Author: Robert Crais
Performed by MacLeod Andrews
Released: January 2013 by Brilliance Audio
A story involving man's (and woman's) best friend is a very good starting point for me. Especially when the dog in question is a GSD. Maggie is military trained and on active duty with her handler, Pete, in Afghanistan. They have an incredibly close relationship, living and working together. While on a job one day Pete is killed by a suicide bomber and Maggie is shot and badly injured by a sniper.
Scott James is a police officer with the LAPD and while on patrol with his partner, Stephanie, becomes unwittingly involved in a shooting. Stephanie doesn't make it and Scott is seriously wounded.
Several months later Scott and Maggie are recovering physically but both are severely traumatised. Maggie misses her pack leader and is sunk in depression and Scott blames himself for Stephanie's death and is suffering from flashbacks and nightmares as well as coping with the lasting effects of his injuries.
Scott doesn't want a medical discharge and joins the LAPD's canine division. Maggie is classed as unfit for active duty and is taken to the canine division. And here begins an incredible story of the bond between a dog and her human, the interaction and building of trust and love after the traumas they both suffered.
There are multi layers to this story and running alongside Scott and Maggie's story is the murder mystery. Scott is determined to find Stephanie's killers and together he and Maggie bring down the bad guys in a suspenseful and tension filled storyline.
MacLeod magic strikes again :-) A perfect narration expressing the despair Scott feels and the growing attachment between him and Maggie, the 'doggie speak' delivered without sounding corny or over the top. The character portrayals are first rate, both soft voiced and more gruff and gravelly.
The opening chapters particularly are powerful and moving and it's very easy to become emotionally involved with the Maggie and Scott. If you're a dog lover ( and maybe even if you're not) be prepared to shed a few tears.
I like the way Mr Crais writes some scenes from Maggie's point of view. He has a wonderful insight into the relationships between dogs and humans.