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It`s been a long wait to renew my acquaintance with Elvis Cole and Joe Pike, but it has paid off. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, a terrific blend of detective work and action scenes. Crais has a wonderful ability to make his characters so very real for the reader. He`s capable of nifty plot twists, too. And if anyone is counting, I think Pike may spoken more words aloud than in all previous books combined.
I am writing this review to counter another reviewer`s review who stated that this book is “almost all blank pages“. Perhaps he was experiencing difficulties with his Kindle, because it most emphatically is not “almost all blank pages“. It`s a normal-length book. It`s a beach read, well written for what it is, but it is extremely light reading. Not really my cup of tea, but not a bad book for what it is.
The new Robert Crais novel, A DANGEROUS MAN, is billed as an Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel. It is really more of a Joe Pike and Elvis Cole Novel, since Joe is at the center of the action and is the person referred to in the book`s title.The premise is implausible but intriguing. Joe is going to the bank. One of the tellers is directed to take an early lunch. She is walking down the street and is then suddenly abducted by two men. Woe be to them, for Joe is there. He aborts their (as yet unexplained) plot and saves the girl. The men are taken into custody, make bail, and are immediately murdered. Whoa, what has Joe walked into? The rest of the novel contains the answer to that question, with Elvis detecting and Joe delivering various forms of mayhem. Along the way they meet a delightful U.S. Marshal, investigating the murder of a comrade in the Antelope Valley. That fellow marshal is the `uncle` (not blood relative, but close friend) of the girl saved by Joe back in Los Angeles. The FBI are also interested in the case, so that Joe and Elvis find themselves protecting the (putatively) innocent girl but also dodging the lawmen and women who may frustrate their investigation.It`s all complicated but completely intelligible and, ultimately, completely transparent and, within the world that Crais creates, plausible. I liked it. I enjoyed it, but then I`ve never met a Robert Crais novel that I didn`t enjoy and I`ve read them all, from THE MONKEY`S RAINCOAT forward. Crais is among the most polished crime writers in America. He began writing scripts for major television crime series and then gave us Elvis Cole (twice the king, presumably). Joe Pike is what I have termed the `avenging angel` character in the series—the invincible sidekick (like Spenser`s Hawk) who is always there when the chips are down, softening up a room and then supervising the body count. A DANGEROUS MAN delivers precisely what I would order.There are some dissenting voices. Elvis is no longer the jokester and wit that he once was. True, but that has been so for many volumes now, and he still gets off a good one-liner from time to time. There has also been criticism of the book`s length and the amount of white space on its pages. Note that the writer`s and NYC editor`s rule of thumb is that a book should be 40% dialogue. This book is thus comparable to a book by the late Bob Parker, but A DANGEROUS MAN is approximately 100 pages longer than the average Parker novel. Absent the rapid-fire dialogue, novels risk being lugubrious and here`s an interesting fact (at least I think it`s a fact): readers want the pages to fly by when they`re reading. One of the raps on, e.g., the Great Books of the Western World series is that it put so many words on the page. DON QUIXOTE should be 600-800 pages, not 80-100. We want to feel that we are making progress when we read and the physical size and length of a novel is part of the reading process. We can feel the plot rhythms as we move further and further into the book and suddenly realize that we are physically reaching the conclusion. Reading on tablets is different from reading in hard copy.Bottom line: a solid Crais novel, with Pike being the dominant figure.
Robert Crais` Elvis Cole/Joe Pike novels are a series I alway buy into. In every one, the plot and the action unwind like a fine Swiss watch. Atmosphere and `Place` are there in every novel and in this one as well. With Action Heroes like these, characterization is pretty much set. Characterization comes through the fringe characters: lawmen and law breakers. This book shows a variety of public servants whose employment focuses on understanding crime and apprehending perpetrators. Cole and Pike work at preventing follow-on crime, rescuing the unfortunate and meting out `extra-judicial` punishment when they need to save someone.Downside: The victim and her girlfriend are fine depictions of normal citizens. It is less convincing to think that Ruby, Isabelle`s` best friend`s mom would `hold out` when she could prevent her daughter`s abduction is another thing. In the best tradition of `horror movies`, the villains here keep popping up and coming back. That all makes for an action packed read that is easy to buy into. So, for me, Crais is just `one star` away from greatness with this work.
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