Still Waters (An FBI K-9 Novel Book 7) by Sara Driscoll – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Still Waters by Sara Driscoll

An F.B.I. K-9 Novel, Book 7

Book Blurb:

Still Waters by Sara DriscollA training session in the Minnesota wilderness becomes a fight for survival for FBI handler Meg Jennings and her K-9 partner . . .

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 . .

My Review:

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.

Still Waters by Sara DriscollThe 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 4 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedurals, Crime Thrillers
Publisher: Kensington Books
ISBN-10: ‎ 1496735064
ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1496735065
ASIN: B09TX318L4
Print Length: 305 pages
Publication Date: November 29, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

 

Jen J Danna - author
Jen J Danna

The Authors: Sara Driscoll is the pen name of Jen J. Danna and

Ann Vanderlaan - author
Ann Vanderlaan

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 V Williams

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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

Leave No Trace (An FBI K-9 Novel Book 5) by Sara Driscoll, Jen J Danna – a #BookReview – #animalfiction – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars5 stars

The “Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians are descendants of those resisters” (who refused to go on the Trail of Tears).

Book Blurb:

Leave No Trace by Sara DriscollOne arrow through the heart could be a tragic hunting accident. A second one, within days, looks more like a crime. That’s when Meg Jennings and Brian Foster of the FBI’s Forensic Canine Unit head to Georgia to investigate. With their dogs Hawk and Lacey, Meg and Brian are enlisted to follow the scent of a killer. At first, nothing seems to connect the two victims–a county commissioner and State Patrol officer.  But the blood sport around the southern town of Blue Ridge is just beginning.

As the body count rises, the compound bow killer becomes even more elusive, appearing and vanishing like a ghost. However, with each new slaying Meg is beginning to suspect the grim design that’s escalating in the shadows. At its heart, a tragic event that reaches back nearly two centuries in Georgia’s history is now turning Blue Ridge into a hunting ground. But as Meg gets closer to solving the puzzle, the closer she is to stepping into the crosshairs of an elusive murderer with deadly aim, and motives as deep and dark as the woods . . .

My Review:

Book 5 of the FBI K-9 mystery Leave No Trace will be coming out late December and I couldn’t resist getting a jump of one of my favorite series about the awesome dogs and their handlers who work so effectively with law enforcement.

Leave No Trace by Sara DriscollThe author manages to craft a remarkable canine-human story, but teach as well. In this case McCord is back and his character weaves in some amazing history, heading each chapter with points of interest in the early US Native American account of the Cherokee, one of the five Eastern tribes later known as the “Five Civilized Tribes” or providing a heads up for what’s coming. But more than that—the background of early Georgia–some really remarkable and little known history of the development of hydroelectric power in that area.

Protagonist Meg Jennings is back with her black Lab, Hawk. Her partner is Brian, whose dog is a German Shepherd, Lacey. They’ve been called in to track a killer using a compound bow that quickly escalates into a series of murders. Tracking high in the Appalachians is not easy. But it not only the expert bow hunter that’s deadly—so are those mountains.

Meg and Brian go from one peril to another, often caught in deadly situations that only the young and extremely fit could survive. It’s action packed, bringing training into the fore when called on.

The well-plotted and fast paced narrative grabs the reader in scenes of extreme danger and pushes the pulse-pounding experience to start flipping pages faster. Lots of drama here: critical information regarding bows, survival techniques, doses of fascinating history, police procedures and communication, and in between the larger picture, the personal issues confronting those prominent in the immediate team, including Meg’s guy.

I also read two others in the series, No Man’s Land and Storm Rising, and the CE read one in her new series NYPD Negotiators, Exit Strategy, and loved them all. Of course I love the interaction between dog and handler. The conclusion answers the whodunit, but not all the questions, issues, things you might have wanted to know. Still, the ride has been non-stop and immersive, the characters engaging, and the narrative wholly entertaining and thought-provoking. Totally recommended.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. Thank you!! These are my honest thoughts.

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Book Details:

Genre: Pet Dogs, Animal Fiction
Publisher: Kensington Books

  • ASIN : B086R8ZHBQ

Print Length: 336 pages
Publication Date: Available now on pre-order. Releases December 29, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Jen J Danna - authorThe Author: A scientist specializing in infectious diseases, Jen J. Danna works as part of a dynamic research group at a cutting-edge Canadian university. However, her true passion lies in indulging her love of the mysterious through her writing.

With Ann Vanderlaan, she writes two series. Under Danna and Vanderlaan, they craft suspenseful crime fiction with a realistic scientific edge. Their five Abbott and Lowell Forensic Mysteries include DEAD, WITHOUT A STONE TO TELL IT; NO ONE SEES ME ‘TILL I FALL; A FLAME IN THE WIND OF DEATH; TWO PARTS BLOODY MURDER; and LAMENT THE COMMON BONES.

Under the joint pseudonym of Sara Driscoll, they write the FBI K-9s mysteries series, starring search-and-rescue team Meg Jennings and her black lab, Hawk. The series includes LONE WOLF, BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE, and STORM RISING. The fourth book in the series, NO MAN’S LAND, will release in December 2019.

