When LAPD detective Michael Gideon and his police-dog partner, Sirius, are assigned to the Special Cases Unit (SCU), Gideon knows their work lives will be anything but ordinary. SCU gets the cases no one else wants, the unusual and bizarre crimes that need special handling and special investigators. When a high-school student is found crucified in a local park, Gideon and Sirius must face up to the gruesome tableau and the motivation behind the murder. Complicating matters is a nightmare from their past, the scars of a terrible fire that nearly cost them their lives. The blaze left Gideon ravaged by PTSD - and yet somehow imbued him with an eerie prescience that gives him unusual insights into the crimes he investigates.
©2012 Alan Russell (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
Had I known this audiobook was peopled with Catholic characters including praying nuns I'd never have bought it. I thought an LA cop with a canine partner would be right up my street but I found him a rather sanctimonious character. Liked Sirius his dog though. I object to doses of religion in novels just as I lose all interest in series once the female lead reproduces and the novels become full of maternal outpourings. Give me Joe Pike, an extremely rare vegetarian central character bless him with no obvious religious beliefs and the sense of justice I heartily espouse. I shan't buy another in this series. The narrator did a fine job.
"Best book in a long time!"
Perfect, just perfect. Horrific beginning, as LAPD cop Michael Gideon and his police dog, Sirius, are trapped in a burning forest in pursuit of a killer. The killer shoots at them, hits Sirius, but Gideon forces the killer to help him carry the wounded dog out through a wall of flame. They all survive, the killer is sentenced, and becomes an eerie presence in the book. Both Sirius and Gideon are badly burned, but both go on to become the protagonists of what will -- I hope - become a new police procedural series for Alan Russell.
Burning Man is one of those "just five minutes more" books you can't find a place to stop listening. The cases Gideon and his "partner" Sirius get are fascinating -- a newborn baby abandoned on church steps, a teen-aged bully crucified on a tree in the park. There's a romantic interest, but just enough to make Gideon a real person. I like how Sirius is included in everything -- he's not a "sleuth", like some of the cat books, but not since Carol Lea Benjamin created PI Rachel Alexander and her pit bull companion 'Dash' has a dog played such a significant -- dare I say 'meaty'? Sirius is addicted to In 'N Out Burgers -- role in a book, and done it so well. Nothing cutesy here, just a really smart police dog with a brave and interesting human.
The narration is excellent -- thank Gd for a narrator who can pronounce California place names correctly! Couldn't be better.
Can't praise this book enough -- more, more!!
"The narrator ruined this book for me"
I managed to finish this book, but I was complaining all the way. Cummings does a find job reading the narration, but when it comes to dialogue this is without question the most irritating performance I have ever heard. When the hero talks, his humor is dated and lame, but it's made much worse by Cummings' sing-song delivery with every line being spoken brightly and enthusiastically and ending with an upward lilt, so that every bit of dialogue sounds like it's a question.
Worse, there is no emotion in any of the dialogue--a serious comment is treated with the same phoney enthusiasm as the hero's bad-joke quips.
As for characters other than the hero, they're even worse. Cummings seems to believe that all women speak in high, breathy voices. And every line they speak also sounds like it ends in a question.
I have heard Cummings before but don't remember his dialogue being this outrageously bad. Granted, the author's bad puns and lame humor don't help, but I'm pretty sure that if I'd been reading the written word, I wouldn't have found the cliches quite as irritating.
I bought the first and second books in the series at the same time, and will be reading book two on Kindle, but staying away from Cummings performance an audio.
Now, if only Audible had an alert that would allow readers to tag authors they dislike to avoid the possibility of buying one of their books again.
"Adequate mystery let down by narrator"
I liked the story, and in the hands of a good narrator, I think it had some nice potential. But unfortunately, Jeff Cummings was not the man for this job. Because of a serious lack of variety in voicing characters, he fails in setting the mood of tension and mystery this book demands. His delivery is flat and strangely pedantic for most of the minor characters. As a result, the story loses what little depth and texture it possessed, becoming as light and inconsequential as an hour of Hawaii Five O.
"Life renewed by fire."
I have always been fascinated by K9 dogs and teams. This was not disappointment. The relationship was one I would hope each team has. They went through so much with the fire that nearly killed them both, the haunting by the criminal they brought in and the life after recovery from burns and loss of his wife before the fire.
I very much like the main character voice and the drama was well played and not overdone. As so often a male voice does not do the females as well, but this was good.
His caustic humor make me smile and often laugh. I did love the relationship between the "partners" and later with his new lady. She handled his scars well and I very much liked that they were not ignored but dealt with. They read each other well.
This was a good cop story, K9, and over all bad guys investigations. The abandoned baby story line and his background was really good and emotional.
I would recommend either the print, ebook or audio book to anyone who likes mysteries, cops and especially K9 cops.
"I like this novel!"
This story is about LA cop Michael Gideon and his police dog Sirius, both of whom were badly burned in a fire with the two of them being the heroes. Gideon had already lost his wife to illness. As he fights back he is assigned to the Special Cases Unit. The special case in this book is a heart breaker. There is so much more to this wonderful novel. My only disappointment is with narrator Jeff Cummings. There has to be some job that he is better at than narrating audiobooks.
"Loved finding a new author to follow"
I wasn't sure about this book is was an impulse buy after reading a general description. I am glad I gave it a chance, I now anxiously await the sequel to this book.
Even though it is based on a fictional character the insight into what people go through after surviving a horrible accident.
Giving life to the characters from a different perspective than how they may sound in my head. Would listen to other books read by Jeff Cummings.
If given the time I would have listened to it in one setting, but I accomplished it in three. From start to finish there were no long dry periods where I lost interest.
The novel contains great and entertaining conversations. The story line is simple and straightforward. The reader did a great job as well.
"2nd by Alan Russell, but NOT the last I'll read!"
Didn't go in any sort of order, first listened to Guardians of the Night, and just finished Burning Man... can't wait to get all in the series. I love Russell's writing and wit; and couldn't have gotten a better narrator the Jeff Cummings to bring the story and that quit wit to the listener. Thank you to both!
"Review of Buning Man"
The narrator's voice bothered me enough that sometime it pulled me out of the story. He has a tendency to become nasal and made the protagonist sound snide. The protagonist has a wry, sarcastic sense of humor, but the narrator made it unbearable. And he made everything the love interest said sound like a come-on.
The opening scenes about the fire
I don't know enough about other narrators to make a knowledgeable suggestion
The story was interesting and well-paced. However, the narrator mispronounced several names of places and things making it hard to listen to at times.
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