Fourth book in series is family drama

By: 
Jan Jones
Columnist

Award winning author Alex Kava has crafted at least 17 gripping stories. Many feature FBI profiler Maggie O’Dell and search-and-rescue professional Ryder Creed. “Lost Creed” takes us to the dark and terrible world of human trafficking.

Sixteen years ago, 11-year-old Brodie Creed disappeared from a rest area on Highway 80 in Nebraska. That event destroyed the Creed family, but her older brother Ryder has never stopped searching for his sister.

At 18, Ryder had enough and enlisted in the Marines. Ryder was working as a K-9 handler in Afghanistan when an explosion ended his military career. Once settled in Florida, Ryder uses his deep respect and love of dogs to establish a business training dogs and damaged veterans to work together in search-and-rescue missions.

Along the way, Ryder acquired a savvy business partner/mentor named Hannah. She runs the sprawling compound, but more importantly, she keeps Ryder’s mental health on track.

Ryder is in the final phase of training Jason Seaver and Scout. The pair does very well, but Ryder needs Jason to put more trust in Scout’s abilities. (Later we learn that by trusting Scout, Jason finds the body of a missing child hidden in her mother’s chest freezer.)

A call from Maggie O’Dell suddenly changes Ryder’s focus. Her team has raided a remote farmhouse in Nebraska and arrested the owner, Elijah Dunn, for human trafficking. When they find the place sanitized, O’Dell and Detective Tommy Pakula know that Dunn was tipped off. Dunn insists on working with O’Dell, saying that he isn’t sure if Brodie was sold or buried.

O’Dell knows it is risky, but asks Ryder to bring his “super-sniffer” terrier, Grace, to Nebraska to look for the victims taken from the house. Between what Dunn tells her and his coded notebook, it doesn’t take long to find the first body submerged in a lake.

Things go very wrong when the search takes them to a field. Grace alerts on where they find the body of an animal. As a trooper removes it, the animal explodes. Someone booby-trapped the burial site.

In the chaos, Dunn is shot by the sheriff. Now they will never know more about the missing victims.

As this search is taking place, a girl named Charlotte has just been moved to “the Christmas house,” the last stop before she is disposed of. Charlotte has no sense of time, but knows she’s been captive for years, enduring drugged stupor, starvation, beatings and deprivation.

As the drugs leave her system, Charlotte finds notes from previous victims. Her strong will to live returns. She finds the hidden scissors and stabs her captor, but will anyone find her before it is too late?

Detective Pakula does a property search and uncovers other people and properties near Dunn’s farm. Soon Pakula and a wide-ranging team raid all the properties. Miraculously, Pakula finds Charlotte alive, leading to an astonishing revelation.

The case has sparked Ryder’s need to help others learn the fates of their missing loved ones. While he continues to work with disaster and war recoveries, we know that trafficking victims will be his new focus. The endings may not all be happy, but at least he can offer closure.

As much as we long for happy endings, we know that isn’t the way life works. The shelves of your public library are filled with all kinds of life stories worth reading. Go this week so you can check it out.

AT A GLANCE

Book: Lost Creed (Ryder Creed K-9 Mysteries, Book 4)

Author: Alex Kava

Publisher: Prairie Wind Publishing

Year published: 2019

Number of pages: 310