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
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"The Smoky Mountains, Dogs & A Mystery"
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.
"Not just for dog lovers"
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.
"Dog Gone Good"
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.
"A wonderful listen - Don't miss this one!"
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.
"Enjoyable mystery especially for dog lovers"
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.
"3 and a half maybe a 4"
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.
"A good mix of detective work and dog story."
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
"Fun for dog trainers - adequate mystery"
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.
"Solved too fast!"
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.
"Not a bad way to spend 6 hours"
The story itself was good but not spectacular. I must say that Raine did some seriously dumb things that had me yelling at her while listening. Also, I understood her dog better than she did (and I don't even own a dog). All that aside, it was still enjoyable overall. The narrator was very good and did a nice job with voicing the different characters. Not sure the book is worth a full credit but it was worth the combined price of the kindle book plus the whisper synch rate (which I think was about half the cost of a credit, all told).
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