This first novel can almost be slotted into a new subgenre – “dog lit.” It joins excellent books by Margaret Mizushima and Robert Crais in featuring working dogs (this one ex-military) who have a damaged human partner. (There’s another one in the works from well known dog lover Owen Laukkanen.) Like Mizushima’s novels, this one has a wonderful feel for setting, in this case, the Vermont woods.
The main character, Mercy Carr, is back from Afghanistan with her partner’s dog, Elvis. Both are mourning the loss of Mercy’s partner, Martinez, and woman and dog are walking the woods together, trying to move past PTSD and become more of a unit. As the book opens they are out in the woods and Elvis finds a baby in a carrier with no mother in sight.