The Dead Years By Jeffery B. Burton: Review/Giveaway/Guest Post

Apr 13, 2024 | 2024 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze, Sandra Murphy

by Sandra Murphy & Jeffrey B. Burton

This week we are reviewing a new thriller by Jeffrey Burton, and we have an interesting post from Jeffrey about how the book came to be. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase the book from Amazon.

The Dead Years by Jeffery B. Burton
Review by Sandra Murphy

After their mother and father died, Crystal and Cory share the family home. They don’t spend a lot of time together. He lives in the basement and operates his own dog training school while she has taken over the second floor and is a new detective with the Chicago Police Department. They cross paths on the first floor.

Cory’s own dogs, Alice, a bloodhound, and Rex, a Springer Spaniel, are trained in human remains detection (HRD) and are also known as cadaver dogs. Most people know search and rescue dogs who can follow the scent to a live, but lost, human. Alice and Rex find dead bodies. Sometimes Crystal and Cory’s jobs intersect.

Such is the case with a jogger, missing for a few days. Alice and Rex find his body off the jogging trail where he wouldn’t have been detected for a while, if ever. His death, clearly a murder, is just the first of other killings. Some victims have a slim connection to each other; others appear to be random. It’s the method of death that remains the same.

When a stakeout goes wrong, Cory is the one who figures out why. His reasoning is gruesome but solid. With each passing day, the stakes go higher. Will they be able to find the killer before the killer finds not only more victims but comes for Cory?

There are three major twists that took me by surprise. The first caught my attention, made me wonder why I hadn’t thought of it and made me read faster. The second was an aha moment, the kind of aha you say when you suspected something and were right. The third, that one was such a surprise I had to read the page at least four times for it to sink in. Once revealed, it made total sense but what a reveal!

Readers will fall in love with Alice and Rex, of course. Crystal and Cory have a good relationship. There are a lot of characters, but they are distinct so no confusion. The twists and turns will keep you reading.

Burton also writes the Mace Reid K-9 series, The Finders, The Keepers, and The Lost, all reviewed in KRL, at least one earning a spot on my Best of the Year list. I hope we’ll see many more books in both series, with both Mace, Cory, and all their dogs.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. She’s editor for Peace, Love, and Crime: Crime Stories Inspired by the Songs of the ’60s, with twenty-two cozy stories. She also edited A Murder of Crows, twenty-one stories featuring animals and crime (no animals were harmed). She also writes for magazines, newsletters, and the occasional guest blog. Both anthologies are available at the usual outlets, print or ebook.

Our Fascination with True Crime
By Jeffrey B. Burton

Every day, in some newspaper across the country or around the world, there’s a story you’re drawn to, like metal shavings to a magnet, which proves that truth is stranger than fiction. And then you find yourself reading the news article in its entirety out of a sense of the macabre or kind of a “Holy Crap! What did they do?!” enthrallment. Morbid curiosity must be a universal trait. It’s like rubbernecking when you drive past a car accident or police incident. Part of you wants to see what happened. Scratch that—part of you has to see what happened.

Jeffrey B. Burton

When I was young, a guy ran a red light and t-boned my car, spun it around, and I then crashed backwards into a stoplight. My car was totaled, my driver’s door crushed inward and I couldn’t get out, so I waited in the vehicle until the police arrived. It was rush hour at a major intersection and I sat there watching as car after car worked their way around me. Everyone glanced my way as they drove past. I felt fine at the time (the whiplash came later that evening) and, as I stared back at the rush hour drivers, I got the sense they were expecting more. Too bad I hadn’t stopped at McDonald’s on the way home, so I’d have some packets of ketchup I could smear on my face and forehead to give them what they wanted.

Flash forward to the summer of 2020—during the height of Covid-19—where my wife and I streamed endless true crime documentaries on Netflix and Amazon and HBO as we sat about the house. It was during this time I jotted down the following premise on a piece of scratch paper “What happens when a serial killer is not happy with his portrayal in a true crime TV documentary?” and tossed it in my idea drawer.

Now my idea drawer is nothing terribly sexy. It’s basically a drawer in the kitchen where I stash my wallet and car keys when I’m home or pick them up whenever I’m about to head out. I was under contract with St. Martin’s Press for another book or two in the Mace Reid K-9 Mystery series, so that piece of scratch paper kept peeking up at me whenever I fetched or returned my wallet and keys until I was able to come up for air and begin work on it in late 2021.

In The Dead Years, a serial killer, dormant for seven years, eventually gets around to streaming a Netflix documentary depicting his crimes. He is not pleased with his depiction—not one iota—and no one in the cast or crew is safe.

The novel is dedicated to my father, Bruce W. Burton, who has been my long-term editor and sounding board. Dad passed away unexpectedly in the summer of 2022, but not before he’d edited the first draft of the The Dead Years. Dad thought it was my best work yet.

But I’d also like to dedicate the book to the rubberneckers that drove past and glanced at me and my wrecked car a couple of decades ago. I know you were expecting more . . . sorry to have disappointed.

You can click here to purchase this book.

To enter to win a copy of The Dead Years, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “dead years” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 20, 2024. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode went up this week.

Jeffrey B. Burton’s latest mystery/thriller, The Dead Years (Severn House), came out in March of 2024 and answers the question: What happens when a serial killer is not happy with his portrayal in a true-crime TV documentary? Burton’s critically-acclaimed Mace Reid K-9 mystery series (St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur) include The Finders, The Keepers, and The Lost. Jeff lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with his wife, Cindy, an irate Pomeranian named Lucy, and a happy galoot of a Beagle named Milo. For more information, check out his website at

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Sounds like an interesting and intriguing
    read. thanks. txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

  2. Sounds like a great read. Adding to my TBR list.

  3. Sounds really good and with dogs too!!!

  4. It is – I loved it!

  5. Great idea for a story, I’d love to have a copy. Thanks! crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com

  6. We have a winner!


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