Monday, February 8, 2016
In which the mystery group learns about PTSD and K-9 companions in Suspect...
Our book for this month was Suspect by Robert Crais, an author that I had not read before. I chose this one because a couple of members in our group sang the praises of the book and author at prior meetings and, happily, the library had enough copies. (Always a challenge.) We were a few people short - illnesses are still around, but we had a good group to share thoughts.
Suspect tells the story of Scott, a LAPD officer who has PTSD after his partner is killed in the line of duty, and Maggie, a German Shepherd who lost her partner in Afghanistan. She also has PTSD. Both are damaged. Both are missing their partners. Both really need each other. Scott, who was also shot at the same time his partner Stephanie was gunned down, has been offered a medical retirement from the police, but he declines. He asks to be transferred to a K-9 unit. Maggie, also injured in the bombing that killed her partner Pete, a Marine, is considered 'not suitable' for the police or really for a family to adopt. However, this is their story, Scott's and Maggie's. It's how they learn to trust each other and how they investigate what actually happened the night that Stephanie died.
First let me say that I am not really a dog person. I don't dislike dogs, but I've also never been particularly interested in them. I like cats. That being disclosed, I thought this book was wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery and also the poignant dance that brought Scott and Maggie together. And I recommend this book highly.
Suspect was pretty much loved by our entire group. Not by every single one, but most. Several had read the book quite some time back, as it was published in 2013, and so had to either reread it or remind themselves of the other aspects besides Scott and Maggie's story. A couple of members felt that there was too much going on, too many offshoots of the main crime, and one member felt the author was repetitious in his writing. I had shared with the group that Crais began in Hollywood as a scriptwriter for such TV shows as Hill Street Blues (he won an Emmy), Cagney & Lacey, and Miami Vice. This member said that made sense because that's kind of how she saw the book, as screenshots of a TV episode.
Several of our members are dog lovers deluxe. One member said she was currently taking her dog to training as a possible 'therapy dog' and we asked several questions about that. Robert Crais has spent a lot of time with the LAPD K-9 officers, watching them train vigorously. He is very impressed with the dedication of both the human officers and the dog officers. Another member reminded us that the dogs used by the military in war are really 'soldiers' and are considered such by other soldiers.
We agreed that we are glad we read this one and also talked about Crais' recent book, The Promise, which is a Elvis Cole/Joe Pike book (his regular series), but also includes Scott and Maggie. Plus, Mr. Crais has vowed that there will be more Scott and Maggie books in the future. And we are all pleased about that.
Next month, we'll be discussing Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes.