The best thrillers and mysteries about dogs

Who am I?

Some of my fondest memories have been of curling up with the family dog and reading a good book. This started as a child with our golden retriever OJ, and continues today with Lolo, our sweet but spoiled German shorthaired pointer. Dogs are such wonderful companions, always up for anything: hiking, exploring, car rides, sitting on the couch, and lounging. It’s no surprise, then, that not only do I love reading books featuring dogs I’ve also included a canine sidekick in each of the nine thrillers that I’ve written. I hope you enjoy this dogged list of mysteries and thrillers as much as I have. 

I wrote...

Not a Sound

By Heather Gudenkauf,

Book cover of Not a Sound

What is my book about?

When a tragic accident leaves nurse Amelia Winn deaf, she loses everything that matters—her job, her husband, and her stepdaughter. Now, two years later and with the help of her hearing dog, Stitch, she is finally getting back on her feet. But when she discovers the body of a fellow nurse in the dense bush by the river, deep in the woods near her cabin, she is plunged into a disturbing mystery that could shatter the carefully reconstructed pieces of her life all over again.

As clues begin to surface, Amelia finds herself swept into an investigation that hits all too close to home. But how much is she willing to risk in order to uncover the truth and bring a killer to justice? 

The books I picked & why

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Never Let You Go

By Chevy Stevens,

Book cover of Never Let You Go

Why this book?

Chevy Stevens is one of my favorite go-to authors and Never Let You Go, the story of a woman and her child who escape an abusive relationship and eleven years later the threat returns, is a book that has lingered with me for years. In the very first chapter Stevens manages to capture such intense fear and helplessness in Lindsey and her daughter Sophie as well as a sense of determination and a will to survive. But Lindsey can’t do it alone. At her side is Angus – a lug of a German shepherd mix, whom Lindsey found at the local animal shelter. Angus doesn’t make an appearance until about halfway in the novel, but what an appearance he makes. He instantly becomes a beloved family member, providing a sense of comfort and security to Lindsey and Sophie. As Lindsey’s ruthless ex-husband draws ever closer, Lindsey, Sophie, and Angus must close ranks and rely on one another more than ever.

The Wife Upstairs

By Rachel Hawkins,

Book cover of The Wife Upstairs

Why this book?

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins centers around Jane who, penniless, arrives in Alabama and begins to walk dogs in an upscale, gated community. Jane hates her job, is no dog lover, and has resorted to sliding client’s valuables into her pockets. Life is a bit grim for Jane who wanted so much more for herself. Things begin to appear more hopeful when Jane meets Eddie Rochester and she begins to fall for the wealthy widower whose wife died in a boating accident. Jane even begins to develop a fondness for her dog clientele – especially Adele, a sweet Irish setter puppy, Eddie buys expressly for Jane to walk.

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Jane’s canine clientele: Bear, a collie; Mary-Beth, a dalmatian; Major and Colonel, shih-tzus; Harper, a lab; and of course, Adele. Dog heaven, right? But as with all great thrillers, nothing is as it seems. Can Jane trust Eddie? What really happened to Eddie’s wife? 

Come for the dogs, stay for the delicious twists and turns. I read The Wife Upstairs in one sitting.


By Dean Koontz,

Book cover of Devoted

Why this book?

My first experience with a Dean Koontz book was Intensity and wow, did that thriller live up to its title. The same goes for Koontz’s, suspense-packed Devoted – the perfect descriptor for Kipp, a loyal golden retriever who has that magical innate ability dogs seem to have of communicating wordlessly with their humans. At the beginning of the book, we meet Woody, an eleven-year-old non-verbal child with autism who is confident that his father’s untimely death was no accident, but an evil entity that is now after him and his mother. While Woody’s terror grows, Kipp begins his tireless search for Woody, knowing that he could be the only one who can deliver the boy to safety. 

Told with Koontz’s signature page-turning suspense, Devoted is a heart-tugging, immersive thrill-ride, best experienced with your canine best friend snuggled up right next to you. 

Breaking Creed

By Alex Kava,

Book cover of Breaking Creed

Why this book?

Novels featuring one canine is special enough, but an entire pack? Sign me up! In Breaking Creed, Alex Kava introduces us to ex-Marine Ryder Creed and his team of search-and-rescue dogs in training. When Creed and Grace, his Jack Russel terrier, are called in to search a commercial fishing boat for drugs, they find a very different kind of cargo.

Creed’s interference makes him target number one for a dangerous cartel, who will stop at nothing to eliminate the man who tried to thwart their mission. Ensconced at his compound in Florida, Creed and his crew of canines are ready for whatever the cartel has in store for them. A heart-pounding thrill ride that will have you cheering for Creed and his four-footed team.


By Robert Crais,

Book cover of Suspect

Why this book?

In Suspect by Robert Crais, all seems hopeless for LAPD-K-9 officer Scott James who can’t work, can’t sleep, and can’t manage his anger after the brutal death of his partner. Maggie, a German shepherd back home from Afghanistan, is in the same boat - traumatized and nearly broken after losing her handler in a deadly attack. These two damaged souls are partnered up and knowing that this may be their last chance to return to the land of the living, begin to form a reluctant bond. Scott’s and Maggie’s connection strengthens as they are thrust into an investigation that could get them both killed – the death of Scott’s former partner. 

Suspect is a novel I revisit every few years. The relationship forged between Scott and Maggie is one for the ages and a testament to the healing power of love, acceptance, and self-forgiveness.

5 book lists we think you will like!

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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