Guardians of the Night (A Gideon and Sirius Novel) - Alan Russell

This is the author's second book (following "Burning Man") featuring LAPD Detective Michael Gideon & his canine partner Sirius. It's been three years since they were both badly burned while apprehending "the Weatherman", a killer who continues to contact Gideon from prison.

Three years of medical treatments, physio & command performances for the media as the LAPD's poster boy. Now they're just relieved to be back at work as the sole members of the Special Cases Unit. The investigations that come their way vary depending on whether Gideon is on or off his superior's hit list.

Currently he's got two. The first concerns finding the mysterious man who heroically tackled a gunman threatening a school & promptly disappeared. Then there's the case of the murdered angel. Gideon is more than a little sceptical when a homeless man tells him he saw an angel struck down by bright lights in a back alley. But something about the guy compels Gideon to take him seriously & he starts to dig.

The trail leads him to Drew Corde, a high tech weapons developer who invents lethal toys for the DOD. He's an arrogant git with a God complex & not someone you want to cross. Gideon is not easily intimidated & what follows is a scary game of cat & mouse. As Gideon gets closer to the answers he knows Sirius has his back but at the eleventh hour, help comes from an surprising source. 

This is a fast paced, well written police procedural with a wide range of characters. Gideon's life revolves around girlfriend Lisbet, a smart & understanding graphic designer & Seth who is his best friend, next door neighbour & font of wisdom. And of course Sirius, who holds the distinction of being bilingual (Dog & German). There's an easy rapport among them that feels like real people who genuinely like each other.

Peripheral characters include cops, shifty businessmen & a cast of colourful, eccentric residents of the bohemian Venice Beach scene. 

But the heart of the book belongs to Gideon & his relationship with Sirius. He's a decent, intuitive guy who is good at his job but still haunted by the fire that changed his life. The scars on the outside are obvious. It's the ones on the inside that sneak up on him occasionally in the form of PTSD-induced nightmares. Luckily he has Sirius to pull him through. Gideon's dialogue is economical & infused with a dry wit. He's prone to being a bit of a smart ass, especially when dealing with superiors & I enjoyed the many musical & literary references. The author even has him make a joking comment about real life writer Robert Crais whose book "Suspect" features another human/canine pair of detectives. 

I really enjoyed this. The plot is tight & the main character someone you like immediately & can't help rooting for. The bond between man & dog is touching, one all animal lovers will be able to relate to.

By the end, Gideon has tied up most of the loose ends in both cases but realized he has some work to do in his personal life & I look forward to seeing where this leads him in the next book.