Death Scent by SV Wolf
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Genre: Mystery - Native American Folklore
I received this book through netgalley.com - it was released in April 2012
Synopsis: Titan is a Death Dog (trained to detect human remains), belonging to an undisclosed sect of the Shawnee Nation, which provides special services to the highest levels of U.S. Law Enforcement. The sect members all possess superior skills, most involved with the tracking and sometimes killing, of the most grievous of perpetrators. Titan though is not only a specially trained dog, he also possess supernatural abilities such as seeing and speaking to the spirits of the dead. As he matures he slowly learns of new gifts and uses them as he is pressed into service through a series of murders of young women. Titan embarks along with his handler (daughter of the sect chief) and other sect members on a suspense filled hunt for the killer; tracking down the victims with Titan's fine nose, and collecting the evidence that will lead them to a final showdown with the murderer. As Titan locates these victims he helps them to find their way across the Great Divide. Death Scent is filled with spirits, Native American culture, murder, hunt-and-chase, and characters you can connect with.
Review: Titan isn't just any dog, he is blessed with special skills from the Great Mystery. He understands and can communicate with his human companion but he is young and like all young doesn't like to follow directions all the time. Titan and his companion, Shawnee are part of a special sect and are called in to help catch a serial killer who is leaving clues at his dump sites about his next murder.
The mystery itself was very good, the killer, sadistic and appalling, the cops were capable and good at their jobs, Titan was entertaining and the whole folklore around the special sect of the Shawnee Nation was interesting. I found some of the depictions of the sect to be a bit over the top though. The chief who doesn't seem to ever wear a shirt, despite it snowing or being freezing, the Native cops who are all buff and big.
They didn't have to be depicted as superhuman to have great skills at what they do or be who they are. That was the only distraction I found. I wouldn't have found them to be any less if they wore clothes and weren't all rippled muscle. I mean I didn't object to the rippling muscles I just thought it was a bit over the top when the book didn't need it.
The science and forensics were very good, the descriptions of cadaver dogs and how they work was well researched and all in all I found this to be a good start to a series that has potential. The weaving together of folklore and crime reminds me of John Connolly's books which I love and I can't wait to see what trouble Titan gets into next time.