As the hot, humid days continue, a good dog themed book, a comfortable chair and a cool drink become even more enticing. High In Trial by Donna Ball is the perfect book to curl up with. This is the 7th book in the Raine Stockton Dog Mystery series. If you drool over Golden Retrievers or enjoy agility competitions, this book is for you.
The main character, Raine Stockton, is a dog trainer whose Golden Retriever Cisco is a search and rescue dog but also enjoys agility competitions. She leaves her home in North Carolina to head out for a top agility competition in South Carolina where the stakes are high – entries into a national competition with plenty of money on the line. Then things get complicated.
In the world of serious dog competition, alliances that seemed to be solid are shown to be shaky and Raine’s boyfriend, Miles ( a non dog person), suspects there is some gambling going on under the table. Meanwhile, back in her hometown, another set of curious coincidences are starting up. The release of a prisoner in an old murder case leads to a notification to the sheriff in the town where he was convicted. That sheriff has retired and been replaced by Raine’s ex – Buck. He is not at all sure why the notification came to their office and when the retired sheriff seems overly interested, becomes concerned.
While Buck starts to research the old conviction, Raine and Cisco find themselves looking at a dead fellow agility competitor and dog breeder, Marcie. Marcie’s ex boyfriend Neil had been considered a shoo in to win it all with her Border Collie, Flame. Would he willingly throw that chance away to open the door for his own dog? Is a future chance at a $50,000 prize worth killing for?
Mysterious and obviously non doggy characters start to show up and Raine’s curiosity is definitely piqued. Miles is convinced the dog world has some shady underpinnings but Raine is not. As the air around them chills, two sets of villains are preparing to take action at the agility trials. This is a mad dash to the finish line with running contacts and speedy weaves and plot “traps” all the way.
Included with the book is a short story “All That Glitters” featuring a Secret Santa with a heart of gold, but just maybe, a Robin Hood complex. A fun Christmas story to help you feel cool even in summer’s heat!
High In Trial is a trade paperback that retails for $15.26. It is also available as a Kindle option for $6.99.