When LAPD detective Michael Gideon and his police-dog partner, Sirius, are assigned to the Special Cases Unit (SCU), Gideon knows their work lives will be anything but ordinary. SCU gets the cases no one else wants, the unusual and bizarre crimes that need special handling and special investigators. When a high-school student is found crucified in a local park, Gideon and Sirius must face up to the gruesome tableau and the motivation behind the murder. Complicating matters is a nightmare from their past, the scars of a terrible fire that nearly cost them their lives. The blaze left Gideon ravaged by PTSD - and yet somehow imbued him with an eerie prescience that gives him unusual insights into the crimes he investigates.
©2012 Alan Russell (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
Perfect, just perfect. Horrific beginning, as LAPD cop Michael Gideon and his police dog, Sirius, are trapped in a burning forest in pursuit of a killer. The killer shoots at them, hits Sirius, but Gideon forces the killer to help him carry the wounded dog out through a wall of flame. They all survive, the killer is sentenced, and becomes an eerie presence in the book. Both Sirius and Gideon are badly burned, but both go on to become the protagonists of what will -- I hope - become a new police procedural series for Alan Russell.
Burning Man is one of those "just five minutes more" books you can't find a place to stop listening. The cases Gideon and his "partner" Sirius get are fascinating -- a newborn baby abandoned on church steps, a teen-aged bully crucified on a tree in the park. There's a romantic interest, but just enough to make Gideon a real person. I like how Sirius is included in everything -- he's not a "sleuth", like some of the cat books, but not since Carol Lea Benjamin created PI Rachel Alexander and her pit bull companion 'Dash' has a dog played such a significant -- dare I say 'meaty'? Sirius is addicted to In 'N Out Burgers -- role in a book, and done it so well. Nothing cutesy here, just a really smart police dog with a brave and interesting human.
The narration is excellent -- thank Gd for a narrator who can pronounce California place names correctly! Couldn't be better.
Can't praise this book enough -- more, more!!
Unafraid to read from any genre.
I liked the story, and in the hands of a good narrator, I think it had some nice potential. But unfortunately, Jeff Cummings was not the man for this job. Because of a serious lack of variety in voicing characters, he fails in setting the mood of tension and mystery this book demands. His delivery is flat and strangely pedantic for most of the minor characters. As a result, the story loses what little depth and texture it possessed, becoming as light and inconsequential as an hour of Hawaii Five O.
I liked the relationship between Michael and his partner Sirius.
The Burning Man gets its title from when Michael and his dog Sirius go through a burning canyon to find a serial killer. They catch up with the serial killer but not until after he has shot Sirius several times. The canyon is now on fire and Michael forces the serial killer to help him carry Sirius out. Everyone suffers from severe burns and both Michael and Sirius have to go through rehabilitation. Michael wants to continue working since that's all he has so he hides his PTSD and how he's still hurting. Sirius is now retired but Michael still takes him with him everywhere.
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