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by L. Montgomery
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From Publishers Weekly
As the subtitle suggests, Joe Pike, the intriguing, enigmatic partner of L.A. PI Elvis Cole, takes center stage in this intense thriller from bestseller Crais (The Two Minute Rule). To pay back an old debt, Pike is coerced into protecting Larkin Barkley, a hard-partying young heiress whose life is in danger after a "wrong place wrong time" encounter that quickly escalates and spins out of control. The enemy is shadowy, violent and relentless—but the fierce, focused Pike, one of the strongest characters in modern crime fiction, is equal to the challenge. The breathless pace and rich styling are sure to appeal to readers of hard-boiled fiction in general, but since up to now Pike has mostly remained in the background, some fans of the Elvis Cole series (The Forgotten Man, etc.) may find the explicit picture that emerges of Pike at odds with the image they've constructed for themselves. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Robert Crais wrote for the hit television shows Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice, and L.A. Law, among others, so it comes as no surprise that his novels (including 11 featuring Elvis Cole and Joe Pike) have a hard-boiled feel and seamlessly incorporate cutting dialogue (see the recently reviewed The Two-Minute Rule, HHHJ May/June 2006). In The Watchman, Crais maintains his reputation as an edge-of-your-seat plotter with a psychological bent, not unlike Lee Child in his Jack Reacher series or James Lee Burke with Dave Robicheaux. Although one critic wishes that Pike had remained an enigma and another cites a predictable plot, most agree Crais's fans will take to this highly charged first effort featuring Pike. "Elvis will still be the series star," Oline H. Cogdill points out, "but putting a spotlight on Joe will make for richer novels."
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.
Elvis Cole's mostly silent partner, Joe Pike, now has a book of his own. His character, manner, and ethic resemble that of Harry Callahan (Dirty Harry), and thanks to James Daniels, so does his voice. When Daniels isn't portraying Pike, his glib delivery moves the action along. And there's plenty of that when Pike is hired to protect a rich 22-year-old from L.A. Seems that she's seen something--or someone--she shouldn't have. Fifteen minutes into this thriller, Pike has blown away five villains, with more to come. In between, Crais's stories of Pike's past lives--as Marine, cop, and mercenary--make Dirty Harry pale in comparison. It appears that Crais has another winning character. A.L.H. © AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
*Starred Review* Larkin Barkley, a troubled L.A. woman from a wealthy family, finds herself under the protection of federal agents after emerging uninjured from a serious car accident. Something she saw warrants her death. The bad guys came close to success, probably with an assist from someone charged with her safety. Joe Pike, a former marine, LAPD officer, and mercenary, is hired to protect her on the word of his former police partner. Pike and the girl go underground after another attempt on her life leaves three would-be assassins dead. Pike then enlists his partner, private investigator Elvis Cole, to do the digging while he does the shooting. Cole targets a drug cartel's money-laundering network as the source of the death squads and identifies Barkley's father as the possible link. As the plot careens forward with nail-biting suspense, the similarities between Pike and Barkley become heartbreakingly clear. What could a taciturn killing machine have in common with a spike-haired, tattoo-on-her-ass valley girl? Every adult is a product of childhood, and Pike recognizes in his charge the same chronic emotional pain fueling his own lonely life. Saving her physical being is tough, but not as tough as saving her life. Fans of the Elvis Cole series have long wished for an installment focusing on sidekick Pike, and their wish is more than granted with this stunningly emotional thriller. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Larkin Conner Barkley lives like the City of Angels is hers for the taking. Young and staggeringly rich, she speeds through the city during its loneliest hours, blowing through red after red in her Aston Martin as if running for her life. Until out of nowhere a car appears, and with it the metal-on-metal explosion of a terrible accident. Dazed, Larkin attempts to help the other victims. And finds herself the sole witness in a secret federal investigation.
For maybe the first time in her life, Larkin wants to do the right thing. But by agreeing to cooperate with the authorities, she becomes the target for a relentless team of killers. And when the U.S. Marshals and the finest security money can buy can't protect her, Larkin's wealthy family turns to the one man money can't buy - Joe Pike.
Pike lives a world away from the palaces of Beverly Hills. He's an ex-cop, ex-Marine, ex-mercenary who owes a bad man a favor, and that favor is to keep Larkin alive. The one upside of the job is reuniting with Bud Flynn, Pike's LAPD training officer, and a man Pike reveres as a father. The downside is Larkin Barkley, who is the uncontrollable cover girl for self-destruction - and as deeply alone as Pike.
Pike commits himself to protecting the girl, but when they immediately come under fire, he realizes someone is selling them out. In defiance of Bud and the authorities, Pike drops off the grid with the girl and follows his own rules of survival: strike fast, hit hard, hunt down the hunters. With the help of private investigator Elvis Cole, Pike uncovers a web of lies and betrayals, and the stunning revelation that even the cops are not who they seem. As the body count rises, Pike's biggest threat might come from the girl herself, a lost soul in the City of Angels, determined to destroy herself unless Joe Pike can teach her the value of life and love.
About the Author
Robert Crais is the 2006 recipient of the Ross Macdonald Literary Award. He is the author of numerous New York Times bestsellers, including The Two Minute Rule, The Forgotten Man, and L.A. Requiem.
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