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Suspect Hardcover – Unabridged, January 22, 2013
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*Starred Review* The most multifaceted and appealing new protagonist in crime fiction this year just may turn out to be a dog—and a hard-boiled dog, to boot. Maggie is a German shepherd trying out for the LAPD’s K-9 unit, but it looks like she isn’t going to make it. A former military dog, Maggie survived three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan but was severely wounded (her handler was killed) and now suffers from the canine version of PTSD. LAPD cop Scott James, shot during an altercation in which his partner was killed, also suffers from PTSD and has been assigned to the K-9 unit, but it doesn’t look he’s going to make it, either. Scott and Maggie immediately bond, but the hard-nosed sergeant who heads the unit doubts whether either one can measure up. Man and dog think otherwise, however, and as Scott continues—off the books—to investigate the shooting that cost his partner her life, he finds that Maggie has his back, just as his partner did. Taking a break from his critically acclaimed Elvis Cole and Joe Pike series, Crais launches what looks like a stand-alone, but anyone who reads 20 pages of this gripping and heartrending thriller will devoutly pray that it’s the beginning of a new series. As Scott digs deeper into the death of his partner, he stumbles on a massive cover-up. That story is thoroughly involving and skillfully presented, but, frankly, it’s hard for the reader to think of anything but Maggie. We become singlemindedly obsessed with the safety of this beautiful, sensitive, and stunningly intelligent animal, much as Maggie lives to protect and please Scott. Crais take us inside Maggie’s head—and, even more, her remarkably sensitive nose—but always in the most believable of terms (this is no talking-dog cozy). A read-in-one-sitting thriller, plot- and character-driven in equal measures. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Crais has hit the New York Times best-seller list eight times, with Taken making it to number one. The track record will jump-start this one, but the book itself will do the rest. --Bill Ott
Praise for SUSPECT
"Action-packed, deeply touching and sure to be one of the best-written and most original crime novels of the year."—Associated Press
“The most multifaceted and appealing new protagonist in crime fiction this year just may turn out to be a dog—and a hard-boiled dog, to boot… A read-in-one-sitting thriller, plot- and character driven in equal measures.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Maggie is one gorgeous girl, altogether worthy of playing a leading role in SUSPECT, Robert Crais’s heart-tugging novel about two wounded war veterans who nudge each other back to life after suffering a traumatic loss . . . [Maggie] holds us captive, enthralled by Crais’s perceptive depiction of her amazing capabilities.”—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
Praise for Robert Crais
"Robert Crais is hands-down the World’s Greatest Crime Fiction Writer, and that’s no joke” —Huffington Post
“Most crime novel fans have a shortlist of authors they will buy on name recognition alone. If Robert Crais isn’t on that list, he should be. His novels get better with every new book” —Portland Oregonian
Top customer reviews
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My wife and I have been rescuing severely abused Dobermans since 1995. We have taken dogs that other good people have not been able to help. Fortunately we have had significant success. Crais compressed the time needed for rehabilitation in these cases as he acknowledges, but the overall description is something only truly recognized by those who have experienced it. We have had dogs who were almost beaten to death, or starved past saving, or so injured as to require months of daily care. And they have come back to be the most loving and caring companions imaginable.
My wife and I both are Criminal Justice Professionals and receive threats on a regular basis. My my wife has been disabled for the last 5 years, yet I never have to worry about her at home by herself because four large Dobermans stand guard with their lives and provide constant love and companionship. They also guard and include in their pack our four cats.
Maggie is an 85-pound black-and-tan German shepherd military dog, and her handler is Corporal Pete Gibbs. They are an explosive detection team working in Afghanistan. One day they encounter a suicide bomber outside of a village - Maggie immediately senses the danger as her sense of smell is absolutely incredible, but before she can truly warn Pete, the suicide bomber detonates the bomb. In addition, snipers from the village start shooting at them. Pete is killed and Maggie is shot, but survives. Post surgery, she is basically OK, has some scars on one of her hind quarters, and sometimes limps when tired, but she also suffers from PTSD as a result of the bomb detonating and the gunfire. She is also psychologically scarred due to the loss of Pete - what Crais does so well in this book is to describe the bond developed between the handler and the dog - the handler is the alpha, the dog is there to protect him, and together they are "pack" - they eat together, they play together, they sleep together, they work together - from Maggie's point of view, Pete is her world - when he's happy, she's happy, when he's not happy, she's not happy, when he's scared, she's scared. Now Pete is gone, and Maggie is not happy.
