FBI K-9, Book #6
By Sara Driscoll
Author Website: saradriscollauthor(.)com
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Jeanie
FBI 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. (Goodreads)
I hope this series continues for a long time! This sixth in the series is breathtaking, exceeding my expectations. Primary characters continue to grow personally and professionally and are very well defined. The case is complex and dangerous, and those involved know their lives are in jeopardy if any part of the plans goes awry. Despite the calm opening of this thriller, the high-intensity scenes are more heart-racing than in earlier novels.
We see a few of the many levels of partnerships among law enforcement professionals that help make this series what it is. I absolutely love FBI handler Meg and her canine partner/ human scent dog, Hawk, as well as FBI handler Brian and his canine partner/ human scent dog, Lacey. The love Meg and Brian have for their dogs makes them far more than working partners. As two of the four canine teams in the FBI Human Scent Evidence group, Meg and Hawk are at their best when partnered with Brian and Lacey.
Brian and Meg’s help has been requested for a different cross-department effort than has been tried in the past. Kate Moore, who they have worked with in another capacity, is working with those in the Diamond Trafficking Program. Blood, or conflict diamonds smuggled into the country will soon be delivered to the Philadelphia mafia for distribution. Pierce, an agent from the Philly office, has been deep undercover in the mob to help coordinate the units to take down those who are responsible for getting the diamonds from Africa to the street. It would dramatically reduce the demand in Philly, thus ending a source of income for the warlords and the cost in human rights violations. Pierce never knows before a delivery where it will take place. Meg and Brian and their dogs would track their undercover agent to where the deliveries would take place. The agents could arrest whoever is buying, Pierce, and the soldier he is partnered with.
While it is a valuable and noble assignment, there are downsides. One is that if Brian, Meg, or the dogs are recognized as law enforcement, the soldiers or enforcers would not hesitate to shoot the dogs, then the handlers. Pierce would receive similar or worse punishment, including torture. To Brian and Meg, it is simple. Yes, their dogs can do it. Yes, they’re all in. Despite the risk.
Meg and Todd, a firefighter/ paramedic, are well-matched off the job partners. They understand the pressure and danger the other faces every day and accept it. Meg and her sister Cara have been the closest of friends and housemates until recently, when they moved into a duplex with the guys they love. Cara, a dog trainer, and Clay, an investigative reporter, are also well-matched partners. Meg’s job has, at time, required the help of Todd, Clay, Cara, or all three. Meg and Clay have been working partners with regards to Meg’s cases. They have an agreement in which he helps with research in exchange for an exclusive when the FBI is ready to release it.
Clay has been doing extensive research on a new project they hadn’t yet discussed. When they do, he learns that he is definitely on to something. They are both working on the illegal diamond trade but from different angles. Clay knows the risks inherent with researching mob business, but he will not put his life on the line for a story. As Clay works the story both from his angle and with information important to the FBI, Brian and Meg hone the process of timely tracking the deliveries being made.
Every step of the way demonstrates the personalities of the characters. We see those traits and history whether they are on or off the job. The beginning of the novel only seems to start out a little slow. The stage is being set for the more edge-of-the-seat, terrifying moments of this thriller, especially when they learn there is a leak in the FBI. The tension reaches unbelievable intensity when circumstances go very wrong. This is a breathtaking thriller in which I again learn new challenges faced by law enforcement and crimes they address. The ending is very satisfying, and I highly recommend this and other novels in the series!