The Story Behind BURNING RIDGE, by Margaret Mizushima

When asked “How did you come up with the idea for your book?” a mystery writer can typically point to an event, a news item, a conversation, or something concrete that inspired them to write their book. In the case of Burning Ridge, the fourth episode in my Timber Creek K-9 mystery series, several things led me to the story.

Burning Ridge coverOriginally, I’d planned to include my heroine’s past in book four, but didn’t know what type of murder she would investigate. Deputy Mattie Cobb, her K-9 partner Robo, and veterinarian Cole Walker work together in each book to solve a murder case that threatens their peaceful mountain community of Timber Creek, Colorado. Raised in foster care, Mattie has stayed in her hometown, hoping that one day she’ll reconnect with her mother and brother.

As I wrote the third book in the series, I struggled to come up with a title, so I asked for help from my publishing team at Crooked Lane Books. A brainstorming meeting quickly ensued, followed by a flurry of back-and-forth emails as we discussed the merits of each idea for a title.

After we settled on Hunting Hour, my publisher asked if I would consider writing a book named Burning Ridge. The title had come up during the brainstorming session, and though it wasn’t a fit for book three, it resonated as a perfect title for a Timber Creek K-9 mystery.

I agreed! I loved the title, too. But despite our initial thought that the book might involve a forest fire, I soon decided that something else should be burning up on that ridge besides trees. How about a body?

Here’s a summary of the story that evolved: After Deputy Mattie Cobb and her dog Robo discover a charred body on Redstone Ridge in the wilderness area outside of Timber Creek, she soon learns that she has a personal connection to the victim. Mattie becomes the target of a sadistic killer who reveals a litany of secrets that threaten her very identity. While a forest fire blazes across the ridge, Cole and Robo search for the missing Mattie, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

Please join me along with Mattie, Robo, and Cole in this thrilling Timber Creek K-9 Mystery adventure.

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Margaret Mizushima is the author of the critically acclaimed Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries. Her books have garnered a Reader’s Favorite gold medal and have been listed as finalists in the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, the Colorado Book Awards, and the International Book Awards. Margaret serves on the board for the Rocky Mountain chapter of Mystery Writers of America, and she lives in Colorado where she assists her husband with their veterinary practice and Angus cattle herd. She can be found on Facebook/AuthorMargaretMizushima, on Twitter @margmizu, on Instagram at margmizu, and on her website at

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