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Expect the expected in this stand-alone crime thriller from Shamus Award-winner Crais (The Two Minute Rule). Maggie, a weapon-detecting German shepherd who was seriously traumatized in Afghanistan after an IED killed her human partner and she was shot by a sniper, is struggling as a new member of the LAPD K-9 Platoon. LAPD officer Scott James-who was traumatized after unidentified gunmen killed his partner, Stephanie Anders, and seriously wounded him-makes it his mission to get past Maggie's defenses to make her functional again. An attractive female detective assists James after his own return to form enables him to take a more active role in investigating who gunned down Anders. Dog lovers who believe the animals are superior to humans in every way will find this lukewarm tale of redemption inspiring. Fans of Crais's sharp-edged Elvis Cole novels will find less to admire. Author tour. Agent: Aaron Priest, Aaron M. Priest Literary Agency. (Jan. 22) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* The most multifaceted and appealing new protagonist in crime fiction this year just may turn out to be a dog and a hard-boiled dog, to boot. Maggie is a German shepherd trying out for the LAPD's K-9 unit, but it looks like she isn't going to make it. A former military dog, Maggie survived three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan but was severely wounded (her handler was killed) and now suffers from the canine version of PTSD. LAPD cop Scott James, shot during an altercation in which his partner was killed, also suffers from PTSD and has been assigned to the K-9 unit, but it doesn't look he's going to make it, either. Scott and Maggie immediately bond, but the hard-nosed sergeant who heads the unit doubts whether either one can measure up. Man and dog think otherwise, however, and as Scott continues off the books to investigate the shooting that cost his partner her life, he finds that Maggie has his back, just as his partner did. Taking a break from his critically acclaimed Elvis Cole and Joe Pike series, Crais launches what looks like a stand-alone, but anyone who reads 20 pages of this gripping and heartrending thriller will devoutly pray that it's the beginning of a new series. As Scott digs deeper into the death of his partner, he stumbles on a massive cover-up. That story is thoroughly involving and skillfully presented, but, frankly, it's hard for the reader to think of anything but Maggie. We become singlemindedly obsessed with the safety of this beautiful, sensitive, and stunningly intelligent animal, much as Maggie lives to protect and please Scott. Crais take us inside Maggie's head and, even more, her remarkably sensitive nose but always in the most believable of terms (this is no talking-dog cozy). A read-in-one-sitting thriller, plot- and character-driven in equal measures. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Crais has hit the New York Times best-seller list eight times, with Taken making it to number one. The track record will jump-start this one, but the book itself will do the rest.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2010 Booklist