Review: LAPD police officer Michael Gideon and his police-dog partner Sirius capture a serial killer during one of the regions deadly wildfires, only to suffer burns over much of their bodies. Though both cop and dog recover, neither are fit for the jobs they once held. Instead, the team is assigned to "out of the ordinary" cases, anything seemingly unusual or inexplicable. It isn't long before they have their first case: a teenaged boy found crucified on a tree in a city park, shot in the head through his eye, in Burning Man, possibly the first in a new series by Alan Russell.
The scars from being burned may be a physical reminder of Gideon's previous case, but there's a psychological reminder as well: he suffers from PTSD, a condition he has done his best to hide from his department. He continues to relive the experiences of the fire at night, with only Sirius to help him get through it. Indeed, much of this book deals with the special relationship a man can have with his dog, especially when it comes to recovering from a traumatic life event. In addition to the murder of the boy in the park, there are several other cases the two work on. And Gideon still meets with the serial killer he captured, a man with whom he shares a unique bond — surviving what could have been, and probably should have been, their death by wildfire.
Burning Man is probably best described as a police procedural, but it is much more than that, adding a depth of character not often seen in mysteries of this type. A return visit by this very special police unit would be most welcome.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Burning Man.
Acknowledgment: Thomas & Mercer provided a copy of Burning Man for this review.
Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Burning Man: Los Angeles, California
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Burning Man by Alan Russell
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: December 2012
List Price: $14.95