Suspect

Overview

The explosive new masterpiece of suspense from the #1 New York Times?bestselling author.

LAPD cop Scott James is not doing so well. Eight months ago, a shocking nighttime assault by unidentified men killed his partner Stephanie, nearly killed him, and left him enraged, ashamed, and ready to explode. He is unfit for duty?until he meets his new partner.

Maggie is not doing so well, either. A German shepherd who ...

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Suspect

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Overview

The explosive new masterpiece of suspense from the #1 New York Times–bestselling author.

LAPD cop Scott James is not doing so well. Eight months ago, a shocking nighttime assault by unidentified men killed his partner Stephanie, nearly killed him, and left him enraged, ashamed, and ready to explode. He is unfit for duty—until he meets his new partner.

Maggie is not doing so well, either. A German shepherd who survived three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan sniffing explosives before losing her handler to an IED, her PTSD is as bad as Scott’s.

They are each other’s last chance. Shunned and shunted to the side, they set out to investigate the one case that no one wants them to touch: the identity of the men who murdered Stephanie.  What they begin to find is nothing like what Scott has been told, and the journey will take them both through the darkest moments of their own personal hells. Whether they will make it out again, no one can say.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Marilyn Stasio
Although Scott is a good guy who brings high-grade skills to his detective work, it's Maggie who holds us captive, enthralled by Crais's perceptive depiction of her amazing capacities.
Publishers Weekly
Expect the expected in this stand-alone crime thriller from Shamus Award–winner Crais (The Two Minute Rule). Maggie, a weapon-detecting German shepherd who was seriously traumatized in Afghanistan after an IED killed her human partner and she was shot by a sniper, is struggling as a new member of the LAPD K-9 Platoon. LAPD officer Scott James—who was traumatized after unidentified gunmen killed his partner, Stephanie Anders, and seriously wounded him—makes it his mission to get past Maggie’s defenses to make her functional again. An attractive female detective assists James after his own return to form enables him to take a more active role in investigating who gunned down Anders. Dog lovers who believe the animals are superior to humans in every way will find this lukewarm tale of redemption inspiring. Fans of Crais’s sharp-edged Elvis Cole novels will find less to admire. Author tour. Agent: Aaron Priest, Aaron M. Priest Literary Agency. (Jan. 22)
Kirkus Reviews
Veteran thriller-maven Crais (Taken, 2012, etc.) returns with a pleasingly perplexing storyline fresh from the headlines. The heroine of the piece is Maggie, a 3-year-old German shepherd on her second deployment as a patrol and bomb-sniffing dog in Afghanistan. She is fiercely loyal to her handler--so when the inevitable happens, as it does in the evocative, grisly set piece that opens Crais' latest, she's thrown for a loop. Crais has to get a little didactic to provide the basis for innocent civilians: "Dogs suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder shared similar stress reactions with humans, and could sometimes be retrained, but it was slow work that required great patience on the part of the trainer, and enormous trust on the part of the dog." True dat. For her sacrifice, Maggie is not sent to live out her life on the farm, but instead teamed up with trauma-stricken, guilt-ridden LAPD officer Scott James, who, like Maggie, has lost his partner in action. The difference is that Maggie's handlers know who the bad guys were, whereas James has to go Rambo and find out who shot up him and his friend. The answer, revealed after a sequence of carefully plotted, well-described episodes, won't come as a surprise to anyone who's read James Ellroy's L.A. Confidential, though the resolution is more up-to-date. The story takes in vast swaths of Los Angeles in all its multicultural glory, with baddies in the drug and diamond and policing businesses alike. And it's oddly affecting, with Crais ably capturing the bond between humans and canines without veering into sentimentality. A solid, muscular thriller, well-spun.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425278277
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/7/2014
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 247,399

Meet the Author

Robert Crais

Robert Crais is the author of many New York Times bestsellers, most recently The First Rule, The Sentry, and the #1 bestseller Taken. He lives in Los Angeles.

