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Burning Man

(Gideon and Sirius #1)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  5,172 ratings  ·  384 reviews
LAPD cop Michael Gideon and his police dog partner Sirius became reluctant celebrities after capturing a notorious serial killer in the midst of an inferno. For their heroism, they were chosen to head up the newly formed Special Cases Unit. Now the duo tackles out-of-the-ordinary cases, anything deemed unusual or bizarre even by Hollyweird standards.

When a teenager is
Paperback, 328 pages
Published December 11th 2012 by Thomas & Mercer
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Lauren Fischetti This is not an answer, but a THANK YOU for asking the question. It's probably the most important thing to know before I read this book!!

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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  5,172 ratings  ·  384 reviews

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Jan 08, 2014 rated it did not like it
Since the average rating on this book is over 3.5 stars, many of those who read/reviewed/rated it must have enjoyed it. My experience has been different.

This review may contain some spoilers, but really, who cares? When a book is this bad it doesn't matter.


Dialog: To say the dialog was sophomoric would be an insult to sophomores the world over. Imagine if you will, adults who speak and, in the case of the main character, think in adolescent wise-cracks that are barely better than
Nov 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Just a few pages into this mystery, I stumbled over the writing itself - inconsistent verb tenses, coupled with an over-reliance on passive verbs. It definitely distracted me more than a few times, but the never-failing charm of Detective Michael Gideon and his German Shepherd partner, Sirius, drew me right back in after each occurrence. This duo was likable from the very first page - and remained so until the very last page. Gideon’s narration included a lot of humour and wit, which sped up the ...more
Dec 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Mystery, thriller fans
I have received an ARC of this book through a GoodReads FirstReads giveaway.
This book is by far one of the best I've read in awhile. From page one I was sucked in, and when I wasn't reading, I couldn't wait to get back to it.
You can't help but like, and root for the main character in this story who, despite a tragic past, has a sense of humor through it all. Being a huge animal lover, I enjoyed how well Sirius (the dog) was written. (It's a pet peeve of mine to read a story with a dog that has
Oct 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: whodunnit
Police detective Michael Gideon, and his K-9 partner, Sirius, have literally been through the fires of Hell. After surviving serious burns, the two are put on a Special Cases assignment. Even having Sirius on the force is unusual after his injuries, but Gideon refuses to be separated from him.

One of the first cases they catch is a crucifixion, which leads to all manner of complications and subplots. The victim, on the surface, is the typical Big Man on Campus ... but obviously he has some
Jun 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Not a fast paced mystery by any stretch. This novel seemed to be designed to set up our knowledge of the main characters for future stories. Still, decent character development and I can see reading more of Russell's work.
Mar 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
When I was offered the chance to get this book for 99 cents as an "earned credit" at, I read the synopsis, checked customer reviews and learned that author Alan Russell, the author of 10 books, has won several writing awards. Satisfied that my almost-dollar probably wouldn't be wasted (and any event it wasn't much to lose), I downloaded it. When I ran out of other things I wanted to read a couple of months later, I decided to find out if I'd won or lost.

And wow! This, my friends, is
Sharon Michael
Apr 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Almost anything with a realistic dog/handler connection works for me and this is a very good example. The police procedural/mystery is good, the trauma/PTSD the main character battles is handled well and the interaction between the main character and the dog are excellent.

Two things dropped this from 5 to 4 stars for me. The flashbacks seemed more intrusive than necessary, I felt they could have been fewer in number and introduced somewhat more smoothly. I also found myself somewhat
John Devlin
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
Starts out promising with an effective if sentimental tale of a cop and his dog. The murder that follows and the illogic of the suspects begins to grate, the snappy repartee, the ripped off Hannibal Lecter trope, and the romance all are more of the same.

