The First Rule (Elvis Cole #13, Joe Pike #2) by Robert Crais

Book Description:

Published: January 12, 2010

The organized criminal gangs of the former Soviet Union are bound by what they call the thieves’ code. The first rule is this: A thief must forsake his mother, father, brothers, and sisters. He must have no family-no wife, no children. We are his family. If any of the rules are broken, it is punishable by death.

Frank Meyer had the American dream-until the day a professional crew invaded his home and murdered everyone inside. The only thing out of the ordinary about Meyer was that- before the family and the business and the normal life-a younger Frank Meyer had worked as a professional mercenary, with a man named Joe Pike.

The police think Meyer was hiding something very bad, but Pike does not. With the help of Cole, he sets out on a hunt of his own-an investigation that quickly entangles them both in a web of ancient grudges, blood ties, blackmail, vengeance, double crosses, and cutthroat criminal­ity, and at the heart of it, an act so terrible even Pike and Cole have no way to measure it. Sometimes, the past is never dead. It’s not even past.

Review –

Since Robert Crais first introduced Elvis Cole and Joe Pike in 1987’s “The Monkey’s Raincoat,” readers have been treated to one of the best, albeit unlikely, partnerships in crime fiction. Yet it’s inherent in such pairings — whether it’s Holmes and Watson or Spenser and Hawk — that one character ends up in the shadow of the other. For Crais, that shadow role falls to Pike (few dare call him Joe), an enigmatic, Zen-like warrior who has been the sidekick to the wise cracking Cole for most of the series with the notable exception of 2007’s “The Watchman,” in which Pike had the lead. There, as he began in 1999’s “L.A. Requiem,” Crais revealed tantalizing bits of Pike’s back story and psychological underpinnings, enriching his writing and the series in the process.

Pike has the lead again in “The First Rule,” which takes readers on a multicultural guided tour of Los Angeles crime, from Westwood to Willowbrook, Marina del Rey to Lake View Terrace. 

When Joe Pike’s good friend Frank Meyer is gunned down in cold blood, even the L. A. cops are worried about who’s gonna tell Joe Pike. Pike has a reputation that’s been well earned over the years. He wears red arrows tattooed on his biceps that point forward because Joe Pike doesn’t back up or back down. Ever.
I know a lot of people who haven’t read Crais’s books might read that last bit and go, yeah, right. But we fans know. Joe Pike,one of my favorite characters, might be cut from the same cloth as Batman and truly near superhero standards, but we just don’t care. We can’t get enough of this guy. If the world was truly the way it was supposed to be, guys like Joe Pike and Elvis Cole, World’s Greatest Detective, would exist.
I believe in them. It’s a choice I’m comfortable with.

The prose is stripped down, lean and hard and merciless — and different from an Elvis Cole novel. We view Pike more from the outside even when we’re in his point of view. Pike is a very private person, and I like the mystique he manages to keep even while on center stage.
This book might not be for everyone regarding the brutal nature of the crimes and the extremes Pike goes to, but the action is dead on and very representative of what these Eastern European crime syndicates do.

A great read that will keep you turning the page and wanting more when you come to the end.

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The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

Book Description:

Published: February 11, 2014

The New York Times bestselling author of Promise Not to Tell returns with a simmering literary thriller about ghostly secrets, dark choices, and the unbreakable bond between mothers and daughters . . . sometimes too unbreakable.

West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie.

Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara’s farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace.

Searching for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea’s diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother’s bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked deeper into the mystery of Sara’s fate, she discovers that she’s not the only person who’s desperately looking for someone that they’ve lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

“The first time I saw a sleeper, I was nine years old.”

Best-selling author Jennifer McMahon (Promise Not to Tell) opens her new novel, The Winter People, with a sentence that offers a tantalizing glimpse of the horrors to come in this marvelously creepy page-turner.

In The Winter People, the author  gives readers just what they want from a good thriller: can’t-put-it-down, stay-up-until-dawn reading. In addition to being downright creepy, this novel is also a poignant reminder of what grief can drive humans to do. Lock your doors, check under your bed and soak up The Winter People, a legitimately chilling supernatural thriller.

Fantastic book!

Five stars *****

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