The most recommended books about police dogs

Who picked these books? Meet our 17 experts.

17 authors created a book list connected to police dogs, and here are their favorite police dog books.
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Book cover of Stalking Ground

DK Coutant Author Of Evil Alice and the Borzoi

From my list on mysteries with sleuths who love their dogs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I don’t remember a moment in my life when there wasn’t a dog in it.  They are members of my family, and I identify with protagonists who have the same connection in their lives. In my day job, I write mysteries and forecast geopolitical events. Mysteries with dogs help me balance the darkness in the world with the sheer delight that can be found with a dog.

DK's book list on mysteries with sleuths who love their dogs

DK Coutant Why did DK love this book?

Mattie and Robo (a German Shepard) are part of a K9-Police Unit. Although they don’t bicker on stakeouts, in every other way, they live and work as a team. I  learned about the nitty gritty details (Kevlar protection for dogs!) that these teams need. And how much risk and what a critical role police dogs play when hunting a dangerous fugitive or searching for lost persons.

Also intriguing is that while not an amateur sleuth, Mattie is not a “detective” in the traditional sense of the word. Her primary responsibility is Robo.  And while Robo is a super-star in the K-9 Police world, even he had limitations. This is a great series about working dogs and their relationships with their handlers. 

By Margaret Mizushima,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stalking Ground as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A taut page-turner on multiple levels.” —Booklist
“Dog lovers will want to read this thriller.” —Library Journal

In this follow-up to Killing Trail, a murder investigation takes Mattie Cobb and her canine partner to the Colorado mountains—where the brutal winter landscape conceals an equally brutal killer.

When Deputy Ken Brody’s sweetheart goes missing in the mountains outside Timber Creek, Mattie Cobb and Robo are called to search. But it’s mid-October and a dark snow storm is brewing over the high country—and they’re already too late. By the time they find her body, the storm has broken and the snow is…


Book cover of My Life and Hard Times

James W. Morris Author Of Rude Baby

From my list on literary fiction to laugh out loud.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, I wrote a series of plays with my family as characters. Everyone (even the dog and cat) had lines that demonstrated their quirks, except me—the sane and reasonable one. When I performed these playlets for my mother (performing all parts, since no one else would co-operate) she laughed so hard she cried, and it’s fair to say my subsequent writing career has been an attempt to recapture the feelings that experience generated. Beginning as a joke writer (including a stint working for Jay Leno), I now focus on literary fiction, though humor is always a part of my work.

James' book list on literary fiction to laugh out loud

James W. Morris Why did James love this book?

I received a copy of this book as a gift on my eleventh birthday, and by the time I’d finished reading it, I had decided to become a writer. What seems at first to be a simply-written series of reminiscences from Thurber’s boyhood in Columbus, Ohio is in fact a fake (or at least exaggeration-filled) memoir, full of tales about charmingly addled characters and unlikely incidents. The chapter entitled “The Dog that Bit People” is my personal favorite.

By James Thurber,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Life and Hard Times as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Bantam Classic, published in 1961. Cover and spine a little rough. Book appears to be unopened (unread). Pages lightly tan with age. Clean, bright used copy with tight binding. NEVER a library book./jl


Book cover of Dog Tags

Judith Mathison Author Of Murder at the No-Kill Animal Shelter

From my list on crime solvers and their dogs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've always been comforted by the animals in my life, especially my two current feline rescues. When I retired as an attorney, I began working on a murder mystery series, Dead Lawyers, as therapy for my time in the legal biz. The main character, not a pet person, ends up with two cats, and I enjoyed writing humorous scenes on how his life turned topsy-turvy. I needed to explain the backstory, and wrote Murder at the No-Kill Animal Shelter, a prequel novella to the series. I can’t think of anything better than combining animals and mysteries. I’m gladly an award-winning member of Cat Writers Association, along with Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.

Judith's book list on crime solvers and their dogs

Judith Mathison Why did Judith love this book?

Billy, an injured Iraq war vet, returns home and finds no real place for him at his former job. Milo, a German shepherd trained by the same police department, has aged out at seven years and is also unwanted. Since Milo and Billy previously worked together, they team up, and with Rosenfelt’s tongue-in-cheek humor, commit robberies to survive. Why not use the dog’s training to grab items from criminal hands and remove them? But on the fourth outing, things don’t go as planned.

