I have here in my hot little hands Suspect, the new novel by Robert Crais. Well, technically it's sitting on the desk next to me. The point is, it's in my possession and I am pleased.
I'm a big Robert Crais fan. I can still remember how I came to be familiar with his novels. It was 1995 or 1996 -- after I met my friend Lori, but before I moved to Virginia -- and I was at a used book store in Wheaton, Maryland. (The one in Wheaton Triangle Shopping Center, if you know the area. Don't know if it's still there.). As I always do in such circumstances, I went over to the mystery section to look for books by Max Allan Collins. As my eyes wandered up the shelf, I saw a thin paperback with a picture on the spine of Jiminy Cricket -- at least, enough of him to be recognizable but not so much as to get in trouble with Disney's intellectual property lawyers. That intrigued me, so I plucked it off the shelf for a closer look. The book was The Monkey's Raincoat, the first book in a series featuring a private detective called Elvis Cole. It had a gushingly positive blurb by Lawrence Block, and since he knows more than a little about great private eye novels, I took it home with me. (After paying for it, of course.) I loved it, and all the other novels in the series that had been written to that point and all the ones that were released subsequently. So of course I got his new book as soon as I could.
Unfortunately, it's not an Elvis Cole novel, and I've run kind of hot and cold on his standalone novels. I liked The Two-Minute Rule a lot, but Demolition Angel was just OK, and Hostage didn't do much for me. And this one doesn't sound promising, judging by the description on the dust jacket:
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.
Yeeeeah, I don't know. I'm not generally a fan of dog stories, and I'm almost completely unsentimental about them. I don't doubt that dogs can and do suffer from post-traumatic stress, but at the risk of sounding cruel, it's very difficult for me care. I'll worry about a dog with PTSD after all the humans with PTSD are taken care of. But who knows, maybe Robert Crais can make me care. I'm willing to give him a chance to try to, at least.