Suspect (K9 Maggie & Scott James) by Robert Crais

KK Conley Review

RC The Suspect

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Suspect is one of Robert Crais’ few standalone novels. I love this book because it is well written, moves along, and is narrated in part by a dog. Yes, I love dogs, especially ones with soul. And Maggie as a lot of soul, and loyalty, and protectiveness.

Maggie, a military K9, is attacked along with her handler in Afghanistan. She tries to protect her handler with her body, and the snipers tear her up. Her handler doesn’t make it, and Maggie almost doesn’t. LAPD officer Scott James and his partner stumble on a deal gone bad, and his partner is killed. Scott is severely wounded, and his partner’s pleas for him not to leave her as she died echo through his head. He won’t take on another partner and is transferred to the K9 unit where he meets Maggie.

Maggie’s “voice” is as close as I’ll get to understanding what goes on in my dog’s mind. When I finished the book, I wanted more novels about Maggie. And Scott James. He’s pretty good, too.

I heard Crais talk in November 2015, and he said he wrote Suspect after his own dog died, and he just couldn’t get into another Elvis Cole story. He didn’t want Maggie to disappear either, and it took him two years to finish his next Elvis Cole story because he had difficulty working out a credible way for Elvis to meet Maggie and Scott in The Promise.


Booklist 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 like 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 Takenmaking it to number one. The track record will jump-start this one, but the book itself will do the rest.

— Bill Ott

© Booklist Online

Amazon Description

One of Booklist‘s 10 Best Crime Fiction Books of the Year

LAPD cop Scott James is not doing so well. Nine months ago, a shocking assault by unidentified men killed his partner, Stephanie, nearly killed him, and left him enraged, ashamed, and ready to explode. He is unfit for duty—until he meets his new partner.

Maggie is not doing so well, either. A German shepherd who survived two tours in Afghanistan sniffing explosives before losing her handler, her PTSD is as bad as Scott’s.

They are each other’s last chance. And they’re about to investigate the one case no one wants them to touch: identifying the men who murdered Stephanie. But what they find could ultimately break them both.

4.6 stars, 1,900+ reviews

Goodreads Rating

4.1 stars, 13,000+ ratings

Robert Crais’ Description

RC Suspect 1

Robert Crais: A dog’s best friend . . .

(Same as Amazon description)

They are each other’s last chance. Shunned and shunted to the side, they set out to investigate the one case that no one wants them to touch: the identity of the men who murdered Stephanie. What they begin to find is nothing like what Scott has been told, and the journey will take them both through the darkest moments of their own personal hells. Whether they will make it out again, no one can say.

Robert Crais has optioned the rights to his best-selling novel, SUSPECT, to Fox 2000 for an adaptation to be produced by Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson, the producers behind THE HUNGER GAMES film franchise.

RC Suspect 3

Just couldn’t resist adding this. Thanks to the Rosenberg, TX PD.