That Others May Live

FBI K-9 #8

By Sara Driscoll

ISBN 9781496743992

Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie


FBI handler Meg Jennings and her search-and-rescue K-9 partner, Hawk, race to find survivors after a building collapses, and find that the stakes are higher than ever before.

There are situations that fill even the most seasoned FBI K-9 handlers with shock and horror. Meg Jennings is preparing for another work day when she gets words of a catastrophic scene in downtown Washington, D.C. Part of a twelve-story condo building has collapsed, and the rest of the structure could soon follow. Every search-and-rescue worker and K-9 team is needed on-site immediately to find survivors—and assess the casualties.

Putting aside her fears for her firefighter fiancé, who’s already inside the unstable building, Meg turns to the task at hand. If anyone is still alive within the rubble, she and Hawk, working alongside other K-9 teams, must find them. Every hour, every moment counts—and a wrong move could trigger a deadly chain reaction for those buried beneath. But beyond the present danger is a deeper threat, as evidence indicates that this wasn’t a random tragedy, but an act of domestic terrorism. And identifying the culprit and motivation, in time to stop another attack, means taking on an enemy with terrifying skills—and nothing left to lose. (From Goodreads)


It was a few days before Christmas when the collapse occurred. Meg, with her K-9 partner, Hawk, was planning a few days off from their search and rescue work for the FBI. Hawk is as bright as he is gentle; he and Meg are in a unit with three other human – K-9 partnerships. Meg was preparing to leave for work when her sister’s partner, Washington Post reporter Clay McCord, arrived. He had just received the call from his editor about a twelve-story condo building, less than a mile from the White House, that collapsed without warning. One wing completely caved in, and the other was unstable. Todd, Meg’s fiancé, is a firefighter and paramedic, and was probably already there.

Within minutes, Craig, Meg’s boss at the FBI, was on the phone to call her and the other three partners to the scene. McCord, not the typical reporter, had an understanding with Craig. He provides as much information as he can to help them, they share information, and his story goes live only when Craig gives him the go-ahead. He and Meg left immediately, arriving where part of the building looked like a small stack of pancakes in a cloud of dust.

The author describes what is left of the L-shaped building, the construction drawings and details, and the search process so well, I felt as if I were there. I appreciated reading about the various processes and the possible causes of the collapse in a way I can understand. She shows the humanity and needs of first responders, and the incredible amount of organization and work that goes into such a massive search and rescue effort. The author also shows us a glimpse into the hearts of those who await news of their loved ones, missing since the millions of pounds of concrete and steel came down.

Even as the priority is finding and rescuing anyone who might still be alive, some are keeping an eye out for the cause of the disaster. When a piece of what looks like a cell phone with something stuck on it was seen in a rescue tunnel, there was more than a potential structural defect that caused the collapse – the actions of someone planting explosives. It then became a challenge to find the responsible people and motive before it happens again.

Meg’s sister Cara brought her therapy dog to the reunification center to spend time with the families and friends of those awaiting word on their loved ones. It was a joy to see how Saki and dogs like her are a warm, comforting light during a dark period of their lives.

The central figures are very well defined, others as needed for their roles. Some of what we learn is by way of descriptions and interaction, and to a greater extent, their actions and emotions as they focus on search and rescue. I welcome the opportunity to see this remarkable group of people. The first responders and McCord, the reporter, represent true to life responders who are diligent, hard workers with families and friends, goals, hopes, and dreams. Those who have dogs love and take care of them, and work together as if one were an extension of the other.

There were several twists and turns in this thriller, and the intensity at times took my breath away. The first responders and search and rescue teams risked their own lives to help others survive before the final wing collapsed. Law enforcement also had to find who was responsible before they acted again. I was very satisfied with the resolutions, and look forward to their next investigations. I highly recommend this outstanding and intense novel and series.