pieces of what happened. But Nara is no longer a scared little girl she is a seasoned veteran and is now a canine handler. She finally returns home to the Colorado mountains to learn the truth about what happened that night.

The case is long cold but new DNA evidence has surfaced and it will lead Maya down a slippery slope of investigation that might put her life on the line. The twists and turns are exceptionally well crafted and I was glued to the pages. I could not put it down. The pressure mounts as her loved ones beg her to stop investigating but Naya and her canine partner Juniper doggedly chase down every lead despite the personal risks involved. This leads Maya chasing a suspect deep into the forest and directly into harms way. Can Maya solve her mother’s cold case murder, stay alive and find a future with her boyfriend Josh? Read it and see! This definitely should be on your tbr list it’s absolutely heart pounding. Great read!!

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Hunting the Truth is written by Kathleen Donnelly. This is part of the Love Inspired National Forest K-9 Series. I have not read the other stories in the series, but the author does a good job to fill in the blanks. In this story, Forest Service law enforcement officer and K-9 handler Maya Thompson are investigating her mother's and grandmother's cold case. However, her grand father and sheriff deputy Josh Colten warn her to stay away from the case.

Maya only remembers bits and pieces of that tragic night. - but now that she has started digging into it K9 Juniper is the best and healing to Maya. The author throws in twists and turns and lots of heart pounding action and suspense.

Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for allowing me to read a copy of this book - all thoughts are my own.

After new DNA evidence surfaces, both her beloved grandfather and Josh warn her away from the case, suspecting that she could be the next victim. But Maya doesn’t listen.

Instead, Maya and her K-9 partner, Juniper, track a suspect deep into the forest and directly into grave danger

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I received an arc from NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.
Wow this was a nail biter all the way through and the author had you questioning all Law Enforcement and family in regards to who was behind this crime ring.
I enjoyed this K9 series and look forward to reading more by this author.

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This is a Romantic Suspense, and this is the second book in the National Forest series. This book was a little bit slower moving then I normally enjoy, but there was enough going on that I still enjoyed this book. I loved the suspense and mystery in this book. I also loved the characters. I really love a strong female character, and this book had that. Good solid read. I received an ARC of this book. This review is my own honest opinion about the book like all my reviews are.

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3.5 stars

Maya has been haunted by the deaths of her mother and grandmother at an early age, and is desperate to solve the crimes. That, combined with what she experienced in the military, led to a drinking problem that she now has under control.

Maya is a Forest Service officer, and her best friend Josh is a deputy sheriff. They often work together on cases, but up until now, have kept their relationship platonic. Others in the department see the attraction and are waiting for Maya and Josh to figure it out.

This story has action, mystery, clues that lead the reader in different directions and some light slow burn romance. It was an interesting look into K9 training and the bond between handler and dog.

Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book, but my opinions are my own.

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An accurately depicted K-9 and his Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer solve crimes that were committed over the past decades.

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Hunting the Truth by Kathleen Donnelly

“Hide, Maya. Don’t let the bad people find you.”

Those are the last words Forest Service law enforcement officer and K-9 handler Maya Thompson ever heard her mother say.

Returning to the Colorado mountains, ex-soldier Maya is no longer a scared little girl. She’s here to investigate her mother’s cold case, but fear creeps in when it comes to her personal life—things are getting serious with Sheriff Deputy Josh Colten.

After new DNA evidence surfaces, both her beloved grandfather and Josh warn her away from the case, suspecting that she could be the next victim. But Maya doesn’t listen.

Instead, Maya and her K-9 partner, Juniper, track a suspect deep into the forest and directly into grave danger…

Review: 5-Star
Over the past few years most of the mysteries I’ve read we not up to par, with what I expect out of a good mystery, and this was the best by far. I don’t give many 5-star reviews because most books seem to have editorial problems or something wrong with the storyline. Kathleen captured me from the very first page and I couldn’t put the book down until I finished it. Stayed up until the sun was rising the following morning. One of the best books I’ve read so far this year. I know need to go back and ready Chasing Justice. I just found a new Author to look forward to her books coming out. I honestly can’t say enough about the book except it’s a true page-turner and once you start reading you don’t want to quit.

I got this book for free from NetGalley for my honest review.

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When Chasing Justice came out last year, I was hoping it would turn into a series since Maya, Juniper, and Josh’s story was compelling, but I felt like there was more to learn… and I wanted to know more. So, I was very glad to discover Hunting the Truth. I will strongly suggest reading Chasing Justice first if you have not already, for the second story will give some spoilers for the first one, so be aware of that possibility even though each is a stand-alone story with a thread woven through them that connects. If that doesn’t matter to you, then dive in for an intense mystery/romantic suspense with more than a few twists and turns.

