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Monday 19 November 2018

‘Lost Creed’ by Alex Kava

Published by Sphere,
11 October 2018.
ISBN: 978-0-7515-7223-0 (PB)

Alex Kava's acclaimed Maggie O'Dell series took on a new lease of life a few years ago when she introduced Ryder Creed and his team of search-and-rescue dogs. Creed now has his own series, with O'Dell as a supporting player, and in their fourth and latest adventure the case under scrutiny comes rather too close to home.

O'Dell, a profiler and investigator with the FBI, is part of a team chasing down a paedophile ring, and a highly significant piece of evidence comes to light. It's a family photograph, fifteen years old – and the family is Ryder Creed's.

Creed's sister Brodie went missing when she was eleven, and his motivation for setting up his search-and-rescue business was an obsessive need to find her. She was snatched from a freeway rest stop (motorway service station to us Brits!) and every time he and his dogs are asked to find a body or a victim he walks on eggshells in case it is Brodie.

And now here she is in a photograph found in the possession of Eli Dunn, a man known to traffick young girls into prostitution.

Creed wants in. Against O'Dell's better judgement, he and his favourite dog Grace (herself one of the series's great personalities) join the team following a trail laid by Dunn, probably to find bodies, but it's not beyond possibility that they'll find a hideout where some girls are imprisoned. As in the previous books in the series, the tension ramps up as they hit one hurdle after another, and sparks fly between the two protagonists despite their best efforts to tamp down their feelings.

Creed's dog-training complex and the surrounding Florida woodland, Dunn's lairs and the Nebraska farming country, even a busy TV studio all come to life under Alex Kava's sure touch, as do a cast of supporting characters including Jason, Creed's trainee, Hannah his level-headed business partner, Olivia, the mother he hasn't seen in a decade, and not least the sinister and manipulative Eli Dunn.

Will they find Brodie? If they do, will Creed be taking her body home? Will the electricity between Creed and Maggie O'Dell flare into something deeper? Will he be reconciled with his mother? These are just a few of the many questions posed in the course of Alex Kava's adept storytelling. The biggest one for me was, will the series continue if the ongoing mystery of Brodie's disappearance is finally resolved? We have to hope so; Ryder Creed and his team of dogs, especially Grace, are far too riveting to waste on just four books.
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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