FBI K-9 #1
By Sara Driscoll
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
When a madman goes on a bombing spree, an FBI K-9 team of one woman and her dog is the key to stopping him before more innocents die and panic sweeps the Eastern seaboard.
Meg Jennings and her Labrador, Hawk, are one of the FBI’s top K-9 teams certified for tracking and search and rescue. When a bomb rips apart a government building on the National Mall in Washington D.C., it will take all the team’s skill to locate and save the workers and children buried beneath the rubble.
More victims die and fear rises as the unseen bomber continues his reign of terror, striking additional targets, ruthlessly bent on pursuing a personal agenda of retribution. Meg and Hawk join the task force dedicated to following the trail of death and destruction to stop the killer. But when the attacks spiral wide and no single location seems safe any longer, it will come down to a battle of wits and survival skills between Meg, Hawk, and the bomber they’re tracking. Can they stop him before he brings the nation to the brink of chaos? (from Goodreads)
Lone Wolf is a masterpiece first-in-series novel centered around the work of FBI K-9’s and their handlers. The adrenaline rush begins in the first chapter and simply doesn’t let up until the end. The novel begins with Meg, following K-9 partner Hawk, on the scent of a rapist. En route, she faces her terror of heights when crossing a railroad trestle 40’ above roiling waters – then hearing the train whistle and getting off the tracks before the train reaches the bridge.
After I could breathe again, this action-packed mystery sped to an explosion in DC at the Department of Agriculture building. A class of 5th grade students was there on a field trip when the explosion occurred. As part of the building collapsed, a fire raged throughout. Meg, Hawk and other FBI handlers were called, their primary task being to find all those still alive and trapped. It broke the handlers’ hearts, as well as the firemen’s, as each dead body was located afterwards. Meg and a firefighter worked together to rescue a severely-injured student buried under debris. Hawk not only found the girl, but carefully crawled into the tiny opening and lay down with her until she was unearthed. When finally able to leave, Meg wept into the comfort of her K-9 partner and, unbeknownst to her, a photographer snapped a picture for the local newspaper.
Meg and Hawk were sent to another explosion, this one so bad she was determined to help find the mass murderer. A former police officer, she had experience as well as two men willing to find the bad guy(s). Todd Webb, the firefighter with whom she and Hawk had rescued the young girl, and McCord, a celebrated journalist with the Washington Post, want the responsible party behind bars.
This novel shows a depth of the hazards of the job and emotions of K-9’s and their handlers that shows readers the risks and details of their life-and-death calling, for indeed what they do is a calling. One learns to see first responders in a completely different light. The very real feelings of rage, grief, despair, and helplessness are demonstrated, feelings that, when channeled well, leads them to go above and beyond to find the missing while trying to find the criminal. Also emphasized is the depth of relationship a handler and K-9, possibly even closer than human law enforcement partners. When Meg is on an outing outside of work, we see the dichotomy of a young woman determined to find one who has caused terrible deaths while all around DC are the best of springtime, including new grass, cherry blossoms, and birds.
Meg is almost able to step off the page with Hawk, so transparent she becomes through this novel. Other characters are defined as much as necessary for their roles. Having the thoughts of the killer described is enlightening but unfathomable in light of the atrocities seen by the first responders.
The author begins each chapter with a term and definition specific to search and rescue operations that might be special in that chapter. This is a fast-paced, action-packed novel that hits the ground running in the first chapter and continues as such throughout. It is unique, fascinating, and leaves the reader with an awe of those who choose to be first responders and / or search and rescue workers. The novel is suspenseful enough to lead the reader through several heart-racing scenes. While we watch the bad guy plan his actions, we also watch the FBI, including Meg, search for the bad guy. Even so, the ending is pulse-pounding action. The end still holds surprises, and is very satisfactory. I highly recommend Lone Wolf, the first in FBI K-9 series! It is outstanding, and I am looking forward to continuing with the next book in the series.