Robert Crais has spent the past 25 years crafting his best-selling series of crime novels featuring the private detective Elvis Cole and his brooding sidekick Joe Pike. Now and then Crais will take a break from the series to publish a stand alone novel that isn't connected to Elvis or Joe. Of course he still chooses to set these stories in that beautiful desert city on the ocean, Los Angeles.
His latest, "Suspect," opens in a very different desert landscape, Afghanistan. Maggie is a German shepherd, a military dog out on patrol with her handler. Maggie is trained to sniff out explosives. They encounter a suicide bomber. The explosion wounds Maggie and kills her handler.
Then the story shifts to LA. A cop named Scott is cruising in his LAPD radio car with his partner. Scott is trying to locate that late night noodle place he keeps hearing about. Suddenly there's a surge of activity
on the street with vehicles racing past and then gunfire. When the smoke clears Scott lies gravely wounded and his partner is dead.
Some months later Scott has recovered and he's training to become an officer in the LAPD Canine Platoon. He's ready to be matched up with a dog. And you probably have already guessed that Scott ends up with Maggie, the dog that was injured by that exploding suicide bomber.
Scott and Maggie are both suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They have been wounded and they have lost their partners. This is a classic thriller, a crime fiction novel in which Scott is trying to solve
the mystery of his partner's murder. But it is much more than that. It's a story about the bonds that we can have with our canine companions. And it is a story about how Maggie and Scott help each other to heal. Crais will surely have your heartstrings tugging with this interview and his wonderful book.