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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 21 January 2013
I have to admit that I've found the last couple of Robert Crais books slightly humdrum. Still better than most but by his own standards not that good. This book however is a belter! I don't know why anyone hasn't had this idea before (if they have - apologies) but to introduce the K9 department as the.mainstay of the book is a stroke of genius (only slight hyperbole there) There is genuine tension in the plot, the characterisation, if that's the right way to put it, of Maggie the dog is rather splendidly done, not maudlin or twee but gritty and sympathetic and the humans are well painted as well. OK there are certain elements that are maybe a bit melodramatic but overall this is a very believable, slightly unusual page-turner of a book if you'll excuse the cliche. Perfect winter reading.

Edit: I got this book as a brand new large format paperback at an Oxfam Bookshop which may be a review copy as I note that the book apparently doesn't actually go on sale until April. If so make the above read "perfect Springtime reading"
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"But for him who is joined to all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion." -- Ecclesiastes 9:4 (NKJV)

Most crime and detective stories ratchet up the horror as a way to escape from having to write an entertaining story. In doing so, the victims are usually carted off the the morgue in a trail of blood and guts. After reading about the details of their autopsies, we don't hear or think much about them.

Robert Crais has written a much different kind of story. His narrators (LA police officer Scott James and former Marine, the German shepherd Maggie) are both victims of violence who carry the scars on their bodies and in their memories. Lacking the kind of physical strength they had before being badly injured, they draw on courage to do their best. Will it be enough?

The story has enough heart in it to carry three and a half stories to great success, yet the book doesn't seem overdone. There's an authenticity in caring about those who are severely harmed in the line of duty that makes this book stirring in many ways.

As someone who loves dogs, but doesn't know a great deal about German shepherds and war dogs, I was impressed by how deftly the necessary information was inserted to fill me in. I thought it was sheer brilliance to have Maggie narrate parts of the story.

If anyone will complain about this book, it will be that the mystery and detection seem a little more clumsily written than might have been expected. I'm sure you'll figure out who did what to whom and why. But that felt like a minor matter to me compared with the fun of reading the story and being encouraged by it.

Bravo, Mr. Crais!
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Nine months ago, Scott James lost his partner and almost lost his life when they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now, he's still recouping from his wounds and joining the K-9 unit of the LAPD. He selects as his dog Maggie, a Marine Corp trained dog who lost her first partner in Afghanistan.

Both Scott and Maggie are suffering from PTSD and neither are certain about taking to each other. But as Scott begins to investigate the still unsolved case that cost him his last partner, the two begin to bond. Will it be enough to help Scott face the past?

I'm not a dog person, but something drew me to this book, and I'm glad it did. I absolutely loved it, especially the two leads. And if this non-dog person can fall in love with Maggie, anyone who does love dogs will love her that much more.

At times, the mystery felt like it was taking a backseat to the story of Scott and Maggie bonding, but the book was always interesting. And once the plot did kick into high gear, I could not put it down.

I've read a few of Robert Crais' books in the past, but it's been sporadic. I keep meaning to bump him back up my reading list. After this book, he's jumped up several more spots. It was a great read I was sorry to see end.
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on 31 August 2013
While SUSPECT by Robert Crais is a suspense/mystery/thriller it is also a love story. It tells of the love between two devoted friends - - a dog and his master. Maggie is a German shepherd, a bomb sniffing "soldier" wounded in Afghanistan while trying to protect "her pack". She has now been returned to the US for retraining and reassignment to a K-9 unit. Scott James is a police officer wounded in the line of duty who has refused a medical retirement and is attempting a comeback of sorts via the K-9 division at the LAPD. Both dog and man have been traumatized by their experiences and failures and are in the process of trying to rebuild their lives and relationships.

