Get the Crime Reads BriefThank you for subscribing!
- The Cartography of WolvesApril 22, 2021
CrimeReads on TwitterMy Tweets
Who doesn’t like dogs? To be fair, dogs aren’t perfect, and there may be several among us who’ve had bad experiences with them. But for the most part, humans and dogs share a special bond. And one unique and extraordinary relationship that has become a trend in crime fiction is that of working canines and their handlers.
When my children were small, a toddler became lost in the mountain wilderness near our home, and he wasn’t found until months later—way too late. This tragic event spurred my husband and I to train two of our dogs in search and rescue, so that if one of our daughters wandered off when we were camping, we could track her scent without delay. Little did I know that, decades later, I would pen a mystery series about a sheriff’s deputy and her K-9 that would employ this past experience that we shared with our dogs.
There were only a handful of working-dog crime fiction stand-alones and series available when I first began writing the Timber Creek K-9 mysteries, a series that features a German shepherd police dog named Robo, his handler Deputy Mattie Cobb, and veterinarian Cole Walker. Nowadays, there are many books out there for readers to enjoy. Whether your reading passion involves military dogs, search-and-rescue, patrol and police work, or a combination thereof, here’s a partial list to get you started.
Robert Crais, Suspect
This thrilling mystery features traumatized LAPD officer, Scott James, who is recovering from an assault in which his partner was killed and he almost lost his life. He’s barely fit to return to duty until he’s paired with his new partner Maggie, a bomb-sniffing German shepherd that lost her handler in Afghanistan. Their partnership offers healing for both, but when they set out to investigate Scott’s assault and his previous partner’s death, they might uncover information that could break them both.
Sara Driscoll, Lone Wolf
Lone Wolf, first in Driscoll’s FBI K-9 series, introduces FBI Special Agent Meg Jennings and Hawk, her search-and-rescue Labrador, and it’s a thrilling novel in which this team races against time to track down a bomber who is one of the deadliest killers in the country. The third book in Driscoll’s series, Storm Rising, releases November 27, 2018.
Alex Kava, Breaking Creed
Bestselling author Alex Kava penned a thrilling hit when she launched a new series featuring FBI agent Maggie O’Dell and Ryder Creed, an ex-marine turned K-9 rescue dog trainer. In Breaking Creed, one of Creed’s narcotics detection canines discovers a secret compartment on a commercial fishing vessel off the Pensacola Beach coast. But the Colombian cartel’s latest shipment isn’t drugs…it’s human. In the meantime, Agent O’Dell uncovers a hit list with Creed’s name on it—but by the time she finds it, it might be too late. This is the first Ryder Creed novel, but so far Kava has written four that gives fans a chance to binge read.
Paula Munier, A Borrowing of Bones
For readers who delight in discovering a debut author and then following that author’s career, here’s a book for you. This September 2018 release features ex-soldier Mercy Carr and retired military K-9 Elvis, both traumatized when Mercy’s fiancé—also Elvis’s handler—was killed on their last deployment. When Elvis alerts to explosives and the pair find an abandoned baby near a shallow grave filled with what appear to be human bones, they join forces with a game warden and his search-and-rescue Newfoundland to try to track down the baby’s mother, solve a cold-case murder, and keep the citizens of Northshire, Vermont safe from potentially the most incendiary Independence Day since the American Revolution.
Barbara Nickless, Blood on the Tracks
Blood on the Tracks is book one in the thrilling series featuring railroad police Special Agent Sydney Rose Parnell and her K-9 partner Clyde, both haunted by their time spent in the military in Iraq. Set in the depths of an icy Colorado winter, Parnell and Clyde descend into the underground world of rail riders to solve a murder; but there, they uncover a wide-reaching conspiracy and a series of shocking crimes that threaten everything Parnell holds dear. There are two mysteries available in this new series and a third is expected to release in 2019.
James Rollins and Grant Blackwood, The Kill Switch and War Hawk
This spin-off from Rollins’s Sigma Force series introduces former US Army Ranger, Tucker Wayne, and his military K-9 partner Kane, a Belgian Malinois (pronounced mal-in-wah) with exceptional skills. For those who love military thrillers and stories about working dogs, this is a team you won’t want to miss. The Kill Switch is first in a two-book series, followed by War Hawk.
Alan Russell, Burning Man
First in a series that currently includes four books, Burning Man introduces LAPD cop Michael Gideon and his police dog partner Sirius. Chosen to head up the newly formed Special Cases Unit, Gideon investigates the case of a teenager found crucified in a city park. After suffering terrible burns in a previous fire, Gideon had gained prescient insights into the crimes he investigates, a skill that he and Sirius must learn to trust if they are to solve—and survive—this grisly case.