When Maya Thompson returns stateside after serving in the Marine Corps and losing her K-9 partner in a traumatic event Maya feels was her fault, she joins the law enforcement arm of the U.S. Forest Service. To add to her service-related PTSD, she is present when her best friend, another officer and K-9 handler, is killed under suspicious circumstances in a bombing as they investigate crimes on forest service land. The orphaned K-9, Juniper, is suddenly in Maya’s care, even though the last thing she wanted was another dog to worry about.
This excellent debut in a new series by Kathleen Donnelly made me a very happy reader. My favorite mystery and thriller series are those that feature dogs, especially K-9 certified Malinois and German Shepherds. In Chasing Justice, I noticed tiny facts or actions that pointed to Donnelly’s own expertise with dogs and the extra research she did regarding the K-9 animals. For one thing, Maya Thompson does not give her dog a lot of human snacks fed under the table. The animal is also crated when appropriate and not treated like the pets we all love to indulge, even though Maya grows to love the animal.
There’s a reason for these types of details in Donnelly’s book. She’s a dog handler and the co-owner of Sherlock Hounds Detection Canines, LLC in Colorado.
“Sherlock Hounds is an effective, proactive program that deters the potential existence of drugs, alcohol & gunpowder in schools, businesses and private homes by the use of non-threatening detection canines.”
Chasing Justice has all the ingredients for a successful series: an interesting protagonist who faces challenges from her past that complicate her present, a charming and competent love interest, and a setting that can be both beautiful and threatening, depending on the humans who inhabit or visit. I’m looking forward to book two in this series from Carina Press.