“You have to be the calm in their chaos.”
Those are the words Jax Diallo, the hero of K-9 COLD CASE, repeats to himself as he’s approaching the scene of a bombing. Jax is a Victim Specialist with the FBI and it’s his job – along with his therapy dog, Patches – to help the victims at the scene.
But his job goes way beyond that. It’s a role that many people – even inside law enforcement – don’t know exists. It starts at the scene of the crime, but Jax could be working with the people he encounters here for years. He’s the lifeline between victims and their families and the FBI Special Agents, who often don’t have the time or knowledge to manage victims’ many needs.
Jax isn’t a Special Agent himself; he doesn’t carry a gun and he doesn’t investigate (or at least, he’s not supposed to!). Instead, he talks to victims on the scene, gets them resources and helps contact family members. Alongside Jax, Patches helps them with their immediate grief and fear and pain by letting them pet her.
Long-term, Jax helps victims manage the criminal justice process. His help makes it more likely that they’ll find the perpetrator, because victims and their families may feel more comfortable talking to him. It also makes it more likely they’ll agree to participate in the investigation and any trial, because they have the support they need.
What that support looks like can vary from victim to victim. But it’s always part of his job to help them find resources to move on with their lives. Patches – and other therapy dogs like her – play a part in that, too. They may visit victims in the hospital or at home, and they may sit with victims (especially children) or family members during testimony at trial.
When I was creating Jax, I gave him a background similar to many FBI Victim Specialists, in psychology. He made the transition from private therapy to working for the FBI because in his work, he saw people who came to him for help after a crime where the perpetrator never faced justice. And then that perpetrator became a repeat offender. In an attempt to be a bigger part of the solution and prevent more victims from needing his help, he joined the FBI.
He loves his job, loves working with the Labrador Retriever he found as a tiny puppy on the street and trained to be a therapy dog. But his background in psychology gives him insight into more than just how to help victims. It also gives him insights into the perpetrators – and although it’s not his role, Jax can’t stop himself from sharing those insights with the investigating agents.
When he goes to Luna, Alaska, to the scene of a bombing and meets police chief of nearby Desparre, Keara Hernandez, he suddenly wants to do more than just share insights. Because this time, the agents think his theory that the bomber is connected to the unsolved murder of Keara’s husband seven years earlier is a real longshot. But Jax is certain.
The more time he spends with Keara, the more he digs into a case that isn’t his to investigate. Because he can’t help falling for the intriguing chief.
If he’s wrong about the connection, he’s giving her hope that will only be destroyed again. But the closer he gets to the truth, the more it becomes clear that a killer has now targeted Keara. She can’t move on without the truth about her husband’s murder, but will the cost be her life?
You can meet Jax, Keara and Patches – and find out if the bomber is connected to Keara’s past – in K-9 COLD CASE. You can catch up on the first two books in the K-9 Alaska series with K-9 DEFENSE (also available in a duo book with Elle James’s Six Minutes to Midnight in VALIANT TRACKER) and ALASKA MOUNTAIN RESCUE.
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