Suspect

[Amazon Link]

The announcement of a new Robert Crais book gets my finger hovering over the one-click button at Amazon. And the Kindle version—instant gratification! It's a "standalone", no appearances by Elvis Cole or Joe Pike. (Although the obnoxious John Chen gets a couple mentions.) Nevertheless, it's a compelling story.

Can't really call it a page-turner, since it's on the Kindle. But you know what I mean.

The title, Suspect, refers to the two main characters, Scott James and Maggie. Both are viewed possibly unfit for duty with the LAPD, due to their physical and psychological problems stemming from violent episodes in their past.

Scott lost his partner/girlfriend Stephanie in a deadly ambush in a remote corner of Los Angeles. He was shot up himself, and is guilt-wracked over their last moments.

Maggie, by the way, is a German Shepard. That's her silhouette on the cover over there. And she lost her partner, Pete, her "alpha", in a Afghanistan village filled with suicidal bad guys. (You might never read a more heartbreaking scene.)

Months later, Scott and Maggie wind up as trainees in the LAPD K-9 unit; it's the last chance for both of them. The investigation into the shootout that killed Stephanie is at a near standstill; the cops can't figure out a motive, let alone perpetrators. Scott's not supposed to be involved, except as a witness. But you will not be surprised: he gets involved anyway. And he and Maggie gradually uncover the truth. You will (also) not be surprised to learn that in involves corruption, conspiracy, and additional action.

A few chapters are told from Maggie's point of view. This could have been disastrous, but (at least for me) it works great. Crais does a fine job of getting into Maggie's head; she's one of the bravest, most loyal characters you're likely to run across. Dogs: we don't really deserve them.

Foundation and Earth

[Amazon Link]

The good Doctor Asimov wrote this back in 1986. It's set immediately after the events related in Foundation's Edge. Golan Trevise, the Brash Young Man (aka "undiplomatic young jackass") from the Foundation, and his companion Janov Pelorat, due to their encounter with the hive-mind planet of Gaia, have made a monumental decision about the future of the entire galaxy. But was it the correct one? Trevise has doubts that can only be assuaged by finding the mythical origin of humanity that (just might) be called Earth. This is made difficult in that all historical records of Earth have been carefully expunged, by forces unknown.

Trevise and Pelorat, together with their Gaian companion Bliss (who has become Pelorat's Main Squeeze) set off for parts unknown based on flimsy clues and ancient myths. Their perilous journey takes them to a number of planets where they (pretty much uniformly) find themselves in perilous situations, followed by narrow escapes.

This book has the usual Asimovian characteristic, containing a high ratio of Stilted Dialog to Things Actually Happening. And it's shamelessly padded; Asimov mentions in the introduction that a contract his contract for for Foundation's Edge demanded that he produce 140,000 words. I would imagine something similar here, although it's at best a 100,000 word story.

But! If you've been a Faithful Reader of the previous Foundation and Robot novels, the rewards of Foundation and Earth are immense. We get to find out what happened to familiar worlds (Aurora, Solaria, and of course, Earth). And there's a satisfying big surprise at the end. Even though this is the second time I've read it, it still had me smiling.