Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Suspect by Robert Crais

Nine months ago LAPD police officer Scott James is sitting in his patrol car with his partner Stephanie, nothing on their minds except enjoying one of their last patrols together before Scott joins LAPD's Metro Division.  The night is quiet and relatively monotonous until a Bentley sedan (way too fancy for the neighborhood they are in) sales quietly into the intersection by their squad car - and straight into an ambush.  In just a few moments the car is hit by a hail of bullets, the people in the car are dead, and Scott is desperately trying to reach help as Stephanie slowly bleeds out on the pavement.  

Flash forward nine months and while his physical injuries are on the mend Scott is still dealing with the trauma of losing his partner, and trying to repair the gaping holes in his memory of that night.  No longer fit for service on the front lines he refuses a medical discharge and finds himself within the ranks of the K-9 handlers, a highly sought after position and his presence is resented by some inside the team and out.  Scott may have managed to stay in the game for now, but staying in the game for the long term means finding a way to work with a canine partner and passing the high bar set by his new commanding officer Sergeant Leland.  Everything he wants to do, everything he wants to become depends on what Leland thinks he can and can not do.

Being offered his first dog is the first step to becoming a real K-9 officer, but he is not drawn towards the well trained and eager dog he is offered - he is instead drawn to German shepherd that has almost as many issues as he does.  Maggie was trained as a marine corp dog and she did her job with energy and enthusiasm, detecting IEDs and explosives, and protecting her pack.  When her unit was ambushed Maggie was injured and no longer fit for service, and her new path led her to the police and Scott.  Scott may not be her pack, but over time she starts to understand this man who is injured like she is, and when he goes in pursuit of the people who hurt him and killed his partner she is right by his side and ready to do what she was trained to do.

After reading a few books about working dogs and police dogs over the past year, particularly in the past few weeks, I went on a bit of a book bender and ordered all the books my local library had that seemed to be about working dog partnerships.  Suspect was one of the ones that I picked up and actually got into (some of the others were trying to be too cute or missed the point), and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Scott and Maggie.  The experiences of both of them were traumatic, and there is a certain amount of poetry in the fact they found each other, and that they were able to help each other heal enough that they could work together.  At the end of the book the author fully acknowledges that he took some artistic licence with his portrayal of PTSD in both man and dog, but that doesn't take away from the fact that this is a book that portrays the working relationship between police officer and police dog very well.

If you like this book then try:

  • Breaking Creed by Alex Kava
  • Silent Creed by Alex Kava
  • Stalking ground by Margaret Mizushima
  • Without trace by Simon Booker
  • Crimson Lake by Candice Fox
  • I've got you under my skin by Mary Higgins Clark
  • City of fear by Alafair Burke
  • Murder past due by Miranda James
  • Vodka doesn't freeze by Leah Giarratano
  • I, Michael Bennett by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
  • Kill switch by Neal Baer & Jonathan Greene
  • Kill me if you can by James Patterson and Marshall Karp

Reviewed by Brilla

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