“Silent Creed” by Alex Kava combines a riveting mystery, a backstory of military dog handlers, and rescue dogs. Anyone who loves canines and wants them highlighted in a storyline should read these novels. With a wonderful supporting cast of “human beings” these stories are informative, relevant, and suspenseful.
Ryder Creed is a dog handler who trains a variety of dogs to help out in tragic situations, either to find cadavers or rescue people. The author is able to capture the feel of rescue operations, including the urgency, danger, and how Mother Nature plays a role. The other dog handler, Jason, is an intern of sorts, using Ryder as his apprentice. Both these characters are former military and Kava delves into their experiences while fighting the War on Terror. She highlights how dogs can be used to support those heroes who sometimes have suicidal thoughts. A quote from the books nails the feelings, “You take a dog in, you earn his trust, his unconditional love… I understood you’d be around to take care of him (Scout, the black lab puppy.)”
With each story Kava tries to highlight different types of canines. Ryder works closely with his rescue dog Bolo, a sturdy Rhodesian ridgeback because this breed could withstand heat and the damp cold, never alarmed by the weather conditions. Grace, the featured character of the last book, a Jack Russell Terrier, does not help in this rescue, being too small. However, she was brought into the story mid-way as an emotional support for Ryder. There was also a shout out to Scout, a black lab puppy. Kava stated, “He was named after my dog who I lost last year. He has a lot of the characteristics of my Scout. I even dedicated the first book in the series to him. The main characters have to be the dogs. I’m a dog lover. I’ve surrounded myself with dogs my entire life, some of which have been rescues. I’ve had as many as six in my pack at one time. Each and every one of them has been a special member of my family.”
In this book a devastating mudslide in North Carolina has Ryder and his dogs attempting to find survivors. As the search and rescue intensifies it becomes evident that there are secrets hidden under the mud and sludge. Because some of the bodies found were killed not by Mother Nature, but by gunshots, FBI Agent, Maggie O’ Dell is assigned to investigate why people were being murdered at this top-secret government research facility. It becomes apparent that someone is trying to control the investigation of the murders, which leads Ryder, Maggie, and the dogs on a perilous mission.
A word of warning, although there are some facets of the plot that are resolved, there is another that is a cliff hanger, as in a TV show where the viewer has to wait for the next installment. This piece, the medical experiments about a deadly virus, is the main plot line for the next book, Reckless Creed. The author did a lot of research including finding out “that there are dogs that can accurately detect cancer in patients. In the next book Ryder will use those training methods of detection. I left a piece of the plot up in the air on purpose. As a reader myself I enjoy books that have an element of ‘what will happen next.’”
“Silent Creed” has an intense storyline along with details about rescue operations, the difficulties faced by returning military personnel, and the importance of dogs in people’s lives. Anyone who loves dogs should read these books.