TTP Review of SUSPECT by Robert Crais

Suspect_CraisThe two main characters in Suspect by Robert Crais are Maggie and Scott. They both suffer severe symptoms of PTSD or post traumatic stress disorder. Scott is a cop who was badly hurt during an unexpected and horrifying shootout. In addition to his own life threatening injuries, he had the extreme misfortune of watching his friend and partner die. Maggie took bullets in Afghanistan and was nearly killed herself. And like Scott, she also witnessed her partner’s sudden, violent and bloody death.   Here’s the big difference. Maggie is a German shepherd. She was a service animal with the United States Marines. If you’re wondering if dogs really can suffer from PTSD, the unequivocal answer is yes.

It’s hard enough to characterize an animal in human terms. Crais not only pulls that off flawlessly, but takes it to the next level by giving Maggie what’s typically viewed as a human disorder. Scott deals with his PTSD with the help of psychiatrists. He’s able to talk through his problems and address his fears directly. Maggie obviously can’t do that and has to deal with her issues mostly on her own. She ends up in the canine unit with the LAPD but is viewed as damaged goods. She’s on her way to being taken out of action altogether but then Scott, also new to the canine unit, sees something in her and a cautious friendship is born. As Scott and Maggie heal and get more comfortable with each other, they begin to investigate the murder of Scott’s former partner.

Robert Crais     I am a big Robert Crais fan, as evidenced by my Turn the Page reviews of The Watchman and Hostage.   His most popular book series features private investigator Elvis Cole and his mercenary partner, Joe Pike. There are over a dozen of those novels and they’re great—well crafted and packed with suspense. Some of them are told from Cole’s point of view and other’s from Pike’s. That leads into what impresses me most about Crais and that’s his versatility. To date, he has released four standalone novels and they are all vastly different from the Cole/Pike Series. Suspect is perhaps the best example of that. It’s brilliant and daring and, in my opinion, an absolute must read.


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