Biography

Los Angeles is known as the city of dreams, largely because so many Americans dream of breaking into the Hollywood film and television industry. In 1976, Robert Crais went west from Louisiana to pursue that very dream. As it turned out, he became one of the lucky few to break into the industry in a big way. Crais has since written for such hugely popular TV shows as Quincy, Cagney and Lacey, Miami Vice, Hill Street Blues, and L.A. Law, just to name a few. However, after achieving such success (which included a prestigious Emmy nomination) in a business that so many would give everything to break into, Robert Crais decided to step away and pursue his true dream. Frustrated by the collaborative process that comes with screenwriting, and inspired by pulp-pioneers such as Raymond Chandler, Crais became a mystery novelist. With his massively popular Elvis Cole/Joe Pike mysteries series, it seems as though success has a funny way of following Crais no matter what he decides to do.

Crais published his very first novel in 1987. The Monkey's Raincoat introduced mystery fans to Elvis Cole and Joe Pike, a pair of L.A. private investigators who would become his most-beloved recurring characters. Crais's transition from screenwriting to novel-writing was an astoundingly smooth one. The Monkey's Raincoat earned him nominations for the Edgar, Anthony, Shamus, and Macavity awards, winning both the Anthony and Macavity for "Best Novel of the Year." Crais's publisher was so overjoyed by the novel's success that he encouraged Crais to keep the Cole/Pike team going. "I started writing these books to get away from writing other people's concepts, like TV and movies," Crais told Barnes&Noble.com. "I never expected to write these guys as a series...but the book proved to be so popular and the characters were so popular that my publisher wanted more." What followed was a series of bestselling mysteries, including Stalking the Angel (1989), Free Fall (1993), L.A. Requiem (1999), and last year's The Forgotten Man.

Although the series was not part of Crais's original plan, he still seems to hold the Cole and Pike team closer to his heart than anything he has previously written. He explained, "The characters have deepened, and I think they kind of reflect what's going on with me and the world as I see it." When asked about whether or not we can expect to see the crime-solving buddies on the big screen anytime soon, he said, "I think I would have a difficult time in the collaborative process when other people suddenly put their fingerprints on Elvis and Joe," further illustrating his personal feelings for his P.I. team.

As much as Crais loves his series, he does occasionally write novels outside of the Cole/Pike world. His latest, The Two-Minute Rule, tells the story of career criminal Max Holman, a recently released-from-prison bank robber who finds himself hunting an entirely different kind of criminal after his son is gunned down. The book has since raked in positive reviews from such publications as Booklist, Publisher's Weekly, and The Library Journal. While The Two-Minute Rule does not feature Cole and Pike, Crais fans will notice one significant similarity between his latest novel and his famous series -- the Los Angeles setting. "I can't think of a better place to set crime novels because of what Los Angeles is. Los Angeles is the main where the nation goes to make its dreams come true. When you have a place like that where so many people are risking their very identities, not just money and cash, but they're risking who they are because it's their hopes and dreams, when you have that kind of tension and that kind of friction, you can't help but have crime."

Fortunately, Crais will never have to succumb to such friction and tension since, for a success story such as he, Los Angeles completely lived up to its promise of being the city of dreams.

Good To Know

Some fun and fascinating outtakes from our interview with Crais:

"My first job was cleaning dog kennels. It was especially, ah, aromatic during those hot, humid Louisiana summers, but it prepared me for Hollywood."

"My fiction is almost always inspired by a character's need or desire to rise above him-or herself. No one is perfect and some of us have much adversity in our lives; it is those people who struggle to rise above their nature or background that I find the most interesting and heroic."

"Fun details? Like Elvis Cole, I have a dry sense of humor. Sometimes I am so dry that people don't know I'm kidding and think I'm being serious. I enjoy this because their reactions are often funny. Also, I wear beautifully colored shirts like Elvis Cole, only I was wearing them before him. People will say, ‘Look, RC dresses just like Elvis Cole,' and I'll say, 'No, Elvis Cole dresses like me!' I also wear sunglasses like Joe Pike, but not indoors and not at night."

