Thomas & Mercer
Release Date: June 14, 2016
Synopsis: Detective Michael Gideon is used to being handed L.A.’s oddest cases, but his newest one assigned itself. When Gideon’s K-9 partner, Sirius, rescues a lost dog from a pack of coyotes, the duo tries to return her home—only to discover her owner is missing. Heather Moreland has clearly disappeared under suspicious circumstances, and the more Gideon digs into her past, the more he’s convinced of her abduction. As Gideon strives to help the missing woman, he is also troubled by the suspicious death of Detective Langston Walker, the leader of a support group for families of murder victims. The last time they’d met, Walker told Gideon about a cold case he had reopened, making Gideon wonder if the detective’s demise is the accident everyone believes.
Warning: Potential Spoilers!
Lost Dog is the first Alan Russell mystery I've read. It's hard for me to pass up anything involving a mystery and dogs - and this had not one but two dogs trying to help solve the crimes. Even better was that the second dog, Angie, was a bloodhound mix and bloodhounds are not only underrepresented in literature (compared to German Shepherds like Sirius) but are one of my family's favorite breeds.
Angie is a rescue dog, so difficult that she's been returned to the shelter twice before being adopted by Heather Moreland, who also knows something about the importance of second chances. She and Angie bond and when someone breaks into her house Heather saves Angie by shoving her out of a window. Angie is found by Sirius, Detective Gideon's K-9 German Shepherd partner, and the pair set out to return Angie to her home. Except the home has obviously been broken into and Angie's person missing. The lost dog search becomes a lost human search, and Gideon knows its a race against time to try and find Heather still alive.
I had mixed feelings about this book by the end. It seemed to drag out, and alternate between very slow going and fast paced action. There end up being three different crimes Gideon & Sirius have to solve (two of them related), and while they are good mysteries, there seemed to be little to go on until the end, when the speed picks up, and two of the crimes are solved with one case of attempted arson. Gideon also has a penchant for absolutely groan worthy puns that can be humorous in small doses, but are so constant that I could only read a few chapters at a time before having to give myself a break from them and put the book down for awhile. This may be one of the reasons the book seemed to drag so long.
On the other hand, Sirius and Angie are great characters and Heather Moreland is a truly strong and inspirational woman. The chapters alternate between Gideon and Heather, and Russell does an excellent job of making us feel Heather's emotions during her ordeals. By the end when we all figure out who the bad guy is it's a truly terrifying and creepy experience, happily saved by the devotion of a bloodhound to her person.
A good read for dog lovers.
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley for an honest review.