When people ask Mason “Mace” Reid what he does for a living, they just do not understand why he trains dogs to hunt for the dead. Reid trains “human remains detection” dogs for the Chicago Police Department. He also testifies in court, so by necessity, he keeps detailed records of what he sees, what his dogs find, and everything of interest that happens along the way. Reid is casual, lighthearted, and informative as he talks to readers, but mostly he talks to himself and to his dogs. Alternating chapters present events and situations from other perspectives, giving a different view to the whole investigation and bringing out unsavory details that Reid does not yet know.
Readers get to know Reid and his procedures well, but readers really get to know the dogs; they are what he talks about the most. He does, however, have some significant personal issues. His ex-wife is engaged to a man Reid describes as a “Ken” doll. His past relationship with a fellow cop is on hold due to his own lack of commitment to her; their relationship, both with each other and with the dogs, evolves as the story progresses.
The focus of the story is, of course, the dogs and their intuition — what they find or do not find. The pace is steady, and the dogs prove their ability to find what people cannot. However, a dog’s identification alone does not a conviction make, so there is much to be done to prove the identity of the killer. Reid’s life becomes complicated, and the situation deteriorates into politics at its nastiest.
“The Keepers” is a captivating story with humor, comedy, and crime. I received a review copy of “The Keepers” from Jeffrey B. Burton, St. Martin’s Press, and Minotaur Books. It has a complex story, believable characters, and, of course, the dogs. “The Keepers” is the second book in the “Mace Reid K-9 Mystery” series. I recommend that new readers go back and read the first book in the series, “The Finders.”