The first in the Raine Stockton Dog Mystery series..."An exciting, original, and suspense-laden whodunit..."(Midwest Book Review)
As a native of the small town of Hansonville, North Carolina,and a wilderness rescue worker, Raine Stockton knows the Smoky Mountains as well as anyone could, but she gave up her Search and Rescue work after a tragic loss. Now she reluctantly returns to active duty to help find a young child who has been kidnapped and taken deep into the forest. But as Raine's young golden retriever, Cisco, picks up the trail, his enthusiasm fails to make up for his lack of experience, and their first foray into the forest results in disaster...and the discover of the kidnapper - shot dead.
Suspecting there's more to the case than meets the eye, Raine struggles to overcome her personal demons, turns her search in new directions... and learns to trust Cisco to lead the way.
©2006 Donna Ball (P)2014 Donna Ball, Inc
I enjoyed this first book in a new to me mystery series set in the Smoky Mountains. The author did a beautiful job capturing the feeling and texture of the mountain community. Be aware that the dogs in the story are not, for the most part regular family pets. Instead, the characters were involved in professional dog training, search and rescue, and agility trials and work. This detailed information was interesting and added depth to the story. The book was a short one, the mystery a bit easy to solve, but still I felt engaged and I was drawn into listening.
The narration by Donna Postel was really good. She had a great sense of timing, was good at the different voices, and helped to keep the action moving along and upbeat. She was a positive addition to the listening experience.
Recommended if you like mysteries that are a bit cozy with some police procedural discussion--but not too terribly gory and violent. I liked it. An excellent diversion.
Welcome to our group Dakota; welcome to my life Summer, you've made it so much better. Give back to our wounded warriors who gave so much.
This was a surprisingly seamless work of mystery fiction. the elements of small towns, family, mountain culture, animal training and law enforcement work. It's true to the setting; the passage that details how a driveway that she could see from her house was a five mile drive rings true for a mountain resident. The offbeat element provided by Sonny bright is a nice touch. The intelligence of the border collie rang true as well. Most importantly for me there was no "oh give a break" moment in this story that leaves a terrible taste in the mouth. a moment when some ridiculous convoluted action or event that reminds you of a prime time television drama occurs. Those type of things will often spoil the entire book for me; an author too lazy to come up with a good transition pulling a lame one one out of the air that fits neither narrative nor character. For those who prefer a high level of action in a mystery this story isn't for you. For dog lovers; those with an affinity for Appalachian culture or readers/ listeners who like a story that fits together and doesn't forget the story it's trying to tell it is one you don't want to pass over.
Good Books Don't Promote Violence
I was immediately engrossed by Smoky Mountain Tracks, my first book by Donna Ball. As a dog fanatic, I loved that Raine (main character) owned a kennel, did canine training and volunteered for Search & Rescue. Set in a small mountain town where everyone knows everyone else, Raine is asked to help find a missing, possibly kidnapped child and won't give up until she solves the mystery.
The only negative for me was Raine's relationship with her estranged husband Buck, who she had married young and divorced once. There were few details about their marriage, apart from the fact that she thought he had cheated. Did he and why? There seemed to be too much unfinished business, which was not addressed or defined. Why hadn't she divorced him again? Regardless, I will get her next book.
Best Narrator and Author Ever!
I loved her voice and how well the way she read, suits the way Donna Ball writes.She's one of the best narrators.
Absolutely. Its an interesting book, gripping suspense. Wonderful dogs and human relationships. The author really 'takes you there'.
PLEASE hurry and make Audiobooks of the rest of this series soonest .....I've read many others in the series and want to hear them all read by Donna Postel.The book was so good I'll re-listen many times, something I never do.
Raine gets called out to use her not-quite-ready tracking dog Cisco to find a missing child. There are interesting characters including a woman who reads dogs' minds, an appealing ex-husband, and a suspicious Waffle House waitress. There's a good mix of predictability and unexpected plot twists to make an enjoyable listen.
This was a pretty good book. The characters and setting were enjoyable and the ending was very realistic ( I'm not sure if that is a plus or minus). Overall this was an enjoyable book. I felt like the lead character missed a lot of clues before a light bulb finally come on in her brain. I will buy the next book in this series.
Listening to a book read by a good reader takes me back to the art of story telling.
I was able to relate to the dog owner aspect of the story.
Not on the edge of my seat but certainly very involved and interested. Now I want to read others in the series. A good introduction.
The characters come alive with believable emotions.
Using the title of the book or with the tracking dog's name in it...to start a series
It was fun listening to this as I've done agility training with my Weimaraner so I'm familiar with the training. The story itself was fine, but without the dog aspect, it doesn't stand out. Maybe 3.5 stars overall. The narration was good. I was looking for a light listen while I did photo editing and this fit the bill.
Enjoyed the listen but the mystery was solved too fast. While the character development was sufficient for the story, the author developed the dogs' characters to a greater degree thus using the humans to explain what the main characters of the story (the dogs) were doing. Maybe that's why the mystery was solved so fast - dog's don't over-think things.
Kathleen in FL
I like books with dog heroes now that I have a Labrador retriever of my own. The mystery was simple and interesting. The characters were well developed and reflected the mountain people of North Carolina. An odd feature was that the "good" characters, such as Raine Stockton, did not have NC accents. Otherwise, The narration was flawless. I would recommend this book.
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