Milo takes off and buries an envelope he took from the perp, Billy is framed for murder, and attorney Andy Carpenter, who loves dogs, agrees to represent the dog, jailed for his own safety. Carpenter’s snarky sense of humor leaps off every page as he twists and turns the justice system for yet another dog-related cause. Rosenfelt has rescued thousands of dogs through his Tara Foundation and…

By David Rosenfelt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dog Tags as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A German Shepherd police dog becomes implicated in a murder and if his owner - an Iraq war vet and former cop-turned-thief - is convicted, the dog could be put down. Few rival Andy Carpenter's affection for dogs, and he decides to represent the poor canine. As Andy struggles to convince a judge that this dog should be set free, he discovers that the dog and his owner have become involved unwittingly in a case of much greater proportions than the one they've been charged with. Andy will have to call upon the unique abilities of this ex-police dog to…


Book cover of Dead Falls: A Jessica Anderson K-9 Mystery

Laurie Buchanan Author Of Impervious: A Sean McPherson Novel

From my list on mysteries and thrillers paw-fect for dog lovers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hi, my name is Laurie Buchanan, and I'm addicted to dogs. I was nicknamed "Dr. Doolittle" at seven, and the moniker has stuck. Why? Because I have a way with all animals, but dogs in particular. I've been owned by dogs (not the other way around) since elementary school—from Irish wolfhounds to Scottish Terriers and everything in between—Poodles, Collies, Dalmatians, and mixed breeds. Not only do I enjoy reading books that feature K9 characters, but I also write them—The Sean McPherson crime thriller series. I do my best plotting during my daily six-mile walk with my four-legged companion, Henry, a not-so-standard Standard Poodle.

Laurie's book list on mysteries and thrillers paw-fect for dog lovers

Laurie Buchanan Why did Laurie love this book?

I love a good storyline, but even more so when it’s well-supported.

The author, D.L. Keur, offers captivating information about search and rescue, hostage rescue, pack interactions, human-K9 communication, and human psychology. I love the dogs—yes, plural—and the relationships with their human companions.

Speaking of which, the human characters are realistic. Just like people in real life, they’re flawed, which to my way of thinking, makes a story even more believable and relatable.

By D. L. Keur,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dead Falls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Tracking Game

Neil Plakcy Author Of In Dog We Trust

From my list on crime-solving dogs.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I met my husband, he had two dogs—Gus the collie and Charlie the Yorkie. When the collie crossed the rainbow bridge, we brought another big dog into the household—a golden retriever. Charlie let Sam know that my husband was HIS human, and Sam could have me if he wanted. That began a beautiful twelve-year love affair. I knew I had to write about the relationship between man and dog, and chose the mystery novel as my framework. I spend hours every day researching my books – walking my current goldens, Brody and Griffin; feeding them; grooming them; playing with them; and observing how they interact with the world.

Neil's book list on crime-solving dogs

Neil Plakcy Why did Neil love this book?

Mizushima’s husband is a veterinarian, and her home is always filled with animals. She brings that attention to animal behavior to her mysteries, in which a police deputy and a veterinarian solve crimes in the fictional mountain town of Timber Creek, Colorado.

The dog in question is Robo, a German shepherd trained in patrol and narcotics detection, and he’s Deputy Mattie Cobb’s K9 partner. Because he’s a police dog, he has a large role in the book, and the series, tracking fugitives, searching for evidence, sniffing out drugs, and rescuing people.

By Margaret Mizushima,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Tracking Game as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

November 2019 Top Pick, Library Reads

Two brutal murders, a menacing band of poachers, and a fearsome creature on the loose in the mountains plunge Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner Robo into a sinister vortex.

An explosion outside a community dance sends Mattie Cobb and Cole Walker reeling into the night, where they discover a burning van and beside it the body of outfitter Nate Fletcher. But the explosion didn't kill Nate--it was two gunshots to the heart.

