This series of nine short novels, and two novellas by Mary Hiker won my heart immediately. She weaves heartwarming tales for animal lovers and mystery lovers alike. All are quick, easy reads. Written on about a seventh- or eighth-grade reading level, these books would make a great gift for your favorite teen.
Butterfly Boy (#1 in the Avery Barks Dog Mystery series):
Most cozy mysteries have at least one dead body, and this one is no different. Avery Barks has moved to the North Carolina mountains and, in her free time, works with search-and-rescue dogs. Her adopted golden retriever, Chevy, loves butterflies, and that love leads him to clues Avery can follow to solve the mystery. Will Avery end up on the list of suspects? At 143 pages on my e-reader, this is the longest of the books reviewed here.
Christmas Party (a novella):
A local man interrupts the search team’s Christmas party shouting, “Santa Claus killed my wife!” Strangely, the shooter left very small footprints. Someone is stealing Christmas gifts intended for a local retirement home, and a “Santa” is stockpiling drugs in “Santa sacks”. The mystery deepens quickly, but is solved in only 74 pages.
Avery Meets Chevy (a novella):
Avery Barks has moved to the North Carolina mountains and, in her free time, works with search-and-rescue dogs. In this prequel to the series, we learn how Chevy came to live with Avery. There’s a thief in town, and everyone is surprised at who it is. At only 58 pages on my digital copy, I was disappointed at the abrupt ending. I’m glad it was free; I would have been upset to have paid for a book only to find it was so very short.