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by Sara Driscoll
Kensington, November 2018
304 pages
ISBN: 1496704452

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

FBI Special Agent Meg Jennings and her K-9 partner Hawk, along with other members of their search and rescue team (formally named the F.B.I Human Scent Rescue Team), are being sent from the Washington DC area to the North Carolina coast. The Carolinas and Virginia are threatened by an approaching hurricane, Hurricane Cole, which promises to be a monster and these highly-trained and skilled first responders need to be onsite ahead of the hit so that they can start immediately in the aftermath to find and save as many living victims as possible the longer these victims are undiscovered the less likely it is that they can survive.

Meg's fairly recent love interest, Todd Webb (who is a member of the DC Fire and Emergency Medical Service), has also been assigned there. Meg's sister Cara is worried about them as well as about her boyfriend, a journalist named McCord who is being sent into the expected disaster area, but she is more useful holding down the home front, especially as Meg and Cara's parents whose skills lie in animal rescue both domestic and wild are also on their way down the coast to help.

This is the third in author Sara Driscoll's strong F.B.I. K-9 mystery series and while I have always been wary of mysteries involving characters from the animal kingdom because they usually slide over from dramatic mystery fiction into the cosy genre and too many of those are soupy and silly this series has captured me by its strict attention to research and careful detail. This author knows what she's writing about and cares passionately about it. As a reviewer who has covered the first two in this series, I can also claim this episode as my favorite so far. I think that that is because it is less entangled in questions of good and evil, though those come up, but more simply in issues of life, death, and survival.

One facet of search and rescue in a natural disaster is neatly covered: the victims will run the gamut from stupid to helpless and from criminal to heroic. Who is what has to be ignored. Those who help must set judgment aside and simply help them all.

Another facet of search and rescue is also nicely highlighted: first responders serve in spite of the dangers to themselves. An important part of their training focuses on how to keep themselves from becoming additional victims in need of rescue while trying to rescue others.

As Meg and Hawk work their way through the grids they are sent to, Meg spots a mostly submerged van just off the road in the edge of a bayou. Getting into that van is hard and what she finds is disturbing and horribly wrong in the back are restraints with locks for a number of passengers and the body of a young girl who could not escape her restraints before the rising waters drowned her. Hawk finds a scent to follow into the swamps and Meg gets permission to look for whoever did get out and bring them back for whatever care is needed.

STORM RISING shares with its two predecessors the fast pacing, solid plotting, and strong writing skills Driscoll brings to her work. The central characters are developing well and not too quickly. And the setting appears to be well-known and definitely well-drawn. Great job!

Diana Borse is retired from teaching English at Texas A&M University-Kingsville and savoring the chance to read as much as she always wanted to.

Reviewed by Diana Borse, November 2018

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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