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October 2016

Book Review Broken Trust by W.E.B. Griffin and William Butterworth IV

The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

Broken Trust by W.E.B. Griffin and his son William E. Butterworth IV has many relevant themes intertwined within an action packed plot. This Badge Of Honor Series offers a lot of insight into the lives and challenges of the police. With officers being threatened all across this country this book is a very welcome read.

The plot begins when Philadelphia Homicide Sergeant Matt Payne sees a shootout while off duty. Known as “Wyatt Earp of the Main Line,” he becomes actively involved even though he is recuperating from a serious gunshot wound. He finds that there is a link between the shootout and a young socialite, Camilla Rose Morgan. When she supposedly falls to her death Matt’s investigation ratchets up. Did she jump, fall, or was pushed? The more Matt digs, the more complications he discovers including that Camilla suffered from bi-polar disorder. He is determined to find the answers even though the Philadelphia political elite wants to throw him under the bus.

All of these series written give a shout-out to so many who put their lives on the line, those in the clandestine series, the military, and the police. William noted to blackfive.net, “All these groups are sworn to protect and serve. I told dad that he was one of the first writers, in the early 1980s, to come out with a positive story on the military after the Vietnam War. I think the Brotherhood Of War series was so successful, because finally people who deserved to be written about bought these books. Likewise when he started the Badge Of Honor series about the police. He even spoke to the Philadelphia police force to tell them how much they are respected. We write about good and decent people doing an honorable job.”

A very potent scene in the book shows how the Philadelphia Mayor, Jerry Carlucci, wants to railroad Matt for political expediency. When asked, William told of a real scenario that made a lasting impression on him. “In Chicago a policewoman was horribly beaten and when asked why she did not shoot the perpetrator her reply, ‘I did not want to be the one in the next Black Lives video.’ They no longer go on instinct but feel they must think through their actions. Unfortunately, I do not see it getting better anytime soon.”

They even did a shout-out to the wounded warriors. He recounts after “My dad and I visited Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio. We had, Amanda, Matt’s Fiancé, decide to go there for a few months to do an emergency medicine residency program. This is one of the premier places that handle burn and trauma as a result of the wars and the IEDs. My dad and I wanted to write about what we experienced when we went there: the incredible inner strength, determination, and perseverance of the patients. We were taken back by their attitude, ‘the harder it gets; the tougher we get.’ After all they’ve been through they still would do anything to get back to serving with their brothers and sisters in uniform. It is awe-inspiring and humbling.”

Readers also get a word of warning after a cell phone rings with an “unknown” number and the person does not leave a message. How many people have had that happen to them? The author has his own rule about this, “if I do not recognize a number, I do not answer it. I will only call back if someone leaves a message. If you answer it you set yourself up for possible robo calls. Once, I got an unrecognizable number where a message was actually left saying ‘This is the IRS and you are not in compliance with your taxes. You must call this number.’ I decided to play it out. After I called I got a male with a foreign accent. I asked for proof that they were the IRS. After going back and forth I hung up. So many people would call them and have their credit cards sucked dry. It is important to understand nothing is as it appears anymore. You cannot take anything at face value.”

Broken Trust is very realistic. Unfortunately this fiction parallels what is happening today. It is a very action-packed and suspenseful, but also allows readers to get a glimpse of those in the police.


Book Review Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn

The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

Ever since Theodore Herzl had the vision to re-establish a Jewish State, Israel became a prominent player on the world stage. To put it in perspective, this country is one-tenth the size of the state of Texas and has a population one-third of Texas. Yet, it plays a far more central role in world affairs than its tiny size might normally dictates. A book recently published explores Israel’s history, and how it succeeded in the face of insurmountable odds.

Daniel Gordis in his book Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn speaks of the founding of Israel as “a fairy tale. Israel is a story of a homeless people that kept a dream alive, of a people’s redemption from the edge of the abyss, of a nation forging a future when none seemed possible.” While he recounts its history, readers begin to understand that Israel has become a blending of democracy and tradition with far more prosperity than anyone expected from it.

