Those doubts don't survive the prologue of Suspect, a riveting thriller that introduces two new characters we hope Crais will return to in future books.
The characters are Maggie and Scott and both are suspect. Not the noun referring to a person thought to have committed a crime, but the adjective -- not to be relied on or trusted, doubtful.
Maggie is an 85-pound German shepherd, a former military working dog who was shot twice by an Afghan sniper. Her handler died in the attack.
Scott is a former LAPD patrolman shot three times when he and his partner were unexpectedly caught up in attack by heavily armed gunmen on two LA businessmen. Scott's partner died in the attack.
Maggie and Scott both suffer from PTSD. Maggie has a limp and Scott is popping pain meds to control the pain from his injuries.
The two meet at the LAPD's K-9 training facility. Scott sees something in the dog, who is about to be washed out of the K-9 unit. He's given two weeks to prove Maggie belongs.
Scott has to prove he also belongs.
Together, Scott and Maggie seek to identify the masked attackers who shot Scott and killed his partner. Scott quickly learns that Maggie and her heightened sense of smell can make a valuable contribution to the investigation.
As they travel down a perilous course, the pair bond becoming an inseparable pack that are willing to sacrifice their lives for each another.
Suspect is vintage Robert Crais. The former Hollywood scriptwriter is a master of pacing and characterization and knows how to tell a tense, satisfying story that has the reader squirming with anticipation.
Book 17 -- The Leopard by Jo Nesbo
From the opening, when an attractive policewomen is sent to Hong Kong to retrieve a traumatized Harry Hole, to the conclusion, on the slopes of an African volcano, this is a tautly scripted thriller that dishes up enough ghastly murders and unexpected plot twists to make its 600+ plus pages fly by.
Hole, a brilliant, alcoholic detective, is recalled to Oslo because it appears another serial killer is loose in Norway.
Traumatized by the Snowman investigation, Hole's life is a shambles. His lover and child have fled Oslo, his father is dying and, on his return, he's immersed in a political battle to determine who will conduct murder investigations in Norway.
Despite those obstacles, Harry begins to make headway in one of the most unusual investigations of his career.