While this is not one of Crais' typical Joe Pike/Elvis Cole novels it definitely presents a story worth telling and is worth the time you will invest in reading it. It is a crime drama filled with action, as well as a story with a heart that will occasionally have you tearing up as the relationship between Maggie and Scott develops and ultimately leads to their mutual healing. Often written from Maggie's point of view and expressing what a dog is willing to do to please or protect us, the narrative is compelling and convincing. We also learn that a dog's sense of smell and how the animal uses it is something that all of our vast technology has, to date, been unable to duplicate.

The relationship between Maggie and Scott develops slowly, as does the story, but the pieces all come together in the end, producing a most satisfying result. This is a subtle tale that will appeal to those who love crime thrillers as well as those who love dogs and appreciate their immeasurable contribution to our lives. I came to think of Maggie as just another human being, but with four legs.
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on 13 May 2015
This is a stand-alone novel by Mr Crais outside of the deservedly popular Elvis Cole/Joe Pike detective series. Having a damaged hero with a troubled past is pretty much cliche number one these days but Mr Crais manages to take it to another level by adding a non-human damaged hero to the mix - in this case an ex-Army bomb sniffing dog now recruited into the L.A. police force. The dog has trauma after his previous handler was blown up and the human hero Scott James has trauma after seeing his former police partner shot dead. They're put together on the police dog team and Mr Crais writes the novel with alternating perspectives between dog and handler as they track down who ambushed and killed Scott James' partner. It didn't quite work for me, certainly not to the same level as the Cole/Pike series. It looks like these characters feature in one of the upcoming Cole and Pike series so that should prove interesting.
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on 22 April 2013
i have read all of Robert Crais books, i missed the humour of Elvis Cole, and style of writing the author uses in that series, but i couldn't put this down, i hate suspense and this is full of it! A great read.
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on 14 January 2015
I love Robert Crais books so receiving this for Christmas was pretty much an ideal gift.

I'd not noticed this book before and was filled with anticipation having read the cover - and I was hooked by the first chapter.

It helps if you're an animal lover but if you want to read a book that puts a different slant on crime thrillers, then read this. It is easy reading and I've no idea if the scientific background and animal specifics are accurate but to be honest, I don't really care - having had pets for most of my life I completely get the whole concept of building relationships with our four legged friends and earning each other's trust and respect.

How this bonding interlaces with the police activities is handled perhaps in a sentimental way but when you immerse yourself in the story you want to run with it and see where it goes.

It may not be for the hardened crime thriller reader - it is not an Elvis and Joe novel although it does have many of the characteristics of one not to mention a nicely placed cameo role from one familiar character.

If you like animals and have a penchant for 'good v bad' reads, then do give this a go. It's not a long novel and could easily be read in a long or relaxing weekend.

If you don't appreciate the bonds that exist between 2 legged and 4 legged animals, you might want to give this a miss as you will probably find yourself just not getting it. Me? I loved it!
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on 23 July 2014
Really enjoyed this book. Maggie was portrayed brilliantly but I suspect the initial 'meet' would have happened slightly differently! Good story.

One issue I have though, this author's books are priced at £4.99+ on Amazon but on Ibooks they are half that price. Come on Amazon get competitive here! Otherwise it will be a while before I buy another sadly.
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on 23 November 2015
A standalone story this is one of the best by this author. A military attack dog is handed over to the LA police for use in crime detection. The dog is assigned to a police officer for training. The pair are involved in the solution of an old case in which the officer had survived wounding by criminals who killed his partner. How they resolve it makes a fascinating tale. This book should not be missed.
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on 7 February 2014
I am a big fan of Robert Crais and read all his books. I read SUSPECT a month ago, and can not remember a thing about it. I have had my 62nd birthday since reading it and maybe the memory as suffered with age, but I read Taken immediately before, an although not Cole and Pike at their best, I can remember the plot and characters in that book.
Sorry Mr Crais this is a poor pot boiler, and although not bad enough that I abondoned reading it half way through, if I had not opened my Amazon account orders page to check on another purchase, and seen this book listed there, I would not have known I had read it.
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