“The Finders” is about Mason Reid and his dog, four dogs actually. Reid owns a dog training school and does “on call” work for city. His dogs are named after country and western songs and are trained as HRD, human remains detection dogs, dogs that find dead bodies. In a first person narrative, Reid talks directly to readers, gives opinions on events, and shares reactions as he tells the story. He is dedicated to his dogs and describes their personalities, temperaments, and skills. He is down-to-earth and practical. He worries about everything, his obligations, and his outstanding bills. He needs money for dog food and rent, but some people do not pay for dog training, and his business is less than thriving. Into this mix comes a new addition, a dog rescued from the edge of death, now aptly named Elvira, and it turns out she has unexpected and exceptional detection skills.
Burton structured the narrative as a casual conversation, as if Reid is talking to a friend over coffee with plenty self-deprecating humor even in the midst of danger. After being slashed on his left forearm and shot in the left armpit, Reid comments, “Thank God I’m right-handed.” Alternating with Read’s narrative is the third person account by a man who lives in the blind spots. Readers get to know the self-named “Everyman,” and know him well. Everyman knows killing is easy; thirteen-year-old gangbangers do it all the time. Getting away with homicide is the tricky part, and he always gets away with it. Reid does not know the threat, the peril, or the evil that pursues him, but readers know.
Burton created a compelling story complete with lots of blood, conspiracy, and viciousness, but there are four dogs, so that makes up for it. Reid’s affection and devotion to his dogs takes one’s mind off all the trauma, and makes the book both compelling and enjoyable. I received a review copy of “The Finders” from Jeffrey B. Burton, St. Martin’s Press, and Minotaur Books. It balances the strict Chicago Police investigation of a very, very evil person, with a casual, laid-back pursuit of “Everyman” by Reid and friends. I enjoyed Reid and his dogs, and I hope to read more of their adventures.