Keaton Goodwin is a Search and Rescue handler and he and his Rhodesian Ridgeback, Kaiser, are one of the top SAR teams in the country. When an earthquake hits Bogota, Colombia, Keaton and Kaiser are called to search for survivors. It’s Keaton’s first mission back after having been trapped in an avalanche a year before, and though it’s stressful, he’s glad to be back working and making a difference.
Because of the cartel activity, the U.S. sends military personnel along with aid workers. Master Sargent Nodin Standing Bear and his team are assigned to keep Keaton and Kaiser safe while they search. Nodin and Keaton find an easy connection, but an earthquake zone is no place to begin a romance. When Keaton and Kaiser are kidnapped to help find the family of a drug lord, Nodin is frantic. Keaton searches because he wouldn’t not help, and he has to keep Kaiser safe. The drug lord keeps his word, however, and returns Keaton once he’s found the children. However, Keaton was injured and has to go back home. But Nodin and Keaton make the promise to see each other, and stay in contact, until Nodin can get back to him.
I came away from this book with mixed feelings. The writing is good and it gives us a nice look into search and rescue. Keaton was a wonderfully drawn character and I loved his dedication to SAR and his dogs. But I felt there was a bit too much packed into the plot for the length, and I found that there were some aspects that I really would have liked to see explored more in depth.
Keaton’s passion for his job and his love of dogs just leaps off the page. I really liked him and thought he was wonderfully fleshed out. I had an inkling that something bad was going to happen to him while he was in Colombia, because the drug cartels were mentioned repeatedly. So it wasn’t a surprise when he was taken. I really liked the confidence with which he handled himself, and it was absolutely in keeping with his character that he would assist even under those circumstances. I really liked the consistency of his character throughout the story.
We don’t get to know Nodin as well, but what we do see is that he’s a kindhearted and hardworking man who takes his job seriously. He comes from a long line of military men, and I loved seeing the pride he had for his country. I wish we could have gotten to know him just a little better, though, as he felt just a tiny bit flat at times.
The romance between these two men suffered a little because of it. I didn’t feel the connection between them as strongly as I think I should have. Though there were a couple of really nice and well done scenes where the two men were talking and getting to know each other, the larger part of their romance took place off page and we were told after the fact that they had been talking regularly while they were apart. I think that if we had seen some of this, it would have helped me to connect to their romance more.
Overall, this was a nice story and the pacing, for the most part, was good. It was a quick read and not too angsty, despite the subject matter. I can say that though there were some parts that didn’t work completely for me, it was a good read and I liked it