He stated to blackfive.net, “I wanted to show of the many countries that were created in the twentieth century, Israel is one of the very few that was founded as a democracy that has remained democratic. This would be impressive in its own right, but it is even more astonishing when we consider the fact that the vast majority of Jews who immigrated to Israel, from Russia, Arab countries, etc, came from countries without a democratic tradition. There was this unwavering determination of Israel’s founding generation to be part of the Western world.”

The book opens with a quote by Mark Twain that summarizes Anti-Semitism throughout the centuries. What Gordis does well is show how Israel sprang from the effort to ensure the safety and flourishing of the Jewish people. It appears that Anti-Semitism in Europe is never ending. In the late 1800s Theodore Herzl came up with the idea of a Jewish state to shelter the Jewish people from the European abhorrence. This hatred culminated in the Holocaust. Fast-forward to today where Jews are once again fleeing Europe. Gordis noted, “In 2016, about 70 years after the end of the Holocaust, the world is much less changed than we had hoped. And Israel is the only country in the world that as a matter of law guarantees Jews on the run both refuge and citizenship. The State of Israel was created first and foremost to ensure the safety and flourishing of the Jewish people.”

But what role has American Jews played over the years? Many were ambivalent about supporting a Jewish state. Gordis explains, “American Jews feared that if they supported the idea of a Jewish state they would be accused of having dual loyalties.”

A further wedge in the relationship between Israel and American Jews occurred with the capture of Adolf Eichmann who was the Nazi in charge of the death camps. Gordis told American Thinker that it was David Ben-Gurion, the father of modern Israel, who best summarized the conflict, “Now I see it argued, by Jews among others, that Israel is legally entitled to try Eichmann but ethically should not do so because Eichmann’s crime, in its enormity, was against humanity and the conscience of humanity rather than against Jews as such. Only a Jew with an inferiority complex could say that; only one who does not realize that a Jew is a human being.”

Gordis recounts how American college students are conflicted over the issue with Palestinians. “American Jews often appear paralyzed, ostrich-like, intimidated, or otherwise ill-equipped to make Israel’s case beyond simple clichés. Some American students asked, aren’t Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands, to blame for the conflict? I asked if they knew what year the occupation started, or the circumstances in which it did. I figured we should quickly review the history, which is one reason I wrote the book.”

Gordis shows how Israel has battled the odds for decades. He feels that a quote from the book after the Six Day War can apply today. “The Jewish state had more than survived. Betrayed by the French, put off by the Americans, and rattled by the Russians, Israelis had been left entirely on their own. Gone are the days when Jews would cower in fear. Israel has triumphed over boycotts, attacks, threats, invasions, and isolation. People should be in awe of what has been accomplished, becoming a cultural, economic, and military powerhouse.” 51Lsc0BkMjL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

Book Review Without Mercy by Jefferson Bass

The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

Without Mercy is from the writing team of Jon Jefferson and Dr. Bill Bass. Jefferson is the writer and Dr. Bass is the forensic anthropologist and creator of the Body Farm.

Jon Jefferson noted to blackfive.net, “Brockton is a cheerier protagonist than those in most crime novels. I drew directly from my collaborator, Dr. Bill Bass. He does not solve crimes, but is also a researcher and a scientist. He advanced the state of forensic science. We want people to enjoy the plots but also learn from every book about bone detection. We try to instruct and delight.”

The two plots have Dr. Bill Brockton investigating a bizarre murder, while confronting a deadly enemy. Called to a remote mountainside he finds a ravaged set of skeletal remains chained to a tree. This shocking case reveals a hate crime where the person was eaten by a bear after having bear bait spread over them. The other plot brings back serial killer Nick Satterfield who wants to make Brockton suffer. Fans of the series should recognize Satterfield from the novel, Cut To The Bone. In that book Satterfield blames Dr. Bill for ruining his career. After Brockton comes forward about a woman strangled, Satterfield received a dishonorable discharge. Feeling it is personal he seeks revenge. Brockton must solve the hate crime, while handling the dangers to himself and his family.

