Donna Ball. The Dead Season. Mountain City, GA: Blue Merle Publishing, 2012.

Raine Stockton and her energetic golden retriever Cisco are back in action in this, the sixth novel in the Raine Stockton Dog Mysteries. Their latest adventure opens on a snow-bound Hansonville, North Carolina in January, in the middle of what the locals call “the dead season.” There are no tourists, no holidays to look forward to, and no one feels like venturing very far beyond the cozy heat of his or her wood stove. Raine Stockton is going out of her mind with boredom. So when the director of a local hiking organization for troubled teenagers called New Day Wilderness Program asks her to join his staff temporarily for a winter hike, she can’t resist going along. She and Cisco will be joining Paul Evans, his wife Rachel, a young counselor named Heather, and five teens enrolled in the program as they embark on a trust-building journey into the mountains.

At first, Raine is excited. She’ll get to teach the youngsters about wilderness survival, and Cisco will perform some search and rescue demonstrations. But as the expedition progresses, it becomes increasingly apparent that New Day holds some dark and ugly secrets. Paul and Rachel’s approach to team building often seems more cruel than instructive, and Heather is still traumatized by the recent, unexplained death of her boyfriend, a fellow New Day counselor. Cisco brings joy and life to the trail as usual, but when an unexpected blizzard blows in, the tension and the cold both begin to snap. Will anyone get out of the mountains alive? And will Raine end up needing Cisco’s rescue skills in earnest? Join the savvy woman and dog duo as they follow this mystery’s trail to its gripping conclusion.

Check this title’s availability 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, Suspense/Thriller

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