There’s not much that’s sadder than a grieving animal. Even goats, the orneriest of the animal kingdom, take a punch to the gut with grief. My Grandpa Ed had a goat who lost his beard and couldn’t stand to live without it. Literally.
But it’s dogs who’ll just break your heart with their sadness. Their little doggy eyes turn pitiful and the howls’ll just about kill you with their unbearable heartache. Then there’s the dogs who’ll keep working even while their tails are drooping and noses have become dry. They might be the most pitiful of all.
I’ve gotten to know one of these stoic, yet sorrowful dogs. Buckshot. She’s a Mountain Cur. A beautiful brindle bayer with soft ears. She’s doing her best to track a humongous side of pork for some ridiculous hunters at Big Rack Lodge.
I’m there to paint the winner’s portrait in Big Rack Lodge’s Hogzilla hunt contest. My buddy Max Avtaikin paid for my ticket. To be in his entourage, not to hunt. He’ll be side-by-side with the rich and famous of the hunting world, tracking the 1,000-plus-pound wild hog terrorizing the rural area of Swinton, Georgia.
But while the hunters are tracking Hogzilla, Buckshot and I are tracking her owner’s killer.
Abel wasn’t much in the human world, but in the dog world he was loved. Folks in Swinton called him sneaky. A gossip and a drunk. Not many would have much to do with Abel. He liked to listen in on private conversations, particularly when the jawing got loose at the Double Wide bar, due to the high percentage of shine in the local hootch.
If only Abel hadn’t also liked to use that information to cause trouble. Something a dog could forgive, but not so much humans.
Particularly the one that pushed Abel into a ravine.
The fact that I found Abel’s body while landscape painting on the eve of the big Hogzilla hunt makes me very suspicious. Found dead on property after meeting several of the hunters the night before.
Somebody (or bodies) are also leaving odd threats and causing dangerous pranks. The hunters say its protestors. There is a monster-loving nutjob running around here with half a bag of screws loose, sworn to save the giant Georgian hog. He doesn’t claim responsibility. However, I think it’s all related to Abel’s death. Buckshot likely does, too.
But don’t worry. Buckshot and I’ll take care of the threat hovering around Big Rack Lodge. And I’m not talking about Hogzilla.
You can read more about Cherry in The Body In The Landscape, the fifth book in the “Cherry Tucker” mystery series, published by Henery Press.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on December 18 for your chance to win a digital edition of your choice from the Cherry Tucker series (Portrait of a Dead Guy, Still Life in Brunswick Stew, Hijack in Abstract, Death in Perspective and The Body In The Landscape). Good luck everyone!
About the author
A 2015 Georgia Author of the Year Best Mystery finalist, Larissa writes the Cherry Tucker Mystery series. The first in the series, Portrait Of A Dead Guy (2012), is a 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist, 2012 The Emily finalist, and 2011 Dixie Kane Memorial winner. The fifth mystery, The Body In The Landscape, releases December 2015. Her family and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit, now live in Nagoya, Japan, but still call Georgia home. Visit her website, LarissaReinhart.com, find her chatting on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads, or join her Facebook street team, The Mystery Minions.