Unfortunately the authors go off on a tangent, which distracts from this suspenseful murder mystery. They insert their own political agenda into the storyline. Readers will feel they are being hit over the head with the feelings and opinions of the authors, something completely unnecessary. During a few scenes they seemed to have moved away from what made these books stand out: the interplay of academic anthropology, collaboration between the FBI, TBI, and local law enforcement, and the relationships between the characters.

The movie The Revenant also plays a role in this book. When asked why, Jefferson commented, “We had already started writing the book when the movie came out. Since it talks about the Arikara Indians, I thought ‘how perfect.’ Bill Bass spent thirteen summers early in his career excavating the Arikara Indian burial grounds out of the Great Plains in South Dakota. The book and movie had two parallels, a bear attack and the Indians.”

The book also has Brockton’s long time assistant, Miranda Lovelady, preparing to depart for a possible job at the FBI. Jefferson believes “everything is up for grabs. It is possible this is the last book in the series. It is also possible Miranda will be spun off in her own series working for the FBI. I do have a friend working as a forensic anthropologist there. She said she would let me borrow from her life. But first I must finish my own thriller with new characters and new settings out next year.”

Without Mercy was riveting enough and there was no need for the authors to inject their personal agenda. Because it is an interesting storyline if the transgressions are too much, skip them.


Book Review Drone Threat by Mike Maden

The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

Drone Threat by Mike Maden is not just a thriller, but a thought provoking book. The theme is so realistic it is ripped from the headlines, questioning the use and danger of drones. Within an action packed plot readers will be confronted with the use of drones in war and civilian life.

Former CIA Special Forces operative Troy Pearce returns. Now the CEO for Pearce Systems, a leader in Drone technology, he is asked by the President to head Drone Command, a new covert department that runs on black ops funding with little oversight. Almost simultaneously with Pearce taking command, a series of drone attacks are carried out on American soil: a subway train in Washington DC, an airport in Texas, and water contamination in California. The most serious attack was a drone landing on the White House lawn demanding President Lane hang the ISIS black flag over the White House or suffer the coming consequences. With American lives at stake and an economy in a downward spiral, Pearce and his team must find a way to expose the terrorists and take them out before it’s too late. 

Maden told blackfive.net he wanted this theme to be a warning, “Technology is getting better and better, cheaper and cheaper. They are amazing devices, but are only as good or evil as the people that have them. One of the reasons why I wrote Drone Threat was to highlight the fact that commercial off the shelf hobby store drones can also be deadly. The primary advantages of the lower tech, smaller payload civilian systems is that they are easy to acquire, operate, and difficult to locate because of their size. These highly capable and yet inexpensive systems are begging to be weaponized. About two weeks ago this happened when ISIS converted a small cheap commercial model by fitting an improvised explosive device that injured two French paratroopers and killed two Kurdish soldiers. We should expect more of these kinds of attacks including here in America.”

Beyond the theme of drones Maden also explores the psyche of Pearce, a heroic American warrior, and the horrific mistreatment of women by ISIS. Through these issues the former President Margaret Myers is interjected into the plot. She does not have much of an active role in this book except to be the supportive mate of Pearce, since they are now in the early stages of a relationship.

Pearce is suffering from traumatic brain injury from his days in combat. He has anger issues, nightmares, and at times wants to withdraw from the world. Maden wanted to acknowledge those US warriors “who serve in combat and pay a big price for that. I reflected their wounds in Troy. The human body does not take numerous blows to the skull without taking a toll. Although Troy is a fictional character he represents on some level the brave men and women on the front lines fighting the war on terror.”