"Elvis Cole wrote two episodes of television. No lie. It happened like this: I had written episodes of Miami Vice and Jag that were rewritten by person or persons unknown -- changed so badly that I didn't want my name on them, so I used Elvis Cole's name as a pen name."

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    1. Hometown:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 20, 1953
    2. Place of Birth:
      Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    1. Education:
      B.S., Louisiana State University, 1976; Clarion Writers Workshop at Michigan State University
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

They were on that particular street at that specific T intersection at that crazy hour because Scott James was hungry. Stephanie shut off their patrol car to please him. They could have been anywhere else, but he led her there, that night, to that silent intersection. It was so quiet that night, they spoke of it.

Unnaturally quiet.

*

Stephanie frowned.

“You sure you know where you’re going?”

“I know where I’m going. Just hang on.”

Scott was trying to find an all-night noodle house that a Rampart burglary detective had raved about, one of those pop-up places that takes over an empty storefront for a couple months, hypes itself on Twitter, then disappears.

Scott was trying to figure out how he had screwed up the directions when he suddenly heard it.

“Listen.”

“What?”

“Shh, listen. Turn off the engine.”

“You have no idea where this place is, do you?”

“You have to hear this. Listen.”

Uniformed LAPD officer Stephanie Andress, a P-III with eleven years on the job, shifted into park, turned off their Adam car, and stared at him. She had a fine tan face, with lines at the corners of her eyes, and short sandy hair.

Scott James, a thirty-two-year-old P-II with six years on the job, grinned as he touched his ear, telling her to listen. Stephanie seemed lost for a moment, then blossomed with a wide smile.

“It’s quiet.”

“Crazy, huh? No radio calls. No chatter. I can’t even hear the freeway.”

Stephanie reached to start the car, but Scott stopped her.

“Let’s sit for a minute. How many times you hear silence like this?”

“Never. This is so cool, it’s creeping me out.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll protect you.”

Stephanie laughed, and Scott loved how the streetlights gleamed in her eyes. He wanted to touch her hand, but didn’t. They had been partners for seven months, but now Scott was leaving, and there were things he wanted to say.

“You’ve been a good partner.”

“Are you going to get all gooey on me?”

“Yeah. Kinda.”

“Okay, well, I’m going to miss you.”

“I’m going to miss you more.”

Their little joke. Everything a competition, even to who would miss the other the most. He wanted to touch her hand again, but then she reached out and took his hand in hers, and gave him a squeeze.

“No, you’re not. You’re going to kick ass, take names, and have a blast. It’s what you want, man, and I couldn’t be happier. You’re a stud.”

Scott laughed. He had played football for two years at the University of Redlands before blowing his knee, then spent four years as an MP in the United States Marine Corps. He joined LAPD after the Marines, and took night classes for the next four years to finish his degree. Scott James had goals. He was young, determined, and competitive, and wanted to run with the big dogs. He had been accepted into LAPD’s Metro Division, the elite uniformed division that backed up area-based officers throughout the city. Scott’s transfer to Metro would come at the end of the week.

Stephanie was still holding his hand, and Scott was wondering what she meant by it when an enormous Bentley sedan appeared at the end of the street, as out of place in this neighborhood as a flying carpet.

At the moment the Bentley reached the intersecting street, a deep throaty growl shattered the perfect silence, and a black Kenworth truck exploded from the cross street. It T-boned the Bentley so hard the seven-thousand-pound sedan rolled completely over and came to rest right side up on the opposite side of the street. The Kenworth skidded sideways, and stopped blocking the street.

Stephanie said, “Holy crap!”

Scott slapped on their flashers, and pushed out of the car. He was three paces ahead, and closer to the Bentley.

“I got the Batmobile. You get the truck.”

Stephanie broke into a trot, and the two veered apart. No one and nothing else moved on the street except steam hissing from beneath the Bentley’s hood.

They had gone less than a car length when bright yellow bursts flashed within the truck, and a hammering chatter echoed between the buildings.

