Still Waters by Sara Driscoll
An F.B.I. K-9 Novel, Book 7
Keeping their search-and-rescue skills honed isn’t just a job requirement for FBI Special Agent Meg Jennings and her Labrador, Hawk—it’s essential to saving lives. A water search training weekend in the Boundary Waters area of Minnesota has attracted participants from all levels of law enforcement, each vying to win. The races are challenging, the rivalry is intense, and Meg is already under pressure when Hawk alerts to a scent in the water—and discovers the fresh body of one of Meg’s fellow competitors.
The contest is called off, but Meg’s still feeling the heat. The victim had made an unfounded complaint about her, one that could cost Meg her job and see Hawk removed from her care. The field of suspects is daunting, and all of them are experts in throwing others off the trail. And though Meg’s team flies out to Minnesota to help uncover the truth, they’re on unfamiliar territory, pitted against a killer with the skills, and the motivation, to stay hidden in plain sight . .
I’m always thrilled to get the next book in this exciting series, as the last book read always leaves me looking forward to the next. And, of course, I’m partial to books about service dogs and their staunch loyalty to their handlers.
This entry to the series has Meg Jennings, a search and rescue dog handler for the FBI’s Human Scent Evidence Team off in remote Minnesota in a field competition for dogs training to perform underwater searches. Hawk is a Labrador, essentially a rescue, who performs beautifully on land, Meg having spent countless hours training, working with the dog, honing his skills both verbally as well as through hand signals.
The competition draws members of law enforcement from all over and while the rivalry is intense, Meg is not required to add the accomplishment to her jacket—she just wanted to expand on Hawk’s abilities. When Meg discovers a competitor mistreating her dog, Meg protects the animal. The handler, however, turns the table on Meg and files a complaint about her abusing Hawk. When Hawk discovers her body in 80 feet of water after the second trial, it’s Meg who hits #1 on the suspect list.
Meg is not alone, however, as she has her team including partner Brian and his dog, Lacey (best buds with Hawk), as well as her heart partner, Todd Webb (a firefighter/paramedic), and extended family Clay McCord (her sister’s partner and investigative reporter). Unfortunately, the accusation is very serious and could spell the loss of Hawk as well as her job.
Meg going pro-active can only work for so long, even given that the competition is shut down, as no one is allowed to leave and law enforcement establishes authority—a national park is also federal jurisdiction. I enjoy the teaching moments, the tidbits about the training of the canines, their instincts and how to use them, their abilities, and the symbiotic relationship with their humans.
This storyline dealt heavily with Meg’s feelings about her possible loss of Hawk and her job, the plans to surreptitiously “interview” the other handlers, and those who might possibly have known the victim or her previous bad experiences, providing a montage of suspects. While I enjoyed the atmospheric descriptions of the cold Minnesota mountains (the camping…brrr…) and the land of a thousand lakes, I missed more active involvement with the dogs.
The conclusion swept the narrative into a climactic and dramatic operation that included both dogs and law enforcement and provided a satisfying closure to all open threads.
“Oregon Tuck: A method of floating or vertically rolling over a waterfall in a kayak or dinghy. Named for the many large waterfalls in the northwest United States.”
I’ve read most of the books in this series, enjoying each one, including the last one, Book 6, Under Pressure, and am always assured of a new, unique storyline while still involving my favorite characters, particularly Hawk. You could read this as a standalone, but then you’d miss a lot of good reading!
I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author(s) and Kensington Books (thank you!) through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts. Currently on pre-order—go ahead and get on the list!
Rosepoint Rating: Four point Five Stars
Genre: Police Procedurals, Crime Thrillers
Publisher: Kensington Books
Print Length: 305 pages
Publication Date: November 29, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
The Authors: Sara Driscoll is the pen name of Jen J. Danna and
Ann Vanderlaan, authors of the Abbott and Lowell Forensic Mysteries. Jen is an infectious disease researcher at a cutting-edge Canadian university near Toronto, but loves to spend her free time writing the thrilling and mysterious. Ann lives in western North Carolina with five rescued pit bulls, including Kane, now a certified therapy dog. She also trains with Kane for competitive nose work. You can follow the latest news on the F.B.I. K-9 Mysteries at SaraDriscollAuthor.com.
©2022 V Williams