Something that gets very little play in the mainstream press is the treatment of women and how ISIS captures girls that they force to become sex slaves, selling them to the Saudis. There are some scenes, which are very descriptive and saddening regarding the abuse and how no one seems willing to help. A book quote, “A dozen women sat cowering on the floor, their faces covered by hijabs. But their downcast eyes told all, dazed and red with tears. Some were even blackened.”

In all of his books Maden always shows the political maneuvering and through Pearce’s eyes readers see why many politicians should be distrusted. In this book he confronts the issue of lobbyists and the power they can yield. Pearce’s disgust comes through in his thoughts, “Washington’s famous revolving door between government service and the lobbying agencies made him sick to his stomach. More than a hundred formerly registered lobbyists now served on congressional staffs...Worse, more than four hundred former Congressmen and Senators were now highly paid lobbyists.” What Maden hopes to show is that these lobbyists are more concerned with their own pockets than American Security. “There is no accountability or penalty. How can we regulate out of corruption? Politicians who leave office can leverage their Congressional relationships and influence into multimillion-dollar second careers.”

  61r-YDuGqOL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Drone Threat exposes the dangers of drone technology as well as politicians. With a plot filled with action, intrigue, and political maneuvering, it is a very powerful read.

Book Review Crime Plus Music

The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

Crime Plus Music edited by Jim Fusilli is a collection of twenty darkly intense music related noir stories. Best-selling authors such as Peter Robinson, Craig Johnson, Alison Gaylin, and Reed Coleman along with many others combine their mystery skills with their music interests. Blackfive.net interviewed some of these authors.

Jim Fusilli, a crime author and the Wall St. Journal’s rock/pop critic, thought an anthology involving the themes that link his professions would be interesting. The chronology of the authors’ chapters showed a sweep of emotions and avoided putting similar stories together. He hoped readers would be exposed to new authors and would get twenty different perspectives involving the world of music; although his role was to provide consistency among the stories.

It is not uncommon for crime fiction writers to weave music into their stories with Peter Robinson coming to mind. Although his novels have the main character, Detective Alan Banks listening to some type of music, this short story, The Blackbird, does not include him. In the short story, the main character Tony Foster, a musician, is a loner until he met Connie, but unfortunately drugs destroyed their relationship, a subject that comes up a lot when speaking of rock music.

Robinson commented he did not have a Banks story in mind and wanted a modern version of the Greek Music G-d. Because the Blackbird had a gimpy wing “I had the main character imitating this bird. Connie led a Bohemian life and I had the crime involving a drug overdose. What I realized part way through the story was how my thoughts went to the Paul McCartney song ‘Blackbird,’ with the lyrics ‘Blackbird singing in the dead of night.’ Using that and combining crime with horror I created this story.”

Regarding his own short story, Boy Wonder, Fusilli wanted to explore the contemporary electronic dance music world. His character’s Hollywood-type mother wanted her son to become a famous music star, something she always dreamed of. What would win, his soul or the executive scumbags?

The plot has a boy, Bowie Thomas, from a small town in Michigan coming to Los Angeles. His choice: to pursue art versus commerce. Fusilli had “The mother name her child after the rock star David Bowie. At the time of writing I did not know David Bowie was going to die. I was quite fond of him so if it is in some way a tribute to him that is kind of wonderful. I wanted to write about the conflict between art and commerce. I find the commercialism of popular music very disturbing.”

Another story by Reed Coleman is about a one-hit wonder and explores how organized crime is big part of the music industry. Look At Me/Don’t Look At Me has Terry James Lake as a folk/R & B singer. His manager, Carla Saroyan, sold his rights to some disdainful people and they required him to go on this disco dance show, lip singing his hit or there would be dire circumstances.

Based on an incident Reed remembers from his childhood, this story was something he had on the back burner for quite awhile. He spoke of an incident “in the 1970s on the show Dance Fever, a disco dancing show. One Saturday night I was watching an appearance by Johnny Rivers, a 60s recording song. I thought it odd he would appear on this type of show. He looked so uncomfortable and out of place lip singing his famous song, Secret Agent Man. I included the real fact that music in the 60s and 70s were controlled by the mob, bringing into the story gangsters.”

