Reckless Creed (A Ryder Creed Novel Book 3) by Alex Kava

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Reckless CreedRyder Creed is called in to assist the sheriff in locating a missing girl. What they find is her body seemingly staged in the water with r rocks in her pockets. The sheriff assumes her death is a suicide. At the scene, Creed’s dog finds a couple of dead birds and because his dog had one of the birds in her mouth, he sends the birds to be tested. Meanwhile, in Chicago, Maggie O’Dell, an FBI profiler, has been called in to consult on a different death also initially believed to be a suicide. A man is found face down on the sidewalk after having jumped or fallen from his hotel balcony. He left behind a completely sanitized room except for massive amounts of blood spray. In yet another odd happening, hundreds of dying birds fall from the sky and hundreds of dead snow geese are found dead on a Nebraska lake that is a migratory stop. While reports of such massive die-offs of birds are not unheard of, it has authorities concerned. Also troubling, the autopsies of the girl in the South and the man in Chicago reveal that both were quite ill with a flu like infection.

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The two deaths and the dead bird plots twist and turn as their connection to each other becomes clearer. Along the way, readers find that O’Dell suspects a researcher who was presumed dead after a mudslide destroyed her lab may not be dead, and in fact may be behind the mysterious happenings. A young girl, alone and sick in New York City happens to see the news report about the dead birds in Nebraska and contacts the biologist who was interviewed. Through the young woman, the larger plot comes to light.

The story is told through frequent shifts in point of view. We follow Creed while he crash trains his dogs to detect viruses, Maggie while she tries to track the missing researcher, Maggie and others as they try to locate the ill girl in New York City, and finally the girl herself as she tries to keep herself not only alive, but as she tries to get her information to authorities. The point of view shift along with the short chapters keeps the story moving and builds a great deal of momentum.

The “Reckless” series with protagonist Ryder Creed who owns a K-9 Search and Rescue business is a spin off from the FBI profiler Maggie O’Dell series also written by Kava. O’Dell is still a major character in this series as it is from her that Ryder picks up his cases. I have not previously read any of the books from either series. This was not in any way a problem as much of back story was given to readers in passing throughout this book. I will be reading more of both series soon.