Categorized | Features

Suspect, by Robert Crais 2013

This is a good story, a story about two sufferers from PTSD who find each other, become a crime-fighting team and solve a murder case that has been on the books for years.
Half the team is made up of Maggie, a German shepherd who was badly wounded in Afghanistan while sniffing out IEDs for the Marines. Her handler was killed and she was shot twice by a sniper.
She’s back, but this time with the police, and is being put through the paces by the dog trainers to see if she’s recovered enough to go back to active duty.
The other half is LAPD cop Scott James, who has a similar story. He and his partner happened upon a violent crime late one night. Many people died, including Scott’s partner.
Scott was badly wounded and, in addition the physical aches and pains, suffers from the guilt associated with not being able to save his fellow policeman.
They’re both in bad shape. Loud noises frighten them. They hurt in many places. No one in authority has any confidence in their ability to function as officers of the law. But they have each other.
Maggie, who is trained to focus entirely on her handler, decides that Scott, who has no experience with dogs, is an okay kind of guy. They learn to work together and the job they tackle is the old multiple murder that almost got Scott killed.
Much of the novel is concerned with Maggie. Her ability to smell in a way that goes far beyond anything humans can comprehend. And her thought process. Crais has a number of interior monologue passages about what Maggie is thinking . . . and manages to make it believable.
But it’s not just about how dogs smell and think. There is a strong story line that has some cliff-hanger moments and a complex and satisfying conclusion. Crais may never have been a newspaper reporter, but he can write.