The investigation leads them to the home of rancher Doyle Redman, whose daughter is Nate's widow, and the object of one…


Book cover of Suspect

Neil Plakcy Author Of In Dog We Trust

From my list on crime-solving dogs.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I met my husband, he had two dogs—Gus the collie and Charlie the Yorkie. When the collie crossed the rainbow bridge, we brought another big dog into the household—a golden retriever. Charlie let Sam know that my husband was HIS human, and Sam could have me if he wanted. That began a beautiful twelve-year love affair. I knew I had to write about the relationship between man and dog, and chose the mystery novel as my framework. I spend hours every day researching my books – walking my current goldens, Brody and Griffin; feeding them; grooming them; playing with them; and observing how they interact with the world.

Neil's book list on crime-solving dogs

Neil Plakcy Why did Neil love this book?

I’ve been a fan of Crais’s Elvis & Joe series for years, so I was delighted to see that he brought a dog into a new series as a main character. Another book with traumatized characters, this one demonstrates the redemptive power of canine love.

LAPD officer Scott James is recovering from an assault in which his partner was killed, and he almost lost his life. He’s barely fit to return to duty until he’s paired with his new partner Maggie, a bomb-sniffing German shepherd that lost her handler in Afghanistan. Their partnership offers healing for both, and I love this book and A Borrowing of Bones because they reflect redemption.

By Robert Crais,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Suspect as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

LAPD cop Scott James is not doing so well. Eight months ago, a shocking late-night assault by unidentified men killed his partner Stephanie, nearly killed him, and left him enraged, ashamed, and ready to explode. He is unfit for duty - until he meets his new partner.

Maggie is not doing so well, either. A German shepherd who survived three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan sniffing out explosives before losing her handler to an IED.

They are each other's last chance. Shunned and shunted to the side, they set out to investigate the one case that no one wants them…


Book cover of Troubled Pursuit: A Jessica Anderson K-9 Mystery

Dianna Dorisi Winget Author Of A Country Kind of Love: A Huckleberry Ridge Romance

From Dianna's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Reader Dog Lover Hiker Hot tub connoisseur

Dianna's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Dianna Dorisi Winget Why did Dianna love this book?

This is book #6 in the Jessica Anderson series, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each of them. It’s about a family who raises top-of-the-line working dogs trained for search and rescue and protection work.

I love reading about the incredible feats these dogs are capable of and how Jessica, the main character, goes about training them.

This story (and all the other titles) is filled with mystery, danger, and tension, but humor as well. Jessica works with the local sheriff, and I keep hoping that the two of them will eventually fall in love. If you love dogs, mystery, and crime-solving, this is the perfect series. 

By D. L. Keur,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Troubled Pursuit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Breaking Creed

Darlene Dziomba Author Of Clues From The Canines

From my list on mysteries with sleuths with canine companions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved animals my entire life. I know first-hand the calming influence the unconditional love of a dog can bring to a person. In contentious Teams meetings on the computer, I pet my dog to keep calm. If I am sad or anxious, I grab the squeaky toy, and we play tug-of-war. I volunteered at the Animal Welfare Association, a no-kill New Jersey Animal Shelter. Through my work, I gained an understanding of how to assess the non-verbal cues of a dog. I’ve learned that it is essential to understand an animal’s body language more so than the standards and behaviors associated with breeds of dogs. 

Darlene's book list on mysteries with sleuths with canine companions

Darlene Dziomba Why did Darlene love this book?

Ryder Creed brings his canine handling skills to potential crime scenes and smuggling operations. He works as a team with his Jack Russell Grace. Dog and man communicate in non-verbal ways to assess situations and aid law enforcement in uncovering evidence. The typical crime scene dog is taught for the job they will perform from birth. Ryder’s dogs are rescued from the street, animal shelters, or retrained after their owners are killed during military actions. The characters’ back stories are thoroughly crafted and distributed throughout the plot. As you learn more about each character, you understand their canine companions’ vital role in their lives.

By Alex Kava,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Breaking Creed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ryder Creed and his dogs have been making national headlines after intercepting several major drug stashes being smuggled through Atlanta's airport. But their newfound celebrity has also garnered some unwanted attention. When Creed and one of his dogs are called in to search a commercial fishing vessel, they discover a secret compartment. But the Colombian cartels' latest shipment isn't drugs. This time, its cargo is human. To make matters worse, Creed helps one of the cartel's drug mules escape - a fourteen-year-old girl who reminds him of his younger sister who disappeared fifteen years ago. Meanwhile, FBI agent Maggie O'Dell…


Book cover of Standing Dead

Kathleen Donnelly Author Of Chasing Justice

From my list on K-9 books that take a bite out of crime.

