Review: Suspect by Robert Crais

January 22, 2013 Putnam, Review, Thriller 5

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult (January 22, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 039916148
  • Source: Publisher

Eight months ago, LAPD police officer Scott James lost his partner, Stephanie, in a brutal nighttime assault. Nearly killed himself, Scott is still recovering from the bullet wounds that ravaged his body. Barely able to return for duty, Scott joins the K-9 unit. It is there he meets Maggie, a German Shepherd deemed unfit for service after surviving an attack in which her handler was killed, shot at while she attempted to do what she’d been trained: to stay by her handler at all costs. Despite what others thought, Scott saw in Maggie a determination that paralleled his own.  The two made an interesting duo, both recovering from traumatic injuries and attacks that stole their partners from them.

Scott is determined to get his life and career back up to par, Maggie alongside him. Together, they battled through the PTSD they each suffered. The bond between them quickly forms and, despite being shunned by those around them, Scott & Maggie work to find the identity of the individuals responsible for Stephanie’s murder.

If you told me that I would be not only reading but also hailing the praises of a book involving a pet at any time I’d call you crazy. Typically, I make it a policy to avoid stories of pets, especially dogs, knowing that many of these stories end in devastation. Yet when I learned of the subject matter of Suspect and reading early reviews by bloggers whose opinions I trust, I knew I had to take the leap and read this book. Needless to say, I’m glad I did!  Suspect is a novel that goes so beyond anything that Crais has ever written.  Sixteen years ago, Crais lost his beloved Akita, Yoshi. The connection he felt with Yoshi is what inspired Crais to write about Maggie and her connection with her own human “alpha.”

The way Crais portrays Maggie is what makes this novel so unique. Several chapters are told from Maggie’s point of view. Yes, that’s right, from the point of view of a dog. That said, Crais executes it so expertly that it doesn’t appear comical in any way, instead he creates a truly unique and caring character that still holds the characteristics of a dog.

Critics have stated that fans of Crais’ previous work, namely his renowned Elvis Cole/Joe Pike novels, will be disappointed in this stand-alone novel. I can’t disagree more. If anything, it allows Crais’ followers, both long-time and new, to get a unique glimpse of the softer side of Robert Crais. If anything, this may be one of my favorite Crais’ novels because he did dare to step outside the safe comfort zone of his other novels.

Readers new to Crais’ work who aren’t prepared to dive into a series yet want to test the waters should definitely give Suspect a try. I guarantee you won’t regret it. Highly, highly recommended.

5 Responses to “Review: Suspect by Robert Crais”

  1. Harvee
    Twitter: BookDilettante

    I love mysteries with pets involved, especially dogs. I really like the Susan Conant and the Spencer Quinn mystery series. And I think I’d like this book!

  2. Jen Forbus
    Twitter: jenforbus

    Whoever was disappointed in this book compared to his others was not a true fan of his work. I don’t mean we should love anything he writes, but SUSPECT embodies all that makes Crais a fabulous writer: complex, dimensional characters you can care about; rich plot that pulls you into the action; subtle humor…someone missed the boat on that call!

    Nice review Jenn!

  3. SuziQoregon

    Somehow I missed that this was a standalone. I haven’t paid much attention to the chatter about it because I just presumed it was an Elvis or Joe Pike book and I’m way behind in that series so pretty much ignore new installments. Now that I’ve read your review and discovered it’s a standalone I NEED THIS BOOK NOW.