Jen is also the author of the upcoming NYPD Negotiators thriller series, with the first book, EXIT STRATEGY, releasing in August 2020.

Jen lives near Toronto, Ontario with her husband, two daughters, and three rescued cats, and is a member of the Crime Writers of Canada. You can reach her through the contact page on her website or by email at jenjdanna@gmail.com.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Exit Strategy (NYPD Negotiators Book 1) by Jen J Danna – a #BookReview #crimethrillers

Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars Five Stars

 Book Blurb:

Exit Strategy by Jen J DannaIn this taut new suspense series featuring NYPD detective Gemma Capello and her close-knit law enforcement family, a madman brings a halt to the heart of the city that never sleeps . . .

After her mother’s death during a bank robbery when she was a child, Gemma Capello grew up to become one of the NYPD’s elite hostage negotiators. In a family of cops, there’s rarely a day when a Capello isn’t facing down some form of threat. Still, despite their unpredictable schedules, they always find time for their annual family summer picnic. But this year, a sudden phone call changes everything.

A heavily armed gunman has taken hostages at City Hall. Gemma races downtown to join the rest of the Hostage Negotiation Team as they scramble to identify the captives—fearing the mayor may be among them. But as they search for answers and struggle to gain control of the circumstances, it becomes clear that the mayor is at the center of it all, just not in the way they initially believed.

With several lives on the line and a criminal who always seems to be one step ahead, Gemma is the only one able to connect with the suspect. Soon, she finds herself engaging in a battle of wits while enduring a battle of egos in the command center. With time running out and a mastermind who has proven he’ll do whatever it takes to get what he wants, Gemma risks it all—her career and her life—in a last-ditch effort to save the hostages. Now, she needs to figure out how to save herself . . .

My Review:

Exit Strategy by Jen J Danna - a police proceduralGemma Capello grew up in an NYPD cop family. She is predisposed to being a negotiator after her mother dies trying to de-escalate a bad situation. She has worked in various positions with the NYPD but her real talent is negotiating to save lives. But Hostage Negotiating is not an exact science.

There are many situations that require a trained negotiator. Gemma is one of the best. The issue is that the negotiator has to follow guidelines set up by the department and hers is not the final word.  The backup for the negotiators is the A-team. Their mission is to neutralize the situation and to save as many lives as possible with deadly force.

The negotiator is responsible to a “controller” whose purpose is to balance expediency with results. Usually, the negotiator is much more empathetic than the controller. Given the situation, Gemma finds herself in she has to continually beg for more time. People’s lives are at stake.

Ms. Danna has done a tremendous job of fleshing out her novel. I felt drawn to the situation and the location in New York due to her excellent description of the settings. She adds in some history of the area and of the subway system. I was enthralled with her historical accuracy and description of the New York City subway system and both current and abandoned stations.

Growing up in Little Italy, Gemma knows the area and some of the people who live there. Her childhood dovetails well into the overall outcome of the tale. She wants to save hostages and ultimately the perpetrator.  The perpetrator is a sympathetic character in this story and you understand his motivation but cannot embrace the methodology. I found myself hoping that Gemma could de-escalate the situation and that the perpetrator would survive. CE Williams

Feeling empathetic towards both the villain and Gemma was swept along on a terrific well-plotted storyline. Parts of this book will make you want to go to New York and witness some of the areas described. My hat is off to this author and her attention to detail and the weaving of a great read. CE Williams

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 Book Details:

Genre: Crime Thrillers, Police Procedurals, Kidnapping Thrillers
Publisher: Kensington Books
ASIN: B07ZPKNKTP
Print Length: 256 pages
Publication Date: To be released July 28, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Pre-Order Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Jen J Danna - authorThe Author: A scientist specializing in infectious diseases, Jen J. Danna works as part of a dynamic research group at a cutting-edge Canadian university. However, her true passion lies in indulging her love of the mysterious through her writing.

With Ann Vanderlaan, she writes two series. Under Danna and Vanderlaan, they craft suspenseful crime fiction with a realistic scientific edge. Their five Abbott and Lowell Forensic Mysteries include DEAD, WITHOUT A STONE TO TELL IT; NO ONE SEES ME ‘TILL I FALL; A FLAME IN THE WIND OF DEATH; TWO PARTS BLOODY MURDER; and LAMENT THE COMMON BONES.

Under the joint pseudonym of Sara Driscoll, they write the FBI K-9s mysteries series, starring search-and-rescue team Meg Jennings and her black lab, Hawk. The series includes LONE WOLF, BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE, and STORM RISING. The fourth book in the series, NO MAN’S LAND, will release in December 2019. [Note: Both the CE and I read this one and also thought a five star. The author has a gripping writing style.]

Jen is also the author of the upcoming NYPD Negotiators thriller series, with the first book, EXIT STRATEGY, releasing in August 2020.

Jen lives near Toronto, Ontario with her husband, two daughters, and three rescued cats, and is a member of the Crime Writers of Canada. You can reach her through the contact page on her website or by email at jenjdanna@gmail.com.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

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