cover image Forging Fire: A Horseshoer Mystery

Forging Fire: A Horseshoer Mystery

Lisa Preston. Arcade CrimeWise, $25.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-950691-76-0

In Preston’s lively third outing for charmingly unpretentious Rainy Dale (after 2019’s Dead Blow), the Oregon horseshoer agrees a few day before her wedding to cook Guy Kittredge, “the jelly to my peanut butter,” to deliver a “bad news bull” to a sale in California. Charley, her faithful working dog, accompanies her on the trip. After handing over the bull at the sale, Rainy is knocked unconscious by someone who takes her truck and her dog. Coming to by the side of a country road, she makes her way to the nearby Beaumont ranch, where she finds her truck and Charley. She bonds over a love of dogs with ranch owner Ivy Beaumont, though she takes a dislike to a hired hand, whom she describes as “six feet stupid in a five-nine body.” Charley leads her to a place on the ranch where a body has been buried, and she’s soon investigating murder and more. A subplot involving Ivy’s shady L.A. lawyer husband adds further intrigue. This contemporary western mystery is a must for those who occasionally realize they prefer animals to most humans. Agent: Mark Gottlieb, Trident Media Group. (Sept.)