Monday, July 1, 2013


Pages: 341
Date: 01/07/2013
Grade: 4.5
Details: no. 13 Elvis Cole / no. 4 Joe Pike

The blurb:

“When Nita Morales hires Elvis Cole to find her missing adult daughter, she isn’t afraid, even though she’s gotten a phone call asking for ransom. She knows it’s a fake, that her daughter is off with the guy Nita will only call "that boy," and that they need money: "Even smart girls do stupid things when they think a boy loves them."

But Nita is wrong. The girl and her boyfriend have been taken by bajadores – bandits who prey on other bandits, border professionals who prey not only on innocent victims, but on each other. They steal drugs, guns, and people – buying and selling victims like commodities, and killing the ones they can’t get a price for.

Elvis Cole and Joe Pike find the spot where they were taken. There are tire tracks, bullet casings, and bloodstains. They know things look as bad as possible. But they are wrong, too. It is about to get worse. Going undercover to find the two young people and buy them back, Cole himself is taken, and now it is up to Joe Pike to retrace Cole’s steps, burning through the hard and murderous world of human traffickers to find his friend.

But he may already be too late...”

I love Robert Crais’ books. I’ve read all the Elvis Cole and Joe Pike books so far and can’t get enough of them. These two characters are as wonderful as they are unique. With Elvis - the world's greatest detective - Cole's silly jokes and quirky sense of humour and Joe’s silent and thoughtful efficiency we have two heroes who are as unlike each other as possible yet are the best of friends with a perfect understanding of each other and a loyalty that would make them do anything for each other. Many a married couple would envy this level of commitment.

And this is a tense thriller. Young Krista Morales and Jack Berman find themselves in terrible danger when they are captured by bajadores and discover that in order to stay alive their families will have to pay ransom money for them. They are scared from the moment they are taken and become terrified when they discover what happens to those who don’t have families who can pay.

Elvis Cole’s investigation starts of smoothly enough. There are clues to be followed and people to be investigated. It isn’t long though before he realizes that he is up against something much bigger than he imagined. The two young people are in terrible danger and Cole has no idea exactly where they are being kept. What he does know is that he is dealing with ruthless gangsters. Not only those he’s trying to find are on the wrong side of the law; the same is true for those who want him to succeed.

The plan Elvis and Joe had to find Krista and Jack was good. It wasn’t full-proof though and by the time Joe realizes he has lost Cole he has to start almost from scratch in order to find his friend and partner. With no way of knowing whether or not his friend or the two youngsters are still alive Pike and a colleague have to mount an intricate operation in order to try and liberate the captives. Always provided they will get there on time.

This was another great thriller by Mr. Crais. The plot is believable enough to give you the creeps and keep the tension high. And the writing is as smooth as it always is. Having said that, there were two things I was less happy with. I wasn’t too impressed with the point of view switching between a seemingly endless amount of characters and I also didn’t like the way in which the story went backwards and forwards in time. Overall though these were minor irritations and didn’t stop me from racing through this book, turning the pages at a frantic pace while trying to find out what would happen next. And, with a high on adrenaline finale, this book is everything you would expect from a thriller by Robert Crais.

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