Saturday, April 20, 2019

Writing a K-9 Tracker

Congratulations to "Taurus", the winner in Elizabeth's giveaway. Please contact JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE to claim your prize!

My newest release, K-9 Defense, features a Malinois-German Shepherd who served in the Marines as a Combat Tracker Dog. When I decided to write a book about a K-9, I wanted to do something new, so when I came across Combat Tracker Dogs, I was intrigued. It’s a relatively new specialty within the military, so I’ve never seen these particular K-9s featured in novels.

Combat Tracker Dogs are usually assigned to Military Police and it’s a program that’s unique to the Marines. Their specialty is a specific kind of tracking, starting at the site of an explosion or ambush and tracking back to the person who set it.

Rebel, the K-9 hero in K-9 Defense, was a Combat Tracker Dog. She’s the partner of my hero, ex-Marine Colter Hayes. When Colter and Rebel showed up at the scene of an explosion, they – along with an entire Marine Special Operations Team – were ambushed. Rebel knocked Colter down into the site of the explosion, saving their lives, but also landing them on a twisted piece of metal that ended both of their careers.

When K-9 Defense starts, the two of them are hiding and healing in the remote town of Desparre, Alaska. Both did damage to their legs that will never fully heal, but it’s nothing compared to the PTSD they’re fighting. And the survivor’s guilt that weighs on Colter every day, since he and Rebel were the only ones to make it out of that ambush alive.

As the two of them are just trying to make it through each day without any flashbacks or re-injuring their legs (Colter’s right leg is held together with a rod and screws and Rebel’s back left leg went through multiple surgeries to put it back together), Kensie Morgan shows up. She’s desperately searching for the sister who went missing fourteen years ago. A new clue has surfaced, suggesting her sister could be in Desparre, but Kensie has no idea where to start – until she discovers that Rebel was a tracker.

Here’s a snippet from that scene:


There was too much hope in her voice. A dozen swear words lodged in Colter’s brain. “Not that kind of tracker.”

“But what—”

“She tracked back to perpetrators from explosion sites.” Just saying the words filled his mind up with images of a military convoy, blown to bits. Bomb fragments lodged in everything. Limbs not attached to people. Friends, gone in an instant.

An L-shaped ambush that had come in two waves, one for the people he’d come to help and one for the responders. His chest started to compress again, the edges of his vision dulling.

“But couldn’t she—”

“No,” Colter snapped, more harshly than he’d intended.

Even if he and Rebel did the kind of tracking she wanted, she had no idea what she was asking. If he tried to help her, he knew what would happen. He’d have a mission again. A reason to reconnect with the world.

And connections meant pain.

For a chance to win a signed copy of K-9 Defense, tell me your favorite book with an animal in it…

About K-9 Defense

To help a desperate woman’s search, he’ll have to brave treacherous territory.

In the wilds of Alaska, grieving former marine Colter Hayes shuts out the world…until he and his combat tracker dog become Kensie Morgan’s last hope of finding her long-missing sister. The improbable mission starts to rekindle Colter’s desire to rejoin the world—while saving Kensie from a killer unsettles his heart. Can they find all they are searching for before it’s too late?

Buy Links for K-9 Defense

About Elizabeth Heiter
Critically acclaimed and award-winning author ELIZABETH HEITER likes her suspense to feature strong heroines, chilling villains, psychological twists, and a little bit (or a lot!) of romance. Her research has taken her into the minds of serial killers, through murder investigations, and onto the FBI Academy’s shooting range. Her novels have been published in more than a dozen countries and translated into eight languages; they've also been shortlisted for the HOLT Medallion, the Daphne Du Maurier award, the National Readers' Choice award and the Booksellers' Best award and won the RT Reviewers' Choice award.

Connect with Elizabeth

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  1. I had to think for a moment because I haven't read that many books with animals in them. One I would definitely recomment is Protecting Paige (Serve and Protect #3) by Norah Wilson. It's an older woman/younger man kind of book. The main hero is a cop who got shot in a police raid. He is also a dog handler. I learned a lot from this book.

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  3. Authors, please stop referring to those who served in the military as “ex-Marine”, “ex-soldier”, etc. We refer to ourselves as “former Marine”, “former soldier”, etc. As the saying goes, “Once a Marine, always a Marine”.

  4. I love animals in books... a specific title is not coming to mind at the moment... I have read heroic animals, entertainingly funny animals, etc...

  5. BLACK BEAUTY is a great favorite. I re-read it quite recently as an adult. Still moved me to tears.


  7. There are so many it's hard to choose just one. But If Only In My Dreams
    (North Pole, Alaska #2) by Noelle Fox is one of my favourites. I love the Christmas town and the little fox in this story.

  8. There have been a couple good series out recently that have working dogs, either former military dogs or law enforcement trained, as important characters. I am reading the ROCKY MOUNTAIN K-9 UNIT series by Katie Ruggle. The stories are very good and the K-9 characters are crucial to the plot of the books. Another series I am enjoying is by Piper J. Drake, TRUE HEROES NOVELS. Again, the K-9 characters are crucial to the plots and the movement of the stories.
    Any of us who have had dogs know how intelligent they are and how important a part of our lives they are.

  9. Lots of favorites, going all the way back to Beverly Cleary's Ribsy :)


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