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  • Mandy McHugh

The Keepers, Mace Reid K-9 Book 2, Jeffrey B. Burton: A Review

4.5 Stars I love sinking my teeth into a new series. I read The Finders earlier this year, and while it wasn't my favorite, I was a fan of Burton's writing style, and was happy to be approved for the second installment of the Mace Reid K-9 series.

Recovering from the events of Book 1, Mace is focused on training and taking care of his dogs. He's got a solid friendship-maybe-more working with CPD Officer Kippy Gimm, and he's settling into his routine, when a late-night call brings him to Washington Park. What he finds there is more than a body, and soon Mace, Kippy, and the dogs become entangled in a ring of corruption and murder that threatens to bring the city of Chicago to the ground--and put them six feet under. I really enjoyed this book. To start, this was a fast-paced yet literary read. I am a sucker for allusions, and I was not disappointed by Burton's references to other illustrious works, a feat that added depth to his characters and their motivations. I wanted a little more in terms of active dialogue (as opposed to explanatory prose), but it was cinematic and riveting in its entirety. Mace's voice was engaging and dynamic. Where I was a little put off by his behavior in the debut--he often struck me as much older and borderline offensive--I found him to be much more well-rounded and accessible this time around. I appreciated his gritty humor and sarcasm. His conversational tone felt authentic and brought strategic comedic relief to some tense situations. I pictured him more as a Gerard Butler or a Bosch, a little rough around the edges, but lovable, complex, and caring. I also appreciated his relationship with his dogs. Where animals are often seen as throw-away characters--used more to propel the plot of the protagonist than actual characters in their own right--here, we see them as smart, intuitive, and brave. They're given respect by not only Mace, but by the people he holds closest in life. They talk to them, account for their safety, and I genuinely loved to see that. My dog basically thinks he's a person, and I think any animal-loving reader is really going to relate to this aspect. His burgeoning relationship with Kippy Gimm and Wabs, too, felt much more successful here. They have a mutual respect, a friendship, and it was nice to see them looking out for each other rather than leaving their feelings surface-deep and abstract. Overall, The Keepers is an exciting, gripping, gritty crime thriller. I'd recommend for fans of The Wire, Bosch, or anyone who'd love to see cadaver dogs front and center of a suspense. Big thanks to Minotaur and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.

 

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