BREAKING CREED by Alex Kava

Breaking Creed
Alex Kava
Putnam Pub.
Jan. 27, 2015

Breaking Creed by Alex Kava is a fascinating mystery based around a serial killer who is being chased by an FBI agent and a retired Marine. In this new series Ryder Creed uses the dog handler skills he learned as a Marine in his current civilian job. Her other series has FBI behaviorist Maggie O’ Dell investigating horrid crimes.

Creed was introduced in Stranded, a book from Kava’s other series whose main character is FBI behaviorist Maggie O’ Dell. Although the Creed series is being billed as new, it is actually a spin off of the O’ Dell books. Kava noted that her two series, the O’ Dell and the Creed books, will overlap. “Each series will alternate between the main character and the supporting one, but both will have a strong role in the plots. They will not just make cameo appearances. Yet, respectively they will have their own secondary characters. The many different scenarios that I can get into is very exciting for me. Ryder is a different kind of investigative character. He does not carry a gun and is not an intricate part of the crimes scene investigation. I am able to add a new dimension to the plot.”

Readers will find Creed a very likeable but damaged character, who is trying to overcome PTSD. He does this with the support of his good friend, Hannah. He gains solace by taking in and training abandoned dogs to assist law enforcement. Hannah also helps the discarded, individuals who are runaways, abused women, and veterans that must try to overcome tragic circumstances, among them a former Marine, Jason. What makes these stories very interesting are the likeable characters, the chemistry between Ryder and Maggie, and the banter among Hannah and Creed. But the character that stole the show is Grace, a Jack Russell Terrier. She is feisty, scrappy, driven, and eager to learn.

In this story Creed and his dogs comb for drugs, become a search and rescue team for trafficked children, and help O’Dell find the dead victims of a serial killer. The story becomes very suspenseful, as Creed, O’Dell, and company must find the killer before he finds them. To add to the intensity Kava brings in creepy, crawling things, such as fire ants, scorpions, and snakes.

Kava gives a shout out to those in the military through many of her characters. Hannah’s husband, Creed, and Jason all served, although her husband was killed while deployed. The author always touches on an issue related to military personnel. In Breaking Creed she discusses PTSD while in her next book Kava will explore the suicide rate among veterans.

Breaking Creed has a very fast-paced and thrilling plot with many twists and turns. For any dog lover this is a must read. If not an animal lover, readers can also just enjoy the tough, smart, and dynamic characters of this series.

The author also gave a heads up about her next book, Silent Creed. It will continue the sexual tension between Maggie and Ryder as they work on a new case together. Kava is known for including among her antagonists non-human elements. With Silent Creed the threat comes from, not creepy things, but the environment.
The plot begins with a massive landslide in North Carolina. Creed and his canine partners are called in to help with the search and rescue of a facility that was destroyed by the landslide. Maggie is also brought in to investigate the facilities secret experiments involving viruses.

Elise Cooper

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