The story by Alison Gaylin is centered on the punk scene. Using the band X’s lead singer, Exene Cervenka as a model, she wrote about a strong-willed singer. The song mentioned in the short story, Johnny Hit and Run Paulene, is about a man who begins attacking women after taking a drug that makes him need to have sex every hour on the hour.

Gaylin thought about this song she heard, while in high school. “It is such a bizarre song with a creepy meaning. It is about a fictional drug that makes a man want to have sex every hour. The story, All Ages, has Lara Ramsey, wanting closure as she gets her revenge. It's a great basis for a female revenge story.”

Craig Johnson is one of the few writers who actually used his main character Walt Longmire in this story, Unbalanced. The Sherriff gives a young woman a ride as he heads to the airport to pick up his daughter. This troubled young woman tells him her story with the CD of Merle Haggard playing in the background.

He noted, “Since Merle had just died I wanted this story to be a shout out to him. I really felt the song was the connection between the story and the characters. This was a story I really wanted to write.”

Crime Plus Music has most of the stories with unhappy endings. Anyone who likes to read short stories will enjoy reading how the music is blended into a mysterious plot. 51vGm4nYTjL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Book Review The Will To Lead by Anders Fogh Rasmussen

The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

51E-tdk5VCL._SX345_BO1,204,203,200_The Will To Lead by Anders Fogh Rasmussen details why America has an indispensable role in the global fight for freedom. Having served as Denmark’s Prime Minister and Secretary-General of NATO he knows the importance of having a US President that leads from the front and not from behind.

The book starts off with an impassioned plea to Americans that someone needs to be elected in the spirit of Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan. He speaks of how “President Truman showed strong leadership and effective conduct by establishing the world order that for nearly seven decades secured an unprecedented peace, development, and wealth. President Kennedy came to stand as a beacon for the free world with his energetic and eloquent communication. And President Reagan led the United States and the world to victory and freedom over Communism and oppression by his firm conviction of American exceptionalism.”

Critical of President Obama, he sees the need for a strong President who is not afraid to restore order. The downsizing in Europe, the Iraq withdrawal, and the hesitation in Syria are just a few examples cited to show President Obama’s inability to stand up to his adversaries. He concludes, “the US must be everywhere to make sure they can uphold the world created after the Second World War.”

This includes President Obama’s decision to pull the troops out of Iraq in 2011. Rasmussen emphatically believes before the US troop pullout “it was relatively quiet and stable. Then the US left Iraq and its Prime Minister, Maliki, marginalized the Sunni community, which allowed for ISIS infiltration. As I said in the book, ‘Communication should not just be words, but should be backed up with decisive actions and visible leadership.’ We need to understand democracies must be defined as not just organizing elections and having majority votes, otherwise we end up with another dictator under the guise of a democracy. There must be protection of minorities, the rule of law, and human rights.”

Rasmussen told blackfive.net that President Obama’s strategy has emboldened Russia, making the world more dangerous and unstable. “Russia is now threatening her neighbors in Europe, primarily the Ukraine and Georgia. The political and strategic goal of Russia, part of President Putin’s ambition, is to restore Russian greatness. He feels he could get away with these attacks because American has reduced its presence and interests in Europe. President Obama has sent a very dangerous signal to the autocrats and terrorists in the world. Basically Putin exploited how people can get away with terrible acts without any consequences.”

The book has a poll that states the majority of Europeans are against the use of military force to defend an ally, a direct contradiction to the very foundation of NATO. When asked about it, he commented, “I disagree that NATO is obsolete as Mr. Trump has said. On the contrary, NATO is just as important as it was during the Cold War. It is more important than ever thanks to President Putin’s aggression. People must realize the security environment and Europe has drastically changed. We must adapt to this threat. I do agree that the Europeans should invest more in defense and our common security. All twenty-eight NATO allies pledged to invest at least 2% in defense. Today only five live up to that, but this year Europeans will invest much more than last year, and hopefully within a decade they will reach this benchmark.”

