Tag Archives: K-9

Review: Lost Dog by Alan Russell

3 Stars

Detective Michael Gideon and Sirius, his K-9 partner, are back again to tackle the strangest cases that the LAPD has to offer.  But this time, the case is a little different.  The case finds them.  One evening Sirius saves a dog from pack of coyotes.  They try to return the dog to her owner, Heather Moreland, only to find that she is missing.  The circumstances around her disappearance seem suspicious at best and the more that Gideon digs, the more convinced he is that Heather has been abducted.

As Gideon tries to help locate Heather, he’s also troubled by the death of Detective Langston Walker, the leader of a support group for families of murder victims.  When they last met, Walker told Gideon about a cold case he had reopened, making Gideon wonder if Walker’s death was truly the accident everyone believes it to be.  Gideon has his suspicions right off the bat and as he continues to look through Walker’s cases and his life, the more he’s convinced that Detective Walker was murdered because of something he uncovered.

This is the third book in the Gideon and Sirius series, and once again, I would recommend reading the previous two entries before taking on Lost Dog.  There’s not a huge amount of backstory in this book as compared to the previous two, but it still helps.

The mystery of Heather’s disappearance plays out very well, even though the mystery isn’t very strong.  You’ll figure it out pretty quickly, there are some very obvious clues that are left behind.  The mystery surrounding Detective Walker’s death was a more interesting one and while it wasn’t entirely surprising, it was satisfying.  There are times that I wish the book could have been longer so that equal attention could be paid to both cases.  It’s hard at times to make the jump from one minute he’s still scratching his head and the next the case is solved.  Even with his visions that he experiences after fire-walking, it’s still a pretty big stretch to get from point A to point B.

The secondary characters are still very washed out.  I think at this point I’m actually disappointed in Gideon’s girlfriend.  I know that she has the patience of a saint, but come on, at least make seem realistic.  I still wish there was more interaction between Gideon and Sirius.  With his humor and biting wit, I think Sirius would make an excellent straight man..er..dog!

 

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Review: Guardians of the Night by Alan Russell

2 Stars

This is book 2 in the Gideon and Sirius Series.  While it is recommended to read the first book in the series, I believe there might be enough explanation for this one to nearly stand alone.  Especially since there are some disconnects between this book and the first book.

Once again we join Detective Michael Gideon and his K-9 partner, Sirius.  They are still in charge of handling Los Angeles’ strange and special cases.  And this newest case is a real doozy.  Wrong Pauley is a homeless man who has long fallen from grace and has given up on anything good in life.  Late one night, his drinking binge is interrupted by a detonation of light and he sees what he can only describe as a being of light being murdered in the alley below.  For once in his life, Wrong Pauley tries to help, but is too late and he believes he has witnessed the murder of an angel.  Gideon’s superiors believe this is a perfect special case for Gideon and Sirius.

Gideon and Sirius are already on another case when this one lands in their lap.  They are trying to track down the man who is being called the Reluctant Hero after rescuing children from a schoolyard shooting.  Braving gunfire and personal injury, the man runs in and tackles the gunman and then disappears.  The LAPD brass want him found so that they can hold a press conference and properly reward his actions.

As they tackle both cases, complications abound.  Wrong Pauley winds up dead and now they have two murders on their hands.  Gideon and his partner are soon on the tail of a very high profile suspect who likes to collect trophies.  He has already hunted every species on earth, who better to want to hunt a being of light?  Gideon finds that being in this man’s cross-hairs can lead to his own demise and he finds that a Reluctant Hero can be a very vital asset to keeping both him and Sirius alive.

Again, the connection between Gideon, Sirius and the serial killer called The Weatherman is back.  They were all burned in a fire while Gideon was in pursuit to capture him.  The killer believes that they have a connection that can’t be denied no matter how much Gideon wants to deny it.  I really wish this had been explored more.  But once again, Gideon is unresponsive, denies everything and throws up a brick wall.  This could be a really great story, but it is relegated to the back burner.  Also lacking in this book as opposed to the first installment was the relationship between Gideon and Sirius.

There are some real gaps between this book and Burning Man.  The relationship between Gideon and his girlfriend never seems to progress and she’s apparently had a complete change in profession that is never explained.  All of the characters seem shallow and incomplete in this book.  And while one case is solved, the case of the being of light is never fully explained.  There were so many unanswered questions that it just really left a lot to be desired.  The case of the Reluctant Hero was the only one truly resolved and even that was more than a little hollow.  After the first book, I really did have high hopes for this one and I felt disappointed.  But I will still read the next book, just to see…

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Review: Burning Man by Alan Russell

4 Stars

Michael Gideon is a LAPD cop who became a reluctant hero and celebrity along side his K-9 partner, Sirius, when they shot to fame by capturing a notorious serial killer in the midst of a raging wildfire.  For their heroism, and continued PR appearances for the LAPD, they are chosen to head up the new Special Cases Unit.  They are picked to take on the more unusual and unexplained cases.  Given almost full autonomy, Gideon can’t pass up the chance to work together with his partner without all the red tape and bosses breathing down your neck.  Perfect job for someone who is still trying to fight his own inner demons that have been haunting him since the night he and Sirius captured the serial killer known as the Weatherman, a man still haunting his dreams.

Those dreams that haunt Gideon also provide him unexplained information.  He will wake from his dreams where he is walking through fire again, actually feeling the flames and the pain of the fire.  He will also wake with unusual and unexplained insights into the cases that he is working on.  A skill that he and Sirius need to learn to trust in so they can not only solve this case, but also save a bit of themselves in the process.

In their first Special Case, a teenager is found crucified in a city park.  There are few clues and a whole lot of questions.  Who would go to such lengths to not only kill this young man, but to give further insult by crucification?  At the same time, another case appears that is close to Gideon’s heart.  An infant is found dead, left in a box by what seems to be an uncaring mother.  This discovery plays havok on Gideon’s PTSD and hits very close to home, as he was a foundling, dropped off as an infant in the parking lot of a church.  Gideon must face his own inner demons as he unravels the threads of these cases.

While the dialog is a little sophomoric at times, the wit and sarcasm of Michael Gideon does make up for it at times.  He reminds me a bit of Harry Bosch or even Harry Dresden.  His sarcasm is biting and his wit is quick.  His jokes and sarcasm hide the insecurity and the PTSD, you can see the defense mechanism at work and it makes him all the more human.  I wish the interaction with Sirius was a little more pronounced, he seems to spend an awful lot of time in the car.

The connection that he has with the serial killer called the Weatherman is never fully explained and it more than a little creepy.  It reminds me at times of the relationships that Hannibal Lecter had with his victims and those who brought him down.  Definitely a bit of a creep factor there.  I’m hoping that this gets fleshed out and explained in subsequent novels.

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