As we return to the National Forest K-9 series, Maya is working a cold case, one with personal connections, as she is determined to discover who murdered her mother. Her last memory of her mom was when she’d told Maya to hide, to get away from the bad people. Now, she’s going to find out who killed her mother and, more recently, her grandmother. Both her grandfather and the man she’s falling for are asking her to step away, that this search into the past is far too dangerous. But she cannot. Justice needs to be delivered to those who took the lives of these two loved, important people in her life – and she’s not stopping until that is done. She’s walking into danger with her faithful K-9, Juniper, at her side… and there is not one thing that will stop her.

The intensity of Maya, the loyalty of Juniper, and the devotion of Josh once again captured me as their story unfolded. Because of the mystery involved, you’ll not get any plot details here, but there are twists along the way, turns that dead-end (or do they), and danger that leaps off the page as Maya sets out to do exactly what she intended. Bring a murder to justice. I like Maya a lot. She’s been through so much, made bad decisions, had life overwhelm her, and paid the price. She’s also determined to overcome those obstacles (some that she herself planted) to move forward with her life. She’s far from perfect; more importantly, she’s believable because of her imperfections. I adore Juniper. Serious and devoted when the job calls for it, funny and zany when just being a pup. (I don’t think any dog ever outgrows being a pup.) And I’m encouraged by Josh and Maya’s romance as it deepens and moves to another level.

I had an absolute blast with Hunting the Truth, and if you enjoy a well-written mystery or romantic suspense that will keep you on edge, have you fearful for characters, plus lets you smile at a dog’s adorableness… then you’ll love Maya, Juniper, and Josh’s newest adventure. I’m hoping for a few more.

*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley, and I sincerely thank the author or publishing house for their trust. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*

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Kathleen Donnelly does a wonderful job of presenting a mystery full of twists and turns in this book and her experience as a canine handler for Sherlock Hounds Detection Canines shines through on every page.

Maya is desperately trying to solve the mystery of her mother’s and nana’s murder. The original case pointed to a family link and then suicide but Maya knows there is more to the story. She has fought her own demons with alcohol but she is now sober and ready to solve the mystery. However, the real killer wants to take her out along with Maya’s love interest and her faithful K9 partner, Juniper.

If you love K9 related books, you are going to love this one. I fell in love with Juniper (a Malinois) right from the start. Unlike some K9 or dog related novels, this one has the dog front and center with plenty of personality. This author did capture the personality of the breed well and I love that she showcased how talented these dogs really are.

This book is part of a series but it can definitely stand alone. Overall I think this was a great suspense story. The plot was well developed and kept me engaged and the K9 part of the story was the best part of this book. I definitely recommend this to all my canine loving friends out there!

I will definitely be checking out the first book in the series, Chasing Justice, and the third book in the series, Killer Secrets, which will be coming out in March of 2024!

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Maya was almost five years old when she watched as her mother was murdered. Her mother made her hide in a closet. Later, her grandmother was also killed with the determination for both cases changed to unsolved. After serving as a Marine in the military, she is determined to investigate her both cases to find out who and why they were killed. Maya is a member of the US Forest Service law enforcement along with her K-9 Juniper. Her grandfather is the local Sheriff and her relationship with Chief Deputy Sheriff Josh Colten, is in the beginning stages. When an acquaintance of her is viciously murdered, they finally obtain that leads them to a person of interest. The man is highly skilled and finding him will not be easy. The man has been stalking Maya, but either the deputy or her K-9 are always with her. The case is far more expansive and will the help from another agency in Montana, will they be able to stop the killer before either Maya or Josh are killed? A twisted ending in this exciting mystery. I received an advance review copy at no cost and without obligation for an honest review. (paytonpuppy)

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I wanted to enjoy this so much but I had the hardest time getting through it. I almost DNF'd about 6 times and I probably should have. I originally loved the idea of this but I just did not feel their chemistry. I wasn't even sure they liked each other.. Maya especially. She's super standoffish and a bit mean to Josh when he just tries to help her. Don't get me wrong, I like enemies to lovers but they weren't enemies.. and I personally didn't think of them as lovers.

**This is my personal opinion. Absolutely no hate to the author or anyone who loves this book.**

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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.

I'm a huge fan of K-9 stories, so when the author asked if I would review this one I was happy. With law enforcement groups and mysteries, it's the kind of story I enjoy.

Hunting the Truth is the second book in the National Forest K-9 series, so there will be minor spoilers here for Chasing Justice. In that book, Maya had just started a new job after leaving the military and had a new dog, Juniper. Her friend, Doug was training them for the federal forest service. Her grandfather is the sheriff.

