Under Pressure (An FBI K-9 Novel Book 6) by Sara Driscoll –#BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Under Pressure by Sara DriscollFBI handler Meg Jennings and her K-9 partner, Hawk, are drawn into a case that involves a fortune in uncut gems, and an enemy whose power and ruthlessness know no bounds . . .

Diamonds are no one’s best friend when the jewels in question are smuggled conflict gems.  Meg Jennings and her Labrador, Hawk, have undertaken many search-and-rescue missions, but this case has an unusual twist. A Philadelphia syndicate is importing diamonds from war-torn African nations and selling them with fake certificates to Stateside dealers. Agent Finn Pierce of the Organized Crime Program is embedded with the syndicate, but being caught with a wire or tracking device would mean instant execution. If Meg, her partner Brian Foster, and their dogs can track Pierce to a deal location, they can break the smuggling chain while maintaining Pierce’s cover.

With the syndicate monitoring every move, it’s a risky operation with more players than Meg and Brian first assumed—on both sides of the law. And when one of their own gets caught in the line of fire, the team embarks on a desperate rescue mission, knowing that mere seconds are all that separate life and death . . .

My Review:

Yes, I do love this series and thrilled to snag Book 6, Under Pressure. Each novel is unique but getting into the storyline with Meg Jennings and her black lab, Hawk, always brings a smile to my face as I get to greet an impressive, independent old friend once again and live vicariously the choreographed work between handler and K9. The support characters, including her sister Cara, are all smart, young professionals.

Under Pressure by Sara DriscollIn this well-plotted narrative, Meg and Hawk as well as their handler partner Brian and his K9 are asked to work outside their usual Search and Rescue team when they are requested to work a cross-division collaboration involving a Philadelphia syndicate. They’ve implanted an agent into the mob, but are having problems with logistics and timing without blowing his cover. They are hoping the dogs will be able to track the players responsible for the buys of conflict diamonds hitting the local market. (Each of the chapters provide a lesson in diamond jargon—fascinating tidbits of info.)

I love how the authors strike a perfect balance between the lives of the main characters and their service animals with that of the current operation. Their lives become immersive, real.

The operation is not wholly successful at first—trial and error. Timing is key. But Meg is made and she is attacked shortly thereafter. Maybe there is something more than the mob here and they’ll have to track the source. Then an unofficial member of their team goes missing.

The novel never flags, slows down, no sags in the middle. There are action packed scenes, the dogs are in the thick of it, and the tension ramps up as further discoveries are made and pieces come together.

The conclusion, gritty and gripping, is satisfying. There is more than one theme here, the bond between the handler and their canine, the amazing intelligence of a service K9, and that a family can be comprised not just of blood relatives but those closely bonded by circumstance. The novel is an easy one to fly through—you don’t want to put it down!

I’ve read Storm Rising (Book 3), No Man’s Land (Book 4), and most recently Leave No Trace (Book 5), and loved them all. Really, you can begin with Book 6, as this is a series you don’t have to start at the beginning, each can function as a standalone. 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!

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Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Animal Mysteries, Police Procedurals, Crime Thrillers
Publisher: Kensington Books
ASIN: B08Y65J3CG
Print Length: 267 pages
Publication Date: November 30, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

Jen J Danna - author
Jen J Danna – author

Sara Driscoll - author(s)
Sara Driscoll – author(s)

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 central Texas

Ann Vanderlaan - author
Ann Vanderlaan

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 FBI K-9 Mysteries at saradriscollauthor.com.

 

 

©2021 V Williams V Williams

The Keepers: A Mystery (Mace Reid K-9 Mystery Book 2) by Jeffrey B Burton – a #BookReview – #animalfiction

“I love a dog. He does nothing for political reasons.” – Will Rogers

Book Blurb:

The Keepers by Jeffrey B BurtonJeffrey B. Burton’s The Keepers is the next installment of the Mace Reid K9 series, featuring golden retriever cadaver dog Vira and her handler, Mason Reid.

Mason “Mace” Reid lives on the outskirts of Chicago and specializes in human remains detection—that is, he trains dogs to hunt for dead bodies. He calls his pack of cadaver dogs The Finders, and his prize pupil is a golden retriever named Vira.

