Dog Days by Donna Ball (Raine Stockton Dog Mysteries) Blue Merle Publishing, 2105
Dog Days celebrates the tenth anniversary of The Raine Stockton Dog Mystery series. Filled with a a big dose of suspense, believable characters, and the beautiful Great Smokies, each mixes serious issues with page turning mysteries.
If you like to read series in order, begin with Smoky Mountain Tracks. If you don’t care a doggy rawhide, jump into Dog Days. Or try Home of the Brave. All ten feature Raine Stockton and her Golden Retriever Cisco. In the first book Cisco starts out as an incorrigible two year old pup and by book ten has grown into an incorrigible three year old dog. Besides keeping the reader up to date with Raine’s life, I believe Ball does this so she can write books where dogs never die.
Though Cisco still has his silly moments, by Dog Days he has become a reliable tracking dog and obtained his Level Two Wilderness Certification. Raine’s kept busier than ever with her Dog Daze Boarding kennel, grooming and dog training facility. Now divorced, she struggles with a new boyfriend in her life, a bond with his daughter, and wacky kennel help.
Raine and Cisco assist local police with search and rescue operations and, like all amateurs who star in mysteries, Raine gets into more suspenseful and often dangerous trouble than the average dog owner. Cisco shares the pages of Dog Days with a couple of Australian Shepherds and a beautiful English Cream Golden Retriever, lost in the mountains, and possibly a clue to a murder. If you like your mysteries with a dog on every page, you’ll love Raine and her friends.
Flash by Donna Ball (The Dogleg Island Mystery series) Blue Merle Publishing, 2105
Flash, the debut volume in the Dogleg Island Mystery series, features humans as interesting as the dog, which is saying a lot. Dogleg Island is not as cozy a read as the Raine Stockton mysteries, since heroine Aggie Malone is a small town police chief with murder as part of her job. Flash builds at thriller pace right up to the climax. Aggie, with a bullet lodged in her brain is both as delightful a heroine and as complex as Raine. Aggie and her island felt so real I was sure if I looked at a map, I’d find it right off the coast of Florida. And let’s not forget Ryan, Aggie’s lovable surfing cop boyfriend.
Flash, her black and white blue-eyed border collie is super smart. Border collie Flash's point of view was perfect, obviously written by a dog lover who knows border collies and how to keep readers turning pages. All Ball’s characters felt like real “characters” I’d meet on a Florida island. And by the end, Flash, Aggie, and Ryan felt like new friends I’ll look forward to meeting again.
Donna Ball is best known for her Raine Stockton Dog Mysteries, plus two heartwarming women’s fiction series: Ladybug Farm and The Hummingbird House. And for fans of fantasy she’s written The Devoncroix Dynasty series, featuring elegant werewolves who live among us. Ball lives in Georgia with her dogs, who have won numerous awards for agility, obedience, and canine musical freestyle. From time to time she offers donations of signed books to rescue groups and other charitable organizations.