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Suspect (Wheeler Publishing Large Print Hardcover) Paperback – Large Print, January 7, 2014
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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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
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.
I was very disappointed. It's not a bad book, but it just didn't seem up to Crais's usual standards. There are two war zone scenes eary on, one in Aghanistan and one in LA. Both were great conceptually, but somehow just missed. The characters were dull, very cardboard. I didn't care for any of them. The attraction between the two main characters, no not the cop and dog - the other two, guy cop and gal cop, just seemed flat. I remember one scene, at a rather odd moment, where it is mentioned he "touched" her. Where? How? How did she react? Nothing mentioned, confusing. The Cole novels are loaded with wit and chemistry. Both were missing here. Hero Scott takes some incredibly stupid, risky chances, and comes off as a bit dumb and naive. And sometimes he's tough as nails, other times he's a marshmallow.
It seems Crais puts all his focus on the real hero of the book, dog Maggie, at least in the first half. She seems to disappear for much of Act Two. There are also some improbabilities (spoilers, so no further comment) but unfortunately they're critical to the story. So, if you are new to Crais, read just about anything of his (recommended) except this one.
Scott James is an LAPD patrolman who lost his partner in the midst of an unanticipated crime. He was very close to this female partner, though they were not romantically involved. Isolated and under fire in a crime scene, Scott was unable to save Stephanie and he himself was hit and bleeding. Meanwhile, a Marine dog named Maggie has watched her handler be blown apart by a suicide bomber in the middle east. Maggie protects him even as she is subjected to sniper fire.
Both are wounded; both are apparently finished with their careers. Scott, however, refuses to retire on a medical and Maggie is sent to the LAPD K-9 unit. You can see where this is going. Scott becomes Maggie's handler and Scott investigates the case that ended his partner's life. Both he and Maggie suffer from PTSD as well as physical ailments. Will they be capable of attaining personal redemption? Will they be capable of forming a new partnership? Of course they will.
This is a sweet story in which the dog continually threatens to upstage the humans, all of whom want to pet her, though they must be careful not to lose a finger, hand, arm or upper torso in the process. The story is simply wonderful. The only problem is that readers will be at risk of wanting to rush out and adopt an 85-pound German Shepherd when they put down the book.
The unique aspect of the book is that multiple chapters are told from Maggie's point of view. Dogs are remarkable behavioral psychologists, but their vocabulary is limited. On the other hand, their sense of smell is transcendent and their memory almost limitless. Crais does an excellent job of conveying this to human readers.
This is not Dostoevsky; it is almost a crime/fairy tale, with a lovely core concept that is executed beautifully. Not to spoil anything, but when Maggie goes for the bad guys she makes Godzilla look like a lizard who should be doing insurance commercials. Delicious stuff and highly recommended.
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