Scott thought something was exploding within the truck’s cab, then bullets ripped into their patrol car and the Bentley with the thunder of steel rain. Scott instinctively jumped sideways as Stephanie went down. She screamed once, and wrapped her arms across her chest.

“I’m shot. Oh, crap—”

Scott dropped to the ground and covered his head. Bullets sparked off the concrete around him and gouged ruts in the street.

Move. Do something.

Scott rolled sideways, drew his pistol, and fired at the flashes as fast as he could. He pushed to his feet, and zigzagged toward his partner as an older, dark gray sedan screamed down the street. It screeched to a stop beside the Bentley, but Scott barely saw it. He fired blindly at the truck as he ran, and zigged hard toward his partner.

Stephanie was clutching herself as if doing stomach crunches. Scott grabbed her arm. He realized the men in the truck had stopped firing and thought he and Stephanie might make it even as she screamed.

Three men wearing black masks and bulky jackets boiled out of the sedan with pistols and shotguns, and lit up the Bentley, shattering the glass and punching holes in its body. As they fired, two more masked men climbed from the truck with AK-47 rifles.

Scott dragged Stephanie toward their black-and-white, slipped in her blood, then started backward again.

The first man out of the truck was tall and thin, and immediately opened fire into the Bentley’s windshield. The second man was thick, with a large gut that bulged out over his belt. He turned away from the Bentley, swung his rifle toward Scott, and the AK-47 bloomed with yellow flowers.

Something punched Scott hard in the thigh, and he lost his grip on Stephanie and his pistol. He sat down hard, looked at his thigh, and saw blood welling from his leg. Scott picked up his pistol, fired two more shots, and his pistol locked open. Empty. He pushed to his knees, and took Stephanie’s arm again.

“I’m dying."”

Scott said, “No, you’re not. I swear to God, you’re not.”

A second bullet slammed into the top of his shoulder, knocking him down. Scott lost Stephanie and his pistol again, and his left arm went numb.

The big man must have thought Scott was done. He turned to his friends, and when he did, Scott left Stephanie, and pushed toward their patrol car like a broken crab, dragging his useless leg and pushing with his good. The car was their only cover. If he made it to the car, he could use it as a weapon or a shield.

Scott keyed his shoulder mike as he scuttled backward and whispered as loudly as he dared.

“Officer down! Shots fired, shots fired! One-adam-sixty-two, we’re dying out here!”

The men from the gray sedan threw open the Bentley’s doors and fired inside. Scott glimpsed passengers, but saw only shadows. Then the firing stopped, and Stephanie called out behind him. Her voice bubbled with blood, and cut him like knives.

“Don’t leave me! Scotty, don’t leave!”

Scott pushed harder, desperate to reach the car. Shotgun in the car. Keys in the ignition.

“DON’T LEAVE ME!”

“I’m not, baby. I’m not.”

“COME BACK!”

Scott was five yards from their patrol car when the big man heard Stephanie. He turned, saw Scott, then lifted his rifle and fired.

Scott James felt the third impact as the bullet punched through his vest and ribs on the lower right side of his chest. The pain was intense, and quickly grew worse as his abdominal cavity filled with pooling blood.

Scott slowed to a stop. He tried to crawl farther, but his strength was gone. He leaned back on an elbow, and waited for the big man to shoot him again, but the big man turned toward the Bentley.

Sirens were coming.

Black figures were inside the Bentley, but Scott couldn’t see what they were doing. The driver of the gray sedan twisted to see them, and pulled up his mask as he turned. Scott saw a flash of white on the man’s cheek, and then the men in and around the Bentley ran into the waiting gray car. The men from the Kenworth climbed inside with them.

The big man was the last. He hesitated by the sedan’s open door, once more looked at Scott, and raised his rifle.

Scott screamed.

“NO!”

Scott tried to jump out of the way as the sirens faded into a soothing voice.

“Wake up, Scott.”

“NO!”

“Three, two, one—”

Nine months and sixteen days after he was shot that night, nine months and sixteen days after he saw his partner murdered, Scott James screamed when he woke.

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