They retire her from military service.
Scott James is LAPD - his partner is Stephanie Anders. One night, they are out on patrol and inadvertently find themselves in the middle of a major robbery/murder - Stephanie is killed and Scott is severely wounded - so much so that he cannot return to his duties even when he is healed, but he does not want to take a medical retirement - he loves being LAPD. So he pulls some strings and gets accepted into the LAPD K-9 unit run by a tough but fair and compassionate sergeant - Sergeant Dominick Leland. He arrives one day to be paired up with a particular dog chosen for him by Leland, but then he sees Maggie - he tells Leland that he wants Maggie but Leland initially says no because, while Maggie is there as a potential K-9 officer, Leland knows her history and already feels that she will not be acceptable as a highly functional K-9 officer, particularly due to her PTSD status - she is skittish at the sound of gunfire and he also has doubts as to her physical capabilities. Scott convinces Leland to give him two weeks with the dog in order to see what he can do.
Again, what Crais does so well in this book is to project to us, the readers, the deep and profound bond developed between man and dog.
Maggie initially bites Scott but he learns how to approach her, how to properly pet her, how to stroke her, how to talk to her, how to praise her, how to reinforce positive results that he wants to obtain from her with proper rewards - and soon enough, just as with Pete, Scott and Maggie are "pack" - they are inseparable, they are indivisible, Maggie knows that Scott is her alpha and will protect him with her life. Through dogged (no pun intended) police work, and with Maggie's help, Scott eventually solves the robbery/murder that occurred during which Stephanie was killed, although once again, both Scott and Maggie are injured - Scott is shot and Maggie has temporarily lost some hearing due to being close to a gun being fired as she was trying to apprehend one of the robbers/murderers.
What Crais also does well, is to definitely inject some great humor into the book through great dialogue - for example, when Scott is shot near the end and is taken to the hospital for surgery, Leland shows up and "demands" to be told what his status is. The head nurse, no shrinking violet, addresses him and tells him that the surgeon will be out soon to report on Scott's status. Leland is used to "bullying" his way through every situation through means of feigned bluster, but the nurse takes him on, tells him to effectively calm down, or else she will give him no information - he calms down, she tells him what's going on, he thanks her, and she turns away, congratulating herself on how she handled him and says to herself "All bark, no bite!"
When Scott finally recovers, he sees Leland at the K-9 training facility, and Leland says that he's glad that "his dog" is doing so well. Scott respectfully says that Maggie is "his dog". Leland blusters at him saying "Every one of these outstanding animals is my dog and don't you ever forget it!" Scott plays along and says "Yes, sir, Sergeant." It almost reminds one of the drill instructor in the movie FULL METAL JACKET, played by R. Lee Ermey, where he always tells the new marine recruits that they are lucky to be members of his "beloved corps". Leland also tells Scott that he will continue to pretend that he has never seen Maggie limp - he is obviously extremely proud of the two of them - originally "suspect", but they absolutely proved that they were up to the task when needed. These bits of humor are exemplary of the compassion that also comes through in the book with respect to the relationships between Scott and Maggie, between Scott and Leland, and between Leland and all of his K-9 dogs.
It's been over nine months since Officer Scott James was shot and his partner was killed. He ends up working for the K-9 unit in Los Angeles and the dog he wants to work with is as damaged as he is. Maggie was a Military Working Dog in Afghanistan when her handler was killed and she was shot.
Now both Scott and Maggie are damaged goods, trying to recover from their devastating injuries and both suffering PTSD. And they are hot on the trail of the killers who shot and killed Scott's partner.
Clear, concise writing; great characterization (even of Maggie the German Shepherd). Fast paced and exciting - this tale kept my interest from the moments I read the first paragraph.
Great job, author Crais. I would love to see a series starring Scott and Maggie.
Most recent customer reviews
Thank you, Mr. Crais.