Silent Creed, by Alex Kava. Putnam. 336 pages. Hardcover $26.95.
If you missed the opening title in this powerful new series, catch up by plunging right into this one. The action is nonstop, the suspense is wound tight, and the concerns of the plot, while they go back in time, are extremely timely.
Ryder has come to the scene of a huge landslide in North Carolina. A search and rescue dog trainer, his task is to set his animals on the trail of any people who might be buried and to save whomever can be found alive. Ms. Kava’s ability to smoothly blend fascinating details about this rescue process into her narrative is not the least of her skills.
Time is the enemy when people are buried in the mud and cannot extricate themselves. In fact, readers are not far into the story when Ryder himself almost becomes a victim of the continuing bad weather, especially the torrential flooding and the unsure footing. Surprisingly, Ryder just barely dominates this novel, as he is on several occasions unconscious or physically compromised. Fortunately, there are other major characters who hold our interest.
One of these is Ryders’s acquaintance, FBI agent Maggie O’Dell, who is sent to be the eyes on the spot for the civilian security establishment. The man she should report to, Logan, who served with Ryder in Afghanistan, is rarely to be found as matters get worse and worse. Sparks of attraction will fly between Ryder and Maggie, but will anything ignite?
Jason, Ryder’s assistant, is another well-crafted and highly original character. An amputee because of a war injury, Jason – like Ryder – must deal with PTSD and anger management to work effectively in society. His job with Ryder’s dog training enterprise is an opportunity to prove himself.
Nature can be hell, but as Ms. Kava makes clear, it is the human factor that is most demonic.
Guess what has been buried by the landslide. I’m counting . . . oh, you’ll never guess. It’s a secret government research facility charged with preparing to defend against chemical and biological warfare. Naturally, this means it has on hand the instruments of death for which antidotes must be developed. This facility, one of many spread around the country, does its work without clear oversight.
Rescuers discover that one of the recovered scientists died ahead of the landslide – shot. Is the landslide a literal cover-up for murder? A happy accident for people who have a lot to hide? Will more victims of murder be found entombed in mud?
To read the entire review, as it appears in the August 5, 2015 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the August 6 Naples and Bonita Springs editions, click here: Florida Weekly – Silent Creed