Specifically, his romance with the woman who furnishes a cemetery for discarded babies shows promise, but the character is as normal as apple pie w/no glitches or even goth sensibility to make her interests in dead babies anything more than just
Indy Quillen
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've read other novels by Alan Russel and greatly enjoyed them...but for some reason hadn't read the Gideon & Sirius series yet. So glad I picked up this one. Looking forward to the next ones!
Michael Sherer
Mar 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Alan Russell may be the most underrated, least well-known best-selling thriller writer around. I met Alan at Bouchercon in Pasadena in 1992, and he’s been turning out books ever since. I hadn’t read one of his for a long time until picking up BURNING MAN, recently released by Thomas & Mercer.

A police procedural as much as it is a thriller, BURNING MAN quickly establishes a terrific character in LAPD K-9 cop Michael Gideon, and masterfully provides back story by walking its hero and sidekick
Maureen DeLuca
Jun 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
LAPD cop Michael Gideon and his police dog partner Sirius became famous for capturing a serial killer in the midst of an inferno. Both suffering burns and then they did rehab together. When they were both able to come back to work a new unit was designed for them- to tackle out even the most bizarre cases - Gideon’s narration included a lot of humor and wit keeping the story flowing quite nicely. The police procedural/mystery is good, the trauma/PTSD the main character battles is handled well ...more
Mike Steinharter
Jan 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Not a bad murder mystery, but dialogue gets on your nerves after a while..just too cute. The dog is the best.
Christopher Everest
Admission of Guilt .... I like dogs. I like crime fiction. I love smart-arse detectives with a fine line in witty one-liners. I like emotion in a book. This is clearly the start of a beautiful relationship between myself and Mr Russell's books. I admit sections upset me (the death of infants is a difficult concept) but this is a series I can heartily recommend. For those readers that appreciate the genealogy of crime fiction and have travelled the road from the Golden Age of Sayers, to Sherlock, ...more
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, audiobook
Now this one I liked, even though it repeated itself quite a bit. Some of the narrator's characterizations seemed a bit odd to me, but the story was good, so I could overlook it. I'd recommend it. <><
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Perfectly acceptable mystery/thriller -after a run of several hard-boiled crime sagas in a row, I needed a palate-cleanser and the hook with this one was a K-9 partner(I'm a sucker for anything animal related) as mentioned, a fine procedural example with better than average writing. a few quibbles: it feels the author has used this book to set up the rest that are sure to come (LOTS of exposition and backstory) also, there were several chunks of the book where it didn't seem to matter if the dog ...more
Lana Mccall
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A good book

Interesting storyline and in my book a faithful dog is always a treat. Michael and Serius apprehend a seriel killer and the story continues to blossom. Intriguing and exciting drama.
Chasing a serial killer, catching him in a California forest fire gone wild, not wanting to let go. This is how it all began. How dedicated can a detective be where he would be willing to give his give his life for his partner and not give up. This was a good detective story and I enjoyed every moment and it was left with questions about a sequel.
Feb 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, fluff, mystery, crime
3.5 Stars
Great story about an LAPD cop and his canine partner. Michael and Sirius get injured while going after a bad guy. This book follows them while they investigate several different cases. I will definitely be reading books 2&3.
The dialog Michael has with females was a big turn off to me while reading this book. He can't have a normal conversation with a woman. All jokes and short choppy sentences .. got quite annoying after the first dozen chapters. I hope that settles down in book 2.
A Voracious Reader (a.k.a. Carol)

*Book source ~ Purchased on Amazon

Michael Gideon and his K-9 partner Sirius are everyday LAPD cops. Until the day they became famous for capturing the Santa Ana Strangler while in the middle of an inferno and getting severely burned in the process. All three made it out alive. After a year of skin grafts and physical therapy, Gideon wants to go back to work even though Sirius’s injuries put him in early retirement. Lucky for him & Sirius, the new Chief has just the job for them. Though he
Jan 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, fiction
Another solid if unspectacular detective novel, the first of the novels featuring LAPD detective Michael Gideon and his police dog Sirius. They are both recovering from a horrific burning, as they brought a serial murderer out of a flaming canyon. In a Hannibal / Clarissa like twist, he gets to visit the serial murderer on death's row in San Quentin to probe his psyche. And in a very The Following kind of way, the serial killer seems to be manipulating folks on the outside to mess with Gideon.

