Macmillian Publishing: 6/30/20
review copy; 288 pages
The Finders by Jeffrey B. Burton is a highly recommended
start to a new mystery series featuring Vira, a cadaver dog, and Mason
Reid, her handler.
Mason "Mace" Reid lives on the outskirts of Chicago and loves dogs. He specializes in human remains detection (HRD) and he trains dogs to hunt for the dead, cadaver dogs, as well as other searches. Reid takes on a new, young golden retriever, who he names Elvira, Vira for short, and begins to train Vira as a cadaver dog. She picks up commands and learns her training very quickly. When he takes her out on her first case, she not only finds the body, she also picks out and maims the killer among the bystanders. It seems Vira has a special ability. Vira also has a connection to Chicago Police Officer Kippy Gimm who rescued her as a puppy. Now Mace, Vira, and Kippy must all work together to thwart a killer who has his sights on Mace.
First, people who love dogs and mysteries are going to appreciate
this start to a new series. Mace is a well-developed, likeable character
who is presented with a nice balance of analytical abilities, serious action, and even a good dose of self-deprecating humor. You will root for him, his dogs, and for Kippy Gimm. They are all believable characters. The dogs - Vira, Sue, the German Shepard,
and collies Maggie May and Delta Dawn - are all characters too and you'll see their individual personalities.
You will need to suspend some disbelief about Vira's special abilities,
but those who have dogs know that sometimes they seem to know more than
you realize. (They can also sometimes "clean" the litterbox, but I'm
assuming Mace's dogs are all smarter than mine.)
The writing is great in this compelling, well-paced novel. The short
chapters keep the action moving along and the clever twists in the plot
grab your attention. The chapters alternate between the point of view of
Mace and that of a intelligent killer, a sociopath who now has his
sights set on Mace and his dogs. These two alternate, dueling narratives
help keep the tensions high, with some humorous relief every now and
then. The Finders is a perfect, comfortable summer read, with
enough tension and excitement to keep your interest. This is a great
start to a new series.