Review: Suspect by Robert Crais

crais-suspectSuspect by Robert Crais
Series: Scott James & Maggie #1
Genre: Mystery
Release Date: Jan 22, 2013
Audiobook Narrated by: MacLeod Andrews

LAPD cop Scott James is not doing so well. Nine months ago, a shocking 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 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.

D.G.’s Rating: 4 stars = B+

Way to make me tear up in the prologue.

I bought Suspect just because MacLeod Andrews is the narrator. I hadn’t even remembered that I had read a previous book by this author (The Two Minute Rule) so I had no expectations besides the excellent narration. But in the prologue, we see Maggie’s POV (yes, the dog has a POV!) from the time when she lost her handler. And I was hooked.

And in love.

With the dog.

And I’m not even a dog person!

Like Maggie, Scott also lost his partner to violence and 9 months later, the culprits haven’t been apprehended. Scott’s life has changed dramatically since the shooting: he’s in pain, traumatized, and stubbornly refusing to take a medical retirement. It’s not clear why Scott decides to go for the K-9 unit but once he does, his and Maggie’s path intersect.

Maggie’s life has also changed since she lost her partner. Loud noises startle her and she’s timid around people. Understandably, Sgt. Leland (Scott’s boss) thinks she’s not fit for duty but once Scott learns of her situation (so much like his!), he asks Leland to give them a chance. Leland for his part, thinks Scott should have retired and sees this as a way to kill two birds with one stone. If Scott fails (as he’s bound to do), then maybe Scott will realize this job is not for him.

But he doesn’t count on Scott’s drive and stubbornness. Slowly, he begins to bond with Maggie, even talking to his own shrink to find out how to help with her PTSD. At the same time, Scott gets involved in the investigation about his shooting, now that new detectives are on the case. This was the weak part of the book. After I remembered The Two Minute Rule, I realized the plots were very similar. Same bad guys, same motive. The way in which Scott found the witness seemed too convoluted (although I understand this was a way to involve Maggie) and how he became a “suspect” was so fishy that you wonder how the Police was taken in. I liked Maggie and Scott so much though that I just went along for the ride.

Scott is a really nice guy. He carries a lot of guilt about the shooting – he can’t forget Stephanie’s last words – and he feels like he let her down. There’s a sense of sadness and regret about what could have been (which was also similar to the MC from the The Two Minute Rule) but there’s also the determination to do right by his partner this time around.

I loved how the author did Maggie’s POV. Her thoughts are all about pleasing and protecting Scott, who after a time, she considers her Alpha. With Scott, she’s all sweetness but when she’s on the job, she all business. She’s constantly evaluating threats and totally fierce when Scott is in danger. Her favorite mantra is: “Scott safe. Maggie safe. Pack safe.” She’s so precious! (I told you I’m in love.:)

As usual, MacLeod Andrews rocked the narration. His voices are great, his pacing is just right (I speed up most narrators but not him!) He’s one of the few narrators that can do both YA and Adult equally well…and he’s cute to boot! (Yes, I’ve googled him…don’t judge me.)

Overall, I think any mystery reader will enjoy this book but for animal lovers, it will be a definite treat.

Series Reading Order
1. Suspect
2. The Promise

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