The Saint of Wolves and Butchers

In a departure from his Victorian crime series featuring Scotland Yard's Murder Squad (The Yard, The Harvest Man, etc.), Alex Grecian sets The Saint of Wolves and Butchers in the present, around his rural hometown on the Kansas-Nebraska border. This time his bad guy is not some historical Jack the Ripper but rather a former Nazi doctor with a nasty taste for human torture and mutilation. Rudy Goodman (aka Rudolph Bormann) is 94 years old and pastoring a cult in an old Kansas church--with a secret soundproof basement where he practices his ghoulish sadism. A happenstance sighting by a former guard at Bormann's concentration camp brings California Nazi hunter Dr. Travis Roan and Bear, his Tibetan mastiff, to track down Goodman and exact "justice." When Roan first arrives, he's rousted by African American state trooper Skottie Foster for running Bear without a leash in fields adjacent to the highway. Making amends, he spills the purpose of his visit, and the two become unlikely partners in pursuit of their man.

Rooting out former Nazi war criminals may be a dying industry, but Grecian spins an engrossing story--complete with flashback glimpses into Goodman's clandestine life after escaping the collapsing Third Reich and setting up his gruesome shop in Kansas. Roan is a relentless, fastidious idealist with his own obsessions, relying on the loyal Bear to keep him grounded. With a broken marriage, an unruly teen daughter and the travails of being a black woman on a white police force, Foster provides The Saint of Wolves and Butchers with real-life ambiguity and Kansas good sense. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

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