The theme of the book, The Will To Lead, has America once again becoming the world’s policeman. He concludes that starting from WWII up until President Obama, US presidents were committed to internationalism. He hopes that whoever becomes America’s next president, “they will have a bi-partisan approach to foreign policy, and serve America’s self interest by leading and not retreating from world affairs.”

Book Review Vince Flynn's Order To Kill by Kyle Mills

The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

Order To Kill by Kyle Mills is a vintage Vince Flynn book. It is a reminder of the early Rapp novels with Mitch going full circle between his personal and professional life. Readers who enjoyed the character and plot lines will think of Transfer Of Power and Consent To Kill. Kyle has done a top-notch job of blending the beloved characters of Irene Kennedy and Mitch Rapp with a high adventure, action packed plot.

This book brings back former Navy SEAL Scott Coleman who is working with Mitch trying to find Pakistani nukes so they do not fall into terrorist’s hands. As the story progresses it becomes abundantly clear that Russia’s President, Maxim Vladimirovich Krupin, is working with ISIS terrorists to destabilize the oil resources in the Middle East. The only way to find the culprits and stop these catastrophic consequences is for Mitch to pose as an American ISIS recruit in Iraq, while trying to find and eliminate his nemesis, Grisha Azarov.

Kyle Mills has come into his own. He expands the setting, introduces new characters, and yet is able to stay true to the characters and details created by Vince Flynn. Unlike last year where Mills was tasked with finishing a plot partially written by Vince, with this story he had full creative range and the final outcome is excellent. It is almost that he is one with the characters.

In this book Mitch harkens back to the person he was in the early Rapp books, no longer full or rage and living in a darkened world. Readers will now see Rapp as someone who realizes he is comfortable with his professional life and can possibly have a personal life as well. Kyle brings back Claudia, the woman who was married to Gould, the psychopath whose ambition was to kill the great Mitch Rapp. It is open ended if Claudia and Mitch will have some kind of relationship, but she is much more compatible than Anna, Mitch’s late wife. Having been in the business herself she can participate in the activities and understands what Mitch’s responsibilities must encompass.

Irene Kennedy continues to be an imperative player in the story in the role of the CIA Director, Mitch’s confidante, and the person who is able to connect the dots. She is important in being the focal point for understanding the issues presented in the book. Mitch depends on her to make the hard decisions.

Kyle commented to blackfive.net, “I see Irene as a pivotal piece in everything that happens in the books, even if sometimes she does not get as much ink as Mitch. I always think of her as the puppet master. By her own admission she is not involved but watches and waits until it becomes necessary for her to be involved.”

Although Vince concentrated on one area of the world, the Middle East, Mills skillfully has expanded the geo-political domain. Still incorporating terrorism within the plots he also shows how the US cannot be one dimensional in confronting its enemies that include Jihadists, Russia, North Korea, and China. Russia is seen as a one-man show, where Krupin (Putin) is more concerned about his own power and influence, using the Oligarchs as a crime syndicate organization. Kyle shows the desperation of Krupin, how Russia is the poster child for income inequality, and is ridden with drugs.

Finding Russia as an interesting adversary, Kyle wanted to “draw upon the complexities of Cold War thriller books, having been a fan of Tom Clancy and Robert Ludlum. The description in the book of how Krupin came to power comes straight out of how Putin came to power. In many ways Russia is a collapsing country with an economy smaller than Italys’. The minute he does not help the Oligarchs he is in trouble and can find a bullet in his head. There is a lot to draw upon for US thriller writers. The chessboard is getting very complicated. In this book I had Russia using ISIS as well as the dangers of the countries with nuclear arsenals. Putin uses them for his own purposes, and Pakistan is an unstable country, a failed state.”