When Mace Reid and Vira are called in to search Washington Park at three o’clock in the morning, what they find has them running for their very lives. The trail of murder and mayhem Mace and CPD Officer Kippy Gimm have been following leads them to uncover treachery and corruption at the highest level, and their discoveries do not bode well for them . . . nor for the Windy City itself.

The Keepers is an exciting, fast-paced mystery filled with courageous dogs you’ll want to root for.

My Review:

Progagonist Mace Reid lives near Chicago and specializes in training cadaver dogs. Human Remains Detection. His alpha right now is a golden retriever he named Elvira—Vira for short. He is often called to Chicago for searches and that is what brought him to Washington Park in the middle of the night. (Living near Chicago and still finding it a fascinating city with such a reputation for dishonest government, and finding these books are loaded with smart, intuitive dogs pulls me in. This series doesn’t disappoint.)

“Many question whether ours is a city that can be saved. Others question whether it deserves to be.”

“…you either run Chicago…or Chicago runs you.”

I actually got to start with Book 1, The Finders, and was hooked immediately. Main characters and support characters alike, including the canine variety, all have well developed three-dimensional personalities. I love Vira, but still feel bad about Sam (Samantha—a GSD) from Book 1, now recuperating from injuries. And, by-the-way, this could function fine as a standalone, you’ll get info along the way that will catch you up if you missed Book 1.

The Keepers by Jeffrey B BurtonNot too much “cozy” (in the classic genre sense) about this cozy animal mystery—it’s a solid, hard-hitting action thriller from the first chapter. These are well-plotted and fast-paced narratives. Mace is not your ideal hero—he’s divorced, drinks some, swears, and tends to vomit when extremely scared. Not damaged—just not Superman material—but he loves his dogs. Five of them. Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, “Must love dogs.” His new “just friends only” girl is CPD officer Kippy Gimm.

“There is honor in being a dog.” – Aristotle

The thing is, Vira is “gifted.” Or perhaps Mace is just so well tuned in to his alpha now, he knows when she is signaling more than just a dead body. Vira is also very protective. Which is good, because Mace and Kippy quickly get in well over their heads in this one with the systemic corruption of the government providing a powerful catalyst to flee the Windy City. NOW!

A complex two-level plot, the first of which is put to bed fairly easily while the second simmers into an explosive boil. I like that the dogs aren’t just background—their training and senses are explored and explained. Their specialized talents clarified and they have jobs to do and do them.  

This entry to the series is hard-hitting, serious, and at times raw, profane, with eye-popping comprehension. There are murders, description of torture, and language. There is some weakness in Mace this time that I don’t remember in the first book. He is now more likely “every” man—real, sometimes self-deprecating, sometimes exhibiting a sense of humor. But he is definitely emerging as a real person. Sometimes I like him—sometimes I don’t. But I do love those dogs and my heart lurched at Maggie’s injury.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary uncorrected digital galley of this book from the author. These are my honest thoughts. This book will be released next year. You can get place a pre-order now through your favorite retailer.

Rosepoint Rating: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Animal Fiction, Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Cozy Animal Mysteries
Publisher: Minotaur Books

  • ASIN : B08FZB2D45

Print Length: 288 pages
Publication Date: To be released June 29, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Jeffrey B Burton - authorThe Author: Jeffrey B. Burton was born in Long Beach, California, grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and received his BA in Journalism at the University of Minnesota. THE FINDERS, the first in Burton’s K-9 mystery series, came out in June of 2020 (St. Martin’s Press). THE KEEPERS, the second in his K-9 series, comes out in June of 2021.

Novels in Burton’s Agent Drew Cady mystery series include: THE CHESSMAN (MacAdam/Cage, 2012; paperback Harlequin Suspense, 2015), THE LYNCHPIN (MP Publishing, 2015), and THE EULOGIST (The Permanent Press, 2017). His short stories have appeared in dozens of magazines.

Jeff is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and the Horror Writers Association. He lives in St. Paul with his wife, daughter, an irate Pomeranian named Lucy, and a goofball/sweetheart of a Beagle named Milo.

Visit http://www.jeffreybburton.com to see more about Jeff’s novels and short stories.

©2020 V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat

Mainely Power (A Goff Langdon Mainely Mystery Book 1) by Matt Cost – a #BookReview – Private Investigator Mysteries

“…Do you know that in olden times the newspapers would send people to the taverns to find stories to write? When the news was slow, they’d send a man down, tell him to ‘go sip a beer’ and keep his ears open. Over time, this got shortened to gossip.”

