"Grief and guilt are the ghosts that haunt you when you survive what others do not. Mercy Carr survived, and so did Sergeant Martinez's dog. Nearly a year after her best friend died in Afghanistan, she rose at dawn and took Elvis on another long hike through the Vermont woods. A tired dog was a good dog. ... So every morning they marched off their grief mile after mile in the mountains, where the cool greens of the forest could chase away the dark ghosts of the desert."
The main characters:
Mercy Carr, 29, former military police who's stubborn and independent, quotes Shakespeare and who's still grieving the death of her best friend and fiancee ... and her dog, Elvis, a five-year-old bomb-sniffing Belgian Malinois with canine PTSD.
Troy Warner, 33, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Game Warden who's wife left him one year ago ... and Susie Bear, his Newfoundland retriever mix that he rescued who now helps him with all his search and rescue jobs.
Mercy and Elvis are out hiking when they find an abandoned baby in a clearing in the woods. Troy and Susie Bear come up to help investigate and stumble upon some old bones nearby. Is it just some strange coincidence, or are they somehow connected? As Mercy and Troy investigate further the mystery surrounding both only deepens.
What I liked best:
Mercy, Elvis, Troy and Susie Bear! Mercy and Troy are both a little broken and not sure they can trust each other. But they do trust their dogs. And together they make a formidable team. I liked the growing friendship between Mercy and Troy and I loved their dogs. The mystery is good as is the Vermont setting, but it's the characters who make it really compelling. I'd give this one 4.5/5 stars.