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4.4 249
by Robert Crais

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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Elvis Cole and Joe Pike series comes a thrilling novel featuring LAPD K-9 Officer Scott James and his German shepherd, Maggie.

Nine months ago, a shocking assault by unidentified men killed Scott James' partner, Stephanie, nearly killed him, and left him enraged, ashamed, and ready to explode


From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Elvis Cole and Joe Pike series comes a thrilling novel featuring LAPD K-9 Officer Scott James and his German shepherd, Maggie.

Nine months ago, a shocking assault by unidentified men killed Scott James' 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 two tours in Afghanistan sniffing explosives before losing her handler, her PTSD is as bad as Scott’s.

They are each other’s last chance. And they’re about to investigate the one case no one wants them to touch: identifying the men who murdered Stephanie. But what they find could ultimately break them both.

One of Booklist's 10 Best Crime Fiction Books of the Year

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)
From the Publisher
“An intense, fast-paced, and thrilling page turner.”—CNN.com

“A read-in-one-sitting thriller.”—Booklist (starred review)

“[A] heart-tugging novel…Maggie...holds us captive, enthralled by Crais’s perceptive depiction of her amazing capacities.”—The New York Times Book Review

“An emotional masterpiece. Suspect is without a doubt Crais’s best novel to date.”—Author Magazine

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.

Product Details

Gale Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Large Print
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Normal0falsefalsefalseMicrosoftInternetExplorer4st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) }/* Style Definitions */table.MsoNormalTable{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;mso-style-noshow:yes;mso-style-parent:"";mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;mso-para-margin:0in;mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;mso-pagination:widow-orphan;font-size:10.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-ansi-language:#0400;mso-fareast-language:#0400;mso-bidi-language:#0400;}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.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
“An intense, fast-paced, and thrilling page turner.”—CNN.com

“A read-in-one-sitting thriller.” —Booklist (starred review)

“[A] heart-tugging novel…Maggie…holds us captive, enthralled by Crais’s perceptive depiction of her amazing capacities.”—The New York Times Book Review

“An emotional masterpiece. Suspect is without a doubt Crais’s best novel to date.” —Author magazine

Meet the Author

Robert Crais is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty novels, many of them featuring private investigator Elvis Cole and his laconic ex-cop partner, Joe Pike. Before writing his first novel, Crais spent several years writing scripts for such major television series as Hill Street BluesCagney & LaceyMiami ViceQuincyBaretta, and L.A. Law. He received an Emmy nomination for his work on Hill Street Blues, and one of his standalone novels, Hostage, was made into a movie starring Bruce Willis. His novels have been translated into forty-two languages and are bestsellers around the world. A native of Louisiana, he lives in Los Angeles.

