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Publisher's Summary

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.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Best book in a long time!

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!!

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

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Adequate mystery let down by narrator

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.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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New Series with Lots of Promise

I enjoy the search for my next favorite police procedural series. This one has lots of promise, and I will definitely look into the author's second book. I liked the characters, including police dog, Sirius. I felt the beginning of the book would be predictable, but the author introduced two different and intriguing cases for detective Michael Gideon (Special Cases). The search is on for the parents of an abandoned infant which connects to Gideon's back-story. The second story has to do with the murder of a local school's athlete.

The narrator, Jeff Cummings, did a nice job. All around - an enjoyable listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Loved finding a new author to follow

What did you love best about Burning Man?

I wasn't sure about this book is was an impulse buy after reading a general description. I am glad I gave it a chance, I now anxiously await the sequel to this book.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Burning Man?

Even though it is based on a fictional character the insight into what people go through after surviving a horrible accident.

What does Jeff Cummings bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Giving life to the characters from a different perspective than how they may sound in my head. Would listen to other books read by Jeff Cummings.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

If given the time I would have listened to it in one setting, but I accomplished it in three. From start to finish there were no long dry periods where I lost interest.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Interesting storyline and great dog

Author provided lot of background about firefighting and effects of fire on victims caught in one. The plot kept my interest while the author's use of contemporary song allusions was a nice touch. And who doesn't love a dedicated dog to make this tale enjoyable? Look forward to reading more in this series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great Read

The novel contains great and entertaining conversations. The story line is simple and straightforward. The reader did a great job as well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Life renewed by fire.

What did you love best about Burning Man?

I have always been fascinated by K9 dogs and teams. This was not disappointment. The relationship was one I would hope each team has. They went through so much with the fire that nearly killed them both, the haunting by the criminal they brought in and the life after recovery from burns and loss of his wife before the fire.

What does Jeff Cummings bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I very much like the main character voice and the drama was well played and not overdone. As so often a male voice does not do the females as well, but this was good.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

His caustic humor make me smile and often laugh. I did love the relationship between the "partners" and later with his new lady. She handled his scars well and I very much liked that they were not ignored but dealt with. They read each other well.

Any additional comments?

This was a good cop story, K9, and over all bad guys investigations. The abandoned baby story line and his background was really good and emotional.<br/><br/>I would recommend either the print, ebook or audio book to anyone who likes mysteries, cops and especially K9 cops.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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2nd by Alan Russell, but NOT the last I'll read!

Didn't go in any sort of order, first listened to Guardians of the Night, and just finished Burning Man... can't wait to get all in the series. I love Russell's writing and wit; and couldn't have gotten a better narrator the Jeff Cummings to bring the story and that quit wit to the listener. Thank you to both!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The story suffered because of the narrator

In my experience novels that start a series are either brilliant or take a workman's path to establishing a protagonist's character and back story. I would count this book as an example of of the second type. I believe I would have enjoyed it more had the narrator Jeff Cummings been more skilled in giving each supporting character a unique voice. More significantly, his failure to properly render a woman's part made the appearance of the strong or complex females in the plot distracting and the whole suffered for it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Cheryl G.
  • Inland Empire, CA, United States
  • 04-25-15

Good story

The story was interesting and well-paced. However, the narrator mispronounced several names of places and things making it hard to listen to at times.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jane Shepherd
  • 02-27-16

Needs a religion warning

Had I known this audiobook was peopled with Catholic characters including praying nuns I'd never have bought it. I thought an LA cop with a canine partner would be right up my street but I found him a rather sanctimonious character. Liked Sirius his dog though. I object to doses of religion in novels just as I lose all interest in series once the female lead reproduces and the novels become full of maternal outpourings. Give me Joe Pike, an extremely rare vegetarian central character bless him with no obvious religious beliefs and the sense of justice I heartily espouse. I shan't buy another in this series. The narrator did a fine job.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • MarieSciFiAddict
  • 06-05-17

Very enjoyable read

Interesting police (LAPD) story with a human interest twist. I'm now downloading the rest of the series.

Took me a while to get used to the narrator, but got there eventually. He's has a... slaptick type of voice. Like a comical 1940's gumshoe voice. You grow to love it though.