Book Blurb:

Mainely Power by Matt Cost

Was Harold Dumphy killed to cover up something at the nuclear power plant where he was the head of security?
This is what Harold’s widow asks Goff Langdon, private detective, to find out. Langdon is a laid back, slacker detective, happy with his work, friends, and way of life in the town of Brunswick, Maine. To compliment his income in small town Maine’s scarce private detective market, Langdon also owns and operates a mystery bookstore named after his trusted companion, Coffee Dog.
Does Langdon stand a chance against corrupt cops, crooked politicians, greedy millionaires, radical environmentalists, and a deadly assassin named Shakespeare?
With the help of Bart, the bear of a cop; Jimmy 4 by Four, the hippie lawyer; the immigrants Jewell and Richam; and his true desire and employee, Chabal—Langdon sets out to do just that. And then he is framed for not one, but two murders, and events become very complicated.
Follow Langdon and his band of friends as they attempt to untangle the web of intrigue and return Brunswick to “the way life should be.”

My Review:

The author has created the first installment in his Goff Langdon Mainely Mystery series and kicked it off with some memorable characters with such names as (attorney) 4 by Four and Peppermint Patti. And his dog? That’s Coffee Dog. You know I’m a sucker for a story with a dog in it, but a little disappointed this one didn’t get more press time. Still, I enjoyed the back story of 4 by Four.

Mainely Power by Matt Cost

Protagonist Goff Langdon is a twenty-something mystery bookstore owner and a (I’m guessing) newly minted part-time private detective in Brunswick, Maine.  His wife up and split with their precocious three year old, Missouri (I told you he chose some unusual names).

I’m not sure if the town is just that small or if there are no other PI’s out there, but he is approached by a voluptuous lady to look into the death of her husband, an apparent suicide. (After all, there is a life insurance policy to consider.) He was head of security at DownEast Power, an aging nuclear power plant.

He has an interesting cadre of support, from his twin brothers, to Bart, a local cop and Chabal, his young assistant at the book store. They hold a confab after Goff and his little girl are threatened to back off and they divvy up the investigation issues. The immediate antagonist, Lawrence Shakespeare, drops the crux of the whole thing and at that point it’s a matter of staying alive long enough to get the guy giving orders to Shakespeare.

In the meantime, there is a lot of hanky-panky, an additional victim, suspense, blackmail, and less than stellar decisions on how to proceed. There are red herrings and rehashing of the salient points, but they do manage to wheedle out the perp, although that is not a revelation more than a confirmation of the reader’s suspicions.

The protagonist is not wholly fleshed, no doubt more on him in Book 2. The women enjoy a dalliance or two (or more) as well as the appreciative looks by the men. An occasional profane word or two are sprinkled in as well as implied sexual content.

A well-plotted, albeit not unique, plot well paced. A character-driven narrative that has you shaking your head more than once—the protagonist is not a Mensa candidate, but he loves his daughter—and dog.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author. These are my honest thoughts.

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Book Details:

Genre: Private Investigator Mysteries, Cozy Animal Mysteries
Publisher: Encircle Publications

  • ASIN : B08FMXQFNV

Print Length: 304 pages
Publication Date: September 18, 2020
Source: Direct author request

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

Matt Cost - authorThe Author: Matthew Langdon Cost has wanted to be a writer since age eight. “I Am Cuba” is his first traditionally published novel. He has also self-published another work of historical fiction, “Joshua Chamberlain and the Civil War: At Every Hazard”. Encircle Publications will be publishing his Mainely Mystery trilogy over the course of the next year: “Mainely Power” is due out in September, “Mainely Fear” in December, and “Mainely Blackmail” in May of 2021. Over the years, Cost has owned a video store, a mystery bookstore, and a gym. He has also taught history and coached just about every sport imaginable. He now lives in Brunswick, Maine, with his wife, Harper. There are four grown children: Brittany, Pearson, Miranda, and Ryan. A chocolate lab and a basset hound round out the mix. He now spends his days at the computer, writing. You can keep up with Matt by visiting facebook.com/matt.cost.3, http://www.mattcost.net, and on Twitter, @MattCost8.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

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