book reviews

Book Review: The Kill Switch

The Kill Switch (Tucker Wayne, #1)The Kill Switch

by James Rollins and Grant Blackwood

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

The Kill Switch” (William Morrow 2014) is the first in James Rollins’ and Grant Blackwood’s new series about former Army Ranger Tucker Wayne and his working dog, Kane (#2 planned for next year). In this opener, Wayne is asked to get a scientist out of Russia so he can share his secrets with the Western World. It’s presented to him as routine, but quickly deteriorates to anything but–toxic comes to mind. Every step of the way, Kane is integral to success whether it’s rousting bad guys, avoiding death, or determining what Plan F looks like. It’s a procedural on working dog as partner. By half way through, I couldn’t imagine any policeman would prefer a human over a working dog. We even see the world through Kane’s eyes occasionally. Invariably, it’s an exciting, loving, single-minded existence where Kane lives to defend his pack of one.

There are some great lines–

“The man’s eyes settled nervously on Kane. The Shepherd sat upright in the seat opposite Tucker, panting, tongue hanging.”

“You’re the owner of that large hound, aren’t you? The one that looks smarter than most people on this train.” Wayne replies, “Owner isn’t the word I would use…”

“Tucker had come to appreciate certain parts of the Buddhist philosophy, but he knew he’d never match Kane’s Zen mind-set, which, if put into words, would probably be something like ‘Whatever has happened, has happened’.”

Best of all: Tucker constantly refers to Kane as ‘his partner’.

I picked this book because 1) I’ve never read anything by either of the authors I didn’t like, but more importantly, 2) the cover features the silhouette of a dog. I am still waiting for Robert Crais to publish the next in his series about Maggie the retired working dog. He doesn’t seem as enthusiastic to write it as I am to read it. Go figure. In his absence, I’ve read pretty much everything David Rosenfelt has written on Andy Carpenter and Tara (Defense Attorney Carpenter is crazy for his dog–confers with him on most legal cases. Here’s my review of Hounded). Those dozen books done, I found Tucker Wayne and Kane.

D*** this was good. I want to read it again for the first time.

If you’re interested in working dogs, here’s a great post from Behind the Crime on that topic, and another from K9 Pride on how you can adopt a retired working dog. This one I wrote a few years ago on how the military uses working dogs.

More posts that respect animals:

Horse Soldiers

 Finally–a Memorial for War Dogs

How to Describe Dogs

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. In her free time, she is  editor of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.

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21 thoughts on “Book Review: The Kill Switch

  1. Pingback: 3 More Great Books | WordDreams...

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      • I hear you on this one. I was at the Air Force base near LR this week and took a look at the books they were featuring. Often the book selection is very thin but this time it was better than most. They had out perhaps 4 or 5 novels surrounding stories of war dogs. I picked up a novel by Susan Wilson titled ‘A Man of His Own.’ I’d previously read and reviewed her book, ‘One Good Dog.’ Also, her novel, ‘The Dog Who Danced’ made the NYT list. Wilson knows dogs and although I’m not very far into the novel, I’m seeing and feeling from the dog’s perspective.


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  4. Great interesting review not something i would pick up either but like you say

    There’s a dog in it–as a main character. What could be better.I use to love watching Inspector Rex with an awesome dog as the main character.


  5. I’ve read the Judas Strain and have the Doomsday Key. Loved the Judas Strain for the tension. I had no idea he’d teamed up with another writer. I would have no trouble devouring this book either after reading your review. 🙂


    • Both of these authors are good. It seems the trend to co-write a book. I don’t get it. It’s hard enough to weave a theme through an entire story by myself, much less handing it off to another.


      • I know James Patterson, even Stephen King…I don’t get it. I’ve been in writing workshops when two people are asked to cobble something together in a short time. Ugh. If you get an idea, a theme and the other person has a different one, which of you steps out of the way?
        Maybe these guys find this approach more challenging?


      • I read a book written by Jeffrey Deaver where he wrote the entire thing backwards–yuck! I love Deaver’s writing, but couldn’t get through that. He said he found it an intriguing way to present a story.


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