Donna Ball. Smoky Mountain Tracks. Mountain City, GA: Blue Merle Publishing, 2012.

Raine Stockton, like generations of Stocktons before her, lives in the small (fictional) town of Hansonville, North Carolina. Nestled just on the edge of the stately Nantahala National Forest, Hansonville has gone largely undiscovered by the outside world– it’s still a small town with the same families that have lived there from time out of mind.

While her ancestors may have been livestock farmers, Raine has chosen to focus on a different animal: dogs. In addition to running a small boarding kennel and grooming salon out of her home, she trains her golden retriever, Cisco, in agility and tracking. So she shouldn’t be surprised when deputy sheriff Buck Lawson (who is also unfortunately her ex-husband) calls her up at three o’ clock in the morning to ask for her and Cisco’s help with a manhunt. Angel Winston, the young daughter of a local ne’er-do-well, has been kidnapped and taken deep into the woods. But Cisco is very young and mostly unproven, and instead of finding Angel, he leads the police to an empty cabin with a discarded can of baked beans inside. Heartsick and returning home, Raine inadvertently discovers what her dog did not– the kidnapper, murdered.

Angel is still missing, but the circumstances of her disappearance become more and more bizarre. Could they be related to a wealthy developer’s plans to bring Hansonville into the 21st century? Like Cisco, Raine is stubborn when she smells something funny, and despite Buck’s warnings and her own common sense, she persists in asking troublesome questions. Will Raine and the energetic Cisco sort out the truth before it’s too late?

Check the availability of this first book in the Raine Stockton Dog Mysteries in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.


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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Ball, Donna, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

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