LAPD cop Scott James and his new partner, Maggie, are both broken beings.

Just over nine months before, Scott and his then partner had witnessed a car accident and went to render aid, only to be fired upon by two men in the big rig that had t-boned the51hZaUkaZEL Bentley. Another vehicle had roared up and two more men with automatic weapons had joined the ambush. They were firing on the Bentley and Scott and his partner Stephanie as well. Both hit, Scott tries to reach their police unit for the shotgun and to move the car to cover Stephanie. Shot three times, he doesn’t make it, collapsing as he hears his partner begging him not to leave her. She dies thinking he’d abandoned her and that idea still haunts him today.

Maggie is a German Shepherd who’d been shot twice herself in Afghanistan while hunting IEDs with her partner. Though she survived, the Marine had not and she feels she did not protect the pack leader.

Scott had refused a medical discharge and applied to L.A.’s Canine unit. He picks Maggie when he hears her story. The boss loves the dog and hates that he’s going to have to wash her out. She cringes and looks for a place to hide every time she hears a loud noise. But Scott has some credit built up because of what happened and gets his way. The two beginning a bonding process, the boss gives them two weeks, and start something more. But most figure both are a hopeless case. Not so them.

Nine months and nothing seems to have been advanced on the case. Going to a psychiatrist since physically recovering, Scott is remembering bits and pieces, not a lot, but enough to encourage him to poke around on his own. It’s a case Scott quickly learns someone is interested in him staying away from.

I’ve been a fan of Crais’s novels for a long time. The Elvis Cole and Joe Pike novels are favorites, but his standalones are among the best thrillers going today. Always tightly plotted and full of action, I look forward to anything Mr. Crais publishes. Never disappointed.

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