Fans of the legendary Vince Flynn were unsure if Kyle Mills could fill his shoes with the well-developed characters and plots. They loved and hated the month of October. Loved it because a new Mitch Rapp novel came out and hated it because they would have to wait another year for the next one. With Order To Kill, readers will get those same feelings. It appears the torch has been passed to Kyle Mills. 51LKeoo9pwL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_


BOOK REVIEW: Reckless Creed by Alex Kava

The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

Reckless Creed by Alex Kava combines an intense mystery with characters that are relatable and likeable. The added bonus of these stories is that readers get a glimpse into the responsibilities and duties of search dogs and their handlers.

Kava got the idea for the series from speaking with the head of the forensic science department. “We were talking about cadaver dogs. I always wanted to write a story featuring dogs, because I have loved them my entire life. In my other series that features FBI Agent Maggie O’Dell I introduced Ryder Creed and his search dog Grace. After writing them I fell in love with the characters and wanted to have them in a series of their own. I feel like I am a kindred spirit with Ryder since we both would be so content to just live in the company of dogs.”

The book begins in Chicago when a former military man supposedly jumps to his death. Because he had a brain injury most people suspect it was a suicide. Meanwhile in New York a sickly woman is given instructions to come into contact with as many people as possible. Throughout the states, other people are disappearing and getting killed. Called into investigate these suspicious circumstances, FBI Agent Maggie O’ Dell must decide if its suicide or some contagious illness, while Ryder Creed and his dogs are searching for a lost girl. As the novel progresses, it becomes evident that these supposedly unrelated incidents are connected. They race to find the source of the killer before many more become infected.

The main character, Ryder Creed, has made the transition from working with K-9s in Afghanistan to find IEDs, to his civilian life business. Currently, he has a business that uses search dogs for rescue and detection. Because he suffers from PTSD and understands the need to help his fellow soldiers he pays special attention to issues that affect himself and his peers.

Since Kava has given many of these dog handlers a military background she always gives a shout out to an issue facing those who have served. She noted to blackfive.net, “In this novel I wanted to highlight the issue of suicide among those who have and are serving. I write about military issues because I feel strongly about them, and it is not something we often hear about. I hope I do not sound like I am getting on a soap box so I try it incorporate it into the plot through the character’s personality traits. I have made sure most of the characters have some military connection.”

What makes this book stand out is how Kava utilizes realistic scenarios to make the plot very believable. The main theme involves the threat of biological terrorism and the dangers to the population. It brought home how a terrorist could be a suicide bomber using a virus instead of a vest. They infect innocent civilians by coughing or sneezing on others. Unaware they have become carriers people spread the disease.

What really frightens Kava is that besides the terrorist threat, “there is also the threat from accidents. Research labs with these deadly viruses are sloppy with few regulations and standards. One example had lab mice infected with something and they escaped. Another example, is that cattle given a vaccine were sent to slaughter for human consumption. I am afraid it might take an outbreak for people to learn how to deal with these dangers. How much collateral damage will there be? What surprises me is how unprepared we are for such a crisis.”

Readers also will discover how dogs are used to identify diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and C-diff through the changes made to a body’s organic compounds, gases, and scents. Kava noted, “Having read an article about dogs detecting diseases, I made the leap that they could detect viruses. They can detect lung, prostate, and ovarian cancers with accuracy. Their brain is dedicated to analyzing odors and it can separate scents. I learned about a boy who has diabetes. His trained dog can detect and alert his family when he needs insulin. I think this is remarkable. But one-third of the way through the book I started thinking if dogs were used to detect deadly viruses could they be exposed? We do know that in 2015 in the Midwest there was an outbreak of a dog flu that was believed to originate from the deadly bird flu. The good news is that a vaccine was developed.”

Reckless Creed is a riveting story of what can happen in a biological terrorist attack. Anyone who loves dogs will enjoy these characters, but beyond that everyone can see the importance of dogs in people’s lives. Kava does a great job in setting a tone of immediacy with the plot and characters. 51Yk3gHQg1L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_