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Tuesday 15 March 2016

‘Silent Creed’ by Alex Kava

Published by Sphere,
5 January 2016.
ISBN: 978-0-7515-5583-7 (PB)

Sometimes fiction comes scarily close to reality. Halfway through Silent Creed, the second in Alex Kava’s pacy new series featuring army veteran Ryder Creed and his team of canine detectives, I was briefly distracted by a news item about the Zika virus – and a cloud of mosquitoes flew by in the next chapter of the book.

It was all the more scary because the kind of quasi-medical research that the government doesn’t talk about lies at the heart of the narrative. In the main storyline Creed and his dogs are tasked to seek out a research facility buried in a catastrophic landslide – and interleaved with that is an account of a US Senate enquiry into the unknowing exposure of army veterans and others to noxious substances in pursuit of ... yes, well, maybe best not to go there, but you get the picture.

Maggie O’Dell, FBI forensic expert and protagonist of Kava’s previous series, puts in more than a guest appearance when it turns out that one of the bodies unearthed during the rescue mission has been shot through the head. Her tingling relationship with Creed takes a step forward as her on-off relationship with army medic Benjamin Platt suffers damage when he is less than straight with her about the job she and Creed are doing. Both relationships are delicately handled, with plenty of potential for future development: one of Kava’s great strengths.

Kava also has a huge talent for evoking not only the chaos caused by extreme weather but also the way people respond to it. Some are willing to risk their lives to save others; some will go to any lengths to save their own skins.

Add in a nicely complicated plot around the buried research facility, and several dogs with personalities of their own, and you have a recipe for a page-turner which you’ll want to read at a sitting. And as if that wasn’t enough, there’s even a final kick which will make you shiver.

Silent Creed is an excellent follow-up to the first in the series, and promises well for future joint operations for Ryder Creed and Maggie O’Dell – though it may be best not to watch too many news bulletins while you read it.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

Alex Kava is the author of ten previous novels, eight of which feature her series heroine Maggie O'Dell. A former PR director, Alex dedicated herself to writing full-time in 1996.

Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.

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