A Man and His Dog Lick Crime


By Robert Crais

Why do people love dogs as much as they do? Every dog lover will have his or her own reason, but nearly all will agree on this: dogs are unfailingly faithful and loyal. Treat your dog with love, and you will receive it back ten-fold.

So, it was with great pleasure that we wandered back to an author we haven’t read in a very long time, the master detective and general tough guy novelist Robert Crais. Happily, we can report he’s lost none of his skill at writing a compelling tale. What makes this effort so special is how he is able to portray the developing relationship between Officer Scott James and his K-9 corps dog Maggie. If you have any heart at all, any feeling for your fellow man and for beautiful, loyal, and determined dogs, you’ll find yourself growing misty-eyed in the final moments of the book.

Maggie is an ex-Marine dog. She suffers from the loss of her Marine handler killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan, as well as PTSD and wounds in the attack. Officer James also suffers from PTSD and wounds received in a brutal shooting incident, as well as the loss of his partner. They come together at the LAPD canine training facility. As we follow them learning about each other and developing a trusting relationship, we develop an attachment and affection for their partnership, and, in particular, for Maggie, the best friend a man, or woman, could ever have. Our education about military and police canines, their almost incredible abilities and their unbreakable loyalty to their handlers, is the real strength of the novel. Crais does a good job of putting us into the mind of Maggie, so much so that by the end we feel as attached to her as Officer James does.

There’s not much more to say, except that during these winter days you find yourself knocking about for a good diverting read, pick up a copy and discover a crime story with real heart. w/c


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