There’s something unusual about Vira. The young golden retriever, rescued from a near-death experience, isn’t your average lucky dog. The star of Jeffrey B. Burton’s debut novel The Finders appears to have a special gift. But will cadaver dog trainer Mace Reid and Chicago Police Officer Kippy Gimm realize this in time?
Readers can’t help but root for this cast of relatable, endearing, and brave characters–both human and canine–as they track down a deft and ruthless killer hiding in plain sight. Currents is joined again by Miss Lizzie, our canine mystery expert, as we explore the first of an exciting new series.
Currents: When Mace Reid gets a call from the local animal shelter about a young golden retriever whose been through trauma, it doesn’t take him long to realize there’s something special about her. Elvira–Vira for short–soon joins his human remains detection dog training program.
Miss Lizzie: Mace is an awesome human because he’s devoted to his canine family–and he understands that, while many of life’s problems can be solved with snacks, there are some that can’t. Each member of the team has a name from famous songs–mostly country music. I’m a Texas girl, so I like this. There’s Sue, the patriarch of the family, a black and tan German shepherd named for Johnny Cash’s Boy Named Sue, who–fair warning–will steal your heart. Then there are the sisters, Delta Dawn and Maggie Mae, short-haired farm collies. And of course, Vira, named for the catchy Oak Ridge Boy’s ditty, Elvira.
Currents: Enter Chicago Police Officer Kippy Gimm. The cop, who’d initially rescued Vira, arrives at Mace’s home to check on the golden retriever puppy. The connection between Vira and Kippy is clear. The dog trainer also senses something important about Kippy.
Miss Lizzie: What’s Mace recognizes is that Kippy doesn’t like dogs–she loves them! Kippy’s got sass and a kind heart, but she’s recovering from dumping a jerk. Also, Mace is still trying to get over his ex-wife. So, any early sniffing is out of the question.
Currents: Mace contracts with law enforcement for his team to provide crucial skills to the police that humans don’t have.
Miss Lizzie: As the author explains, some breeds have 300 million scent receptors, where humans have a paltry 5 million. Decomposing human remains release nearly 500 different chemical compounds, so we have to take the lead in these investigations. We can also detect human remains in the ruins of earthquakes, fires, as well as inside shallow graves. We can also track down elusive scents like dry bones. Hey, no jokes about giving a dog a bone–this is serious stuff. Look, I’m not bragging, just educating my readers. We’re awesome, but Vira, now, she’s exceptional!
Currents: After a young woman disappears while returning from the wedding of a sorority sister, Mace and his team must help police track an elusive killer cloaked in complete respectability. He’s average in every way: height, weight, and shape. He’s Everyman.
Miss Lizzie: Mace and Vira team up with Kippy to track clues to the killer’s identity. His anonymity makes this cruel killer all the more frightening. But they have Sue and the sisters with their superior senses, unlike humans. And most especially, Vira’s now part of their pack!
Currents: Soon, Mace begins to suspect he’s being watched by the killer. Late in the night, his suspicions are confirmed.
Miss Lizzie: I tell humans this all the time: trust your instincts. It’s a code we dogs live by. When Vira growls in the middle of the night, Mace knows to listen to her. He lives with dogs and respects our intelligence.
Currents: When Mace gets called to respond with his team to search for the possible body of a missing man, the location is familiar. The pine-filled park near Mace’s home is one he’s trained his dogs in before.
Miss Lizzie: Although Sue’s temporarily sidelined on the couch binging Netflix, it doesn’t take Vira, Delta Dawn and Maggie Mae long to complete their task. However, all their search training doesn’t prepare them for what they encounter. Fortunately for Mace, young Vira knows what to do, and leaps into action.
Currents: As Mace and Kippy close in on their suspect, Vira helps them make a horrifying discovery, which puts all of them in more danger.
Miss Lizzie: With Mace’s and Kippy’s lives in the hands of an evil human, Vira knows she must summon all her strength and courage to take command, or she could lose them both. Not only is she brilliant, Vira’s incredibly brave for such a six-month old. Good dog!
Currents: The Finders is an engaging mystery introducing readers to delightful characters who remind us of people we know and dogs we love. Vira and her family will be back in The Keepers, coming June 2021.
Miss Lizzie: I’m thrilled that I’ll be reading more of Vira and her awe-inspiring talents, as well as Sue, Delta Dawn, and Maggie Mae. Of course, I’m a hopeless romantic, so I’ll be rooting for Mace and Kippy. If you love dogs (and who doesn’t) and a great mystery full of twists, challenges, and danger, you’ll give The Finders four paws up! It's best read with a pup nearby to help you through the scary parts.
To learn more about The Finder, Vira, and author Jeffrey B. Burton, go to www.Jeffreybburton.com and follow him on Facebook.