Why am I passionate about this?

For the last 19 years, I have worked narcotics K-9s for a private company called Sherlock Hounds Detection Canines. I recently retired from the K-9 work, but over the years, I loved seeing how dogs solve crimes in real life. Not only do they help us solve crimes, but dogs have a way of reaching people and changing lives. Dogs are quite literally “man’s (or woman’s) best friend,” and because of that, they become the best partners for many characters in books. There’s nothing better than discovering a new K-9 series that depicts the real-life love and bond between K-9 and handler. 

Kathleen's book list on K-9 books that take a bite out of crime

Kathleen Donnelly Why did Kathleen love this book?

I love the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series and Mizushima’s latest book was one of my favorites. As a retired K-9 handler, sometimes books with working dogs get facts wrong. I could tell that Mizushima put a lot of research time into each of her books. I love the fictional K-9, Robo, and Mizushima’s accurate portrayal of the bond between handler and dog. 

Mattie Cobb, the main character, is intriguing and makes the reader cheer for her. The dashing veterinarian, Cole Walker, adds a little romance to the storyline. I would recommend starting with the first book, Killing Trail. While each book stands on its own, reading about the mystery of Mattie’s family makes the conclusion of Standing Dead even more thrilling. 

By Margaret Mizushima,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Standing Dead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From critically acclaimed, master thriller author Margaret Mizushima, comes the eighth installment of the award-winning Timber Creek K-9 mysteries.

“Tense and satisfying,” (JA Jance) Standing Dead is the perfect read for fans of CJ Box and Longmire.

Deputy Mattie Cobb and her sister, Julia, travel to Mexico to visit their mother, but when they arrive, they discover that she and her husband have vanished without a trace. Back in Timber Creek, Mattie finds a chilling note on her front door telling her to look for “him” among the standing dead up in the high country.
 
The sheriff’s department springs into…


Book cover of Officer Buckle and Gloria

Marty Rhodes Figley Author Of Emily and Carlo

From my list on dogs, poetry, and dogs in poetry.

Why am I passionate about this?

Years ago, I returned to school at Mount Holyoke College to complete my bachelor’s degree in American Studies. I took a course on Emily Dickinson at the poet’s home in Amherst, Massachusetts—what a thrill! On the first day of class I learned that for sixteen years Emily’s constant companion was Carlo, a Newfoundland dog. Having experienced a hairy, slobbery encounter with a Newf when I was twenty while wearing a white dress, I knew the myth of Emily, pristinely dressed, untouched by the more earthy emotions was wrong. A new story needed to be told. That was the beginning of Emily and Carlo.

Marty's book list on dogs, poetry, and dogs in poetry

Marty Rhodes Figley Why did Marty love this book?

I‘ve loved this book for years and if you haven’t read it, please give yourself a treat. Gloria, a dog of few words but lots of action, is one of my all-time favorite picture book characters. Officer Buckle is earnest when he gives his school talks on safety. Gloria, the police dog, is his sidekick and buddy. They have ice cream after their presentations. He thinks she obeys. But when he discovers she has been delighting their audiences while sneakily upstaging him with her antics, he refuses to do any more school talks. The show must go one with just Gloria—alone. But it’s no good. There is a happy ending to this book about teamwork and friendship. The Caldecott Medal-winning art is sublime.

By Peggy Rathmann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Officer Buckle and Gloria as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Besides the beguiling story, the affable illustrations of the smiling Gloria, the accidental mayhem in the background, and the myriad safety tips -- such as 'always pull the toothpick out of your sandwhich' and 'never lick a stop sign in the winter' -- add to the enjoyment. A glorious picture book." -- The Horn Book"Rathmann is a quick rising star in the world of chidren's books. In this book, she again shows her flair for creating real characters, dramatic situations and for knowing what will make young audiences giggle and think." -- Children's Book Review Magazine"Rathman brings a lighter-than-air comic…