Now Maya's training is complete. The deaths of Maya's mother when she was 4 and her grandmother, more recently, have come up as cold cases with new DNA evidence. Maya is working with Josh who is her grandfather's main deputy. She is attracted to Josh and is beginning to feel more like she can trust him. The romance element is a bit stronger than the first book.

I worried about Maya as she took off on her own a lot because she is so determined to figure out what happened to her mother and grandmother. She is having some vague memories of that night her mother told her to hide. She could taint the case because of the conflict of interest, so a state police Lucas is assigned to it, along with Josh. At least she has Juniper to back her up. I really liked how the dog, Juniper, was very involved in the story and we got to see her actually do some work.

Maya seems to get right in the middle of every situation. There's an ex-cop who knew her mom. There's two Montana cops here to chase the ex-cop who they say is dirty and wanted for murder. There are witnesses who end up dead, along with other dangerous situations. In the end, Maya and Josh figure out all the cases.

I found this fun and exciting to read, although Maya needed backup. She took a few too many chances. Personally, she was doing better with her job, Juniper and her friends and family. It was great to see her and Josh support each other and build a better relationship. They both had issues from the military which left them with some problems. I look forward to more personal and career growth in this series.

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A solid and well plotted romantic suspense that kept me turning pages and guessing. I loved Maya and Juniper.
An entertaining and well plotted story.
The German Sherperd on the cover is the twin of one dog I still miss after nearly 30 years
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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This is a great addition to this series and for me the K9 Juniper is a bit of the star of the show but then it is a K9 series so that is to be expected For years U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer Maya Thompson has been haunted by the murders ten years apart of her mother and grandmother then throw on top of that her PTSD that she has from serving in Afghanistan and she has a lot to handle She and her Pops the local sheriff have tried for years to solve the death of their mother, wife and daughter but to no avail so why does Maya always remember what her mothers last words where "Hide, Maya. Don't let the bad people find you.". Now she is determined to solve these cold cases and new DNA may help But her father and his deputy Josh Colten the man she is falling for fear she is putting her life at risk. With plenty of twists and turns and three heroes all with their own devils on their shoulders this is a story that will keep you engaged until you turn the last page

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The gangs all back, Forest Ranger, Maya, and her Malinois, K9 partner, Juniper, along with Maya’s grandpa and Sheriff, Pops, and his Deputy, Josh. They are joined by Lucas, a state inspector and two Montana officers, Abigail, and Blake. The book summary introduces the primary storyline of Maya investigating her mother’s and grandmother’s deaths when she was a child. However, what the book summary doesn’t say is that the killer who killed Maya’s mom and grandma, as well as a friend and fellow veteran (Kendra), is back again to kill her.

The story flips back and forth between Maya and an ex-cop Eric Torres as well as between the current murder investigation of Kendra and the cold case murder investigations of Maya’s mom and grandma. Most of the first half has Maya and a couple of Montana officers, Abigail and Blake, trying to find Torres, who everyone believes is the killer. There are also secondary storylines. One is surrounding the investigation of the Sheriff regarding his ethic charges incurred from drug raid (in the first installment). There is another one about the budding and complicated romantic relationship between Maya and Josh.

It's well into the second half, after Maya finds Torres, that the story takes on a weird twist (maybe). At this point, all the details surrounding the primary storyline become clear and the ending comes pretty fast after that with a scary and dangerous ending for Maya and the gang. The ending provides a lead-in to the next installment, I think (I hope), which could make for an interesting read.

I'm really liking this series! The bond and relationship between Maya and Juniper is wonderful and really funny and entertaining at times too. I want to thank NetGalley and Carina Press for sending me this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

#NetGalley #CarinaPress #HuntingTheTruth

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Hunting the Truth is the second book in Kathleen Donnelly’s Nation Forest K-9 Series. This is a romantic suspense story with good characters, an quirky K-9, and an interesting storyline. The story was written in third person mainly from the point of view of the heroine. However, another view (not the hero) was also included. Please note the romantic connection is evident in the book but no steamy scenes were included.

For years former marine and Forest Service law enforcement officer and K-9 handler Maya Thompson has struggled to understand the deaths her mother and grandmother. When memories and new DNA evidence come to light she will stop at nothing to solve the cold cases even when her grandfather and Sheriff Deputy Josh Colton, her love interest, strongly warn her to be cautious. Will Maya heed their warnings or will Maya and her K-9 Juniper lose their chance at a happily ever after? Read it and find out!

This was the first book by Donnelly that I have read. The story line was interesting but I did not like Maya, the heronine. I found her stubborn and selfish. I understand the drive for justice but it was almost to the determinant of her K-9’s health and her relationship with Josh and her grandfather. Maybe a few entries from the hero’s point of view may have tempered this feeling.

This is a voluntary review of an advanced readers copy received from Netgalley.

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