Brief Biography

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

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Suspect 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 249 reviews.
mjmgwiz More than 1 year ago
Wow! This is a spectacular book. The character development between Scott James and his police dog Maggie is unique, and I found the fast paced, tension-filled plot to be phenomenal. As other reviewers have said, I couldn't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm a Robert Crais fan. Although I miss Joe and Elvis, I really liked this book. Hope to see Scott and Maggie again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could not put the book down!!!! Best one yet!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No way to put thus book down, particularly if you like dogs
guiltyreader More than 1 year ago
For some reason, I wasn't expecting it to be up to the caliber of the Patterson and Connelly...   and it was. ..... will now go back to read another  of his.  Great read..
Mort More than 1 year ago
one of the best books i have read so far. this is a mixture of charaters. read it in 8 hours. i sure hope they do a follow up book. got to read it. especially if you like a mixture of man and dog!
Robynn More than 1 year ago
I cried the first 50 pages of this book. I love the Joe Pike books but this is his best. Maggie's narration touched my heart and soul. As an owner of German Shepherds, he really nailed their character and pysche. Great writing and make this a trilogy! A true German Shepherd cannot bear to have you out of sight.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best fiction book I've read in a couple of years. I did blubber through the first 50 pages or so as the two Scott and Maggie's stories were revealed. Then followed thrilling police procedural.Excellent characterization as two severely damaged individuals find hope in each other. I especially loved the occational narration from Maggie's point of view. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of Crais's novels---he has taken top billing as my favorite police/detective author. I do hope he brings these characters back. A couple of notes: the novel started so intensely, that I had to check the last part to see if both Scott and Maggie survived. Second, my dog is named Maggie, but she is a 14 -lb terrier mongrel; I had to laugh when Scott at one point calls his dog Mags because that's my nickname for my Maggie.
SeanMoore More than 1 year ago
I'm still gasping. Intensely involving passage. I wonder if it's opening lines of the book. Efficiently sets up characters then throws them into life-and-death action. I'm hooked already and want to read the whole book.   Sean Moore, author - "The Raphael Conspiracy"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From the very first paragraph, this book drew me in. And the way the author speaks from the dog's perspective was amazing. Couldn't put it down. Enjoy.
gloriafeit More than 1 year ago
There are two protagonists in this newest novel by Robert Crais: Maggie, a 3-year-old, 85-pound black-and-tan German shepherd dog [more formally named Military Working Dog Maggie], and LAPD cop Scott James, 32 years old with seven years on the job. But lest you think this is one of the tales told from an animal’s pov, complete with animal dialogue, think again: It is far from it. [Though it must be said that there are brief passages with a Maggie pov, but these are a whole ‘nother thing.] Maggie was a patrol/explosives-detection dog and, as with all MWD’s, was bred to guard and protect what was hers. (An eloquent description of one of the scents she is able to detect: “the residual gunpowder that clung to [her handler’s] weapon like a fine dust of death.”) Scott, having been partners with uniformed LAPD officer Stephanie Anders (herself on the job for eleven years) has been recently accepted into LAPD’s Metro Division, the “elite uniformed division” in the city. As the story opens, the two cops come upon what seems to be a routine auto accident that turns into anything but, with masked men from one vehicle brutally murdering two men in the other, before shooting and killing Stephanie and leaving Scott close to death and guilt-ridden over his partner’s death. More than nine months later, Scott still has recurrent and horrible nightmares, but has refused to take medical disability or sit behind a desk, and when a slot opens up in the Metro K-9 Unit he applies for that. And is partnered with Maggie, making a duo each half of which is suffering from severe PTSD. Maggie also lost a partner, in Afghanistan, and she is as badly scarred from that incident, mentally and physically, as is Scott is from his. Sgt. Dominick Leland, for 32 years on the job as a K-9 handler and a living legend in the LAPD K-9 Corps, expresses the following opinion about the pairing of the two: “That poor animal is unfit for this job, and I suspect the same about [Scott] . . . They are suspect.” Scott, still feeling enormous guilt over Stephanie’s death, is determined to see that investigation through to its end, and he, and Maggie, continue to do so. This is an extraordinary tale, expertly written. Mr. Crais takes the police procedural to a whole new level. It is that, of course, but much, much more. The author makes palpable the bond between man and dog, as well as the concept of “pack:” “Pack was everything.” I devoured this book, and it is highly recommended.
Acur81 More than 1 year ago
Typical Robert Crais novel- EXCELLENT! As much as I love his Elvis Cole, and Joe Pike novels, his stand alone books are equally good. The premise for this is very unique, and it's a fascinating character study, too. The main characters both lost partners, in a shootout, and were shot themselves. Both suffer from PTSD, and are having a tough time adjusting to it. The interesting part, is that one is a male cop, the other a Marine Corp canine-a German Shepherd to be precise. Crais even goes so far as to give us the dog's perspective. This is a great police procedural, with lots of suspense, and plenty of action, again typical of Crais. And, like most of his books, the pace is unrelenting, which makes the book VERY difficult to put down. This is another great book, that I highly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved Scott anf Maggie please let's see more of them. I'm a big fan of Elvis and Joe,but Scott and Maggie took my heart. More please!
rodfanSH More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, could not put it down, it his best so far, can't wait for more. I was a Joe Pike fan, but this is great, hope for more
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My wife and I both read this book and fell in love with Maggie. After completing, we decided to get another dog and we named her Maggie. Thank you Robert Crais for the hours of reading enjoyment and giving us the nudge to bring another loving dog into our family.
pat99 More than 1 year ago
I am mystified by the people who loved this book.  It is not horrible, but let's just say it ain't Harlan Coben.   It is a completely linear story with nothing unexpected, no surprises.  It really reads more like a plot outline  before the writer got a chance to add interesting detail.  It kept me interested enough to read it, but I thought it was completely forgettable.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not sure why the editor was negatively biased. As a lover of both Crais's work and dogs in general, I found this book to be thoroughly entertaining and engaging from start to finish. Job well done.
SlapShot62 More than 1 year ago
I thought I had plenty of authors to read on my list and now geeze.....Crais hits a home run, just not a grand slam. I'm going to have to read more of his work. I'd read Hostage years ago and loved it, then read Demolition Angel and was really so disappointed. This led to me just not rushing to read any more Crais novels. I love dogs and thrillers, so this one piqued my interest. I flew through it - just a solid thriller, but more a very strong human (and dog!) story. One really feels for Officer James as well as Maggie. The plot is very good, but not excellent. What makes it such a strong book is the bond that develops between man and dog, while wrapping itself (and them) around the investigation itself. I liked the book well enough that now I'll need to start reading the Pike and Cole novels. Hopefully they are on the level of Suspect and Hostage. If so, I'll keep coming back for more.
colo48 More than 1 year ago
Explosive masterpiece of suspense??????? NO, NO.NO. The prologue which sets up the story was the best part of the book. I have read almost all Robert Crais novels. This one lacked a compelling story and suspense, and the hero was dull and uninteresting. Come on, Crais, you can do much better. And I love dogs too!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put the book down. I read this book in 10days. I wanted to see what was going to happen next.
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Excellent book! On my top 5 list!
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