Feb 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Burning Man, by Alan Russell, ignited my attention from the beginning prologue chapter and smoldered in my consciousness throughout my reading experience.

Michael Gideon, an LAPD detective, and Sirius, his canine partner, were very nearly killed in a fire set by a serial killer they apprehended. To be fair, the serial killer was nearly killed, too, which would have been sweet charred poetic justice, but alas, he survived. Gideon, a widower, and Sirius form a new special cases unit to investigate
Dec 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
I may have found a new author! This is the first book of a series, and I purchased it because I received the second book free as part of my Kindle Prime subscription. I enjoyed it quite a bit. LA police detective Michael Gideon and his canine partner Sirius are trapped in a California wildfire with a serial killer, and all three are badly burned. After a long period of convalescence, Gideon and Sirius return to active duty as investigators in a new special unit. Gideon's job is to investigate ...more
Dinah Hardy
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Great Book

This is the first one of the series; "Burning Man" ( A Gideon and Sirius Novel). There is three books in the series. I read the second one first; Guardians of the Night" which I enjoy immensely. Boy am I glad I went back and got the second one. This is the best series I believe that I have read so far. It's a cop mystery, which is one of my favorite gentry. Then the plus of having a partner that happens to be a Dog! I Love, Love, Love this series. It's also a story of a man that
Dec 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
After a long dry spell, it was great to have another book by Alan Russell. He has created an interesting protagonist in Michael Gideon, an LAPD officer who, along with his K-9 partner Sirius, became a hero, although both of them suffered major burns. He is now mostly recovered and assigned to work on Special Cases. He still suffers from PTSD and has dreams about fire, but these dreams give him insights to the cases he is working. In this book he works two very different cases. In one he is ...more
Lori Budd
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
The book was just ok. ****SPOILERS*****As I was reading, I kept trying to find a way to get the two deaths to connect. And I guess, I just wanted them to be connected. I get there is meaning behind the "moments" after the burning, but to solve the murder because of hyphenated names like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Olivia Newton-John, was just annoying. I never truly "felt" for Gideon. He wasn't a character that I became enamored with. I read the book, but didn't really ever get into it. I was ...more
Jan 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
This book... I TRIED to like it, I really did. I read all the way to the end, hoping it would get better. I endured the quippy cops who spoke so unlike any human being in real life. I made it through the tired cliches. I even tried to ignore one of the most annoying narrators in any book I've ever read. But then came the ending which, I won't spoil it, is unsatisfying. Seriously. I don't recommend this book. I'm hoping that another book by the same author that I've started reading (I impulse ...more
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
I was disappointed in the overall book and would not recommend it. It started out well but the author tried to take on too many topics - what it's like to be a burn victim, losing someone close to you that you love, bullying, new love, and even threw in a few lectures every now and then about things that must interest him. I finished it but the end was predictable. I am glad that I checked it out of the Kindle library rather than purchasing it.
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a sad story but you'll be laughing too.

Detective Michael's humor will make you laugh, while you're reading his torment and dreams. Sirius is incredibly sensitive and well trained dog. Case of Rose comes so close to his own beginning. Bullies, drugs and murder. Some very strong friends all around him. Wish him happy days ahead, please stay away from fires.
Jan 17, 2013 rated it did not like it
I could not find a single redeeming thing about this book and, really, I tried hard. Thankfully I didn't pay for it (lending library), otherwise I would have felt compelled to finish it (I only made it halfway) and this review would have been a full out rant.
Paula Luna
Sep 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I liked the characters and the storyline.
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Alan Russell is the author of L.A. Woman, the fifth book in the #1 bestselling series featuring LAPD detective Michael Gideon and his K-9 partner, Sirius.

In 1990 Walker & Company published Alan's first book, No Sign of Murder, which received positive reviews, including a standalone rave from The New York Times. The work was

Other books in the series

Gideon and Sirius (5 books)
  • Guardians of the Night (Gideon and Sirius, #2)
  • Lost Dog (Gideon and Sirius #3)
  • Gideon's Rescue (Gideon and Sirius #4)
  • L.A. Woman (Gideon and Sirius #5)
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