The Promise(Elvis Cole #16, Joe Pike #5, Scott James and Maggie #2) by Robert Crais

Book Description:

Published: November 10, 2015

Format: Audio

Elvis Cole and Joe Pike are joined by Suspect heroes LAPD K-9 Officer Scott James and his German shepherd, Maggie, in the new heart-stopping thriller from #1 New York Times-bestselling author Robert Crais.

Loyalty, commitment, and the fight for justice have always driven Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. If they make a promise, they keep it. Even if it could get them killed.

When Elvis Cole is secretly hired to find a grief-stricken mother, he’s led to an ordinary house on a rainy night in Echo Park. Only the house isn’t ordinary, and the people hiding inside are a desperate fugitive and a murderous criminal with his own dangerous secrets.

As helicopters swirl overhead, Scott and Maggie track the fugitive to this same house, coming face-to-face with Mr. Rollins, a killer who leaves behind a brutally murdered body and enough explosives to destroy the neighborhood. Scott is now the only person who can identify him, but Mr. Rollins has a rule: Never leave a witness alive.

For all of them, the night is only beginning.

Sworn to secrecy by his client, Elvis finds himself targeted by the police even as Mr. Rollins targets Maggie and Scott. As Mr. Rollins closes in for the kill, Elvis and Joe join forces with Scott and Maggie to follow a trail of lies where no one is who they claim — and the very woman they promised to save might get them all killed.

Review –

“Los Angeles private investigator Elvis Cole is joined by K-9 cop Scott James and his battle-scarred German shepherd, Maggie, in the search for a woman out to avenge the killing of her son in a suicide bombing in Nigeria.

The woman, Amy Breslyn, is a chemical production engineer working for the government who disappeared with $460,000 in company money and a newly purchased gun. Cole is directed to a bungalow in Echo Park, where James encounters him after a man is beaten to death inside, surrounded by a stash of munitions and explosives. We learn that Amy has infiltrated the arms-dealing culture hoping to get close to people who know the identity of her son’s murderers. Persecuted by the LAPD, Cole and his taciturn partner, Joe Pike, slowly unravel bad information and false identities—helped by James reluctantly at first, since he’s not sure Cole isn’t dirty, and then wholeheartedly after attempts on the lives of both the K-9 officer and his Afghanistan-traumatized dog (introduced in the 2013 stand-alone Suspect). After 20 novels, Crais remains one of crime fiction’s smartest and most effortless plotters. The story unfolds with supreme ease, energized by the enigmatic presence of mercenary Jon Stone. James’ undying love for Maggie can be a bit much, as can Crais’ decision to narrate a nightmare sequence from the dog’s point of view. But the book speeds along at an agreeable clip, lifted by the author’s command of the setting, and those military canines do deserve their plaudits.

Not Crais’ deepest or thorniest mystery but another solid outing with a host of involving characters.”(taken from KirkusReviews) because I couldn’t have said it better.

Fantastic read!!

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 Last Detective (Elvis Cole #9) by Robert Crais

Book Description:

Published: March 30, 2004

P.I. Elvis Cole’s relationship with attorney Lucy Chenier is strained. Then the unthinkable happens. While Lucy is away on business and her ten-year-old son Ben is staying with Elvis, the boy vanishes without a trace. When the kidnappers call, it’s not for ransom, but for a promise to punish Cole for past sins he claims he didn’t commit. With the LAPD wrestling over the case, and the boy’s estranged father attempting to take control of the investigation, Cole vows to find Ben first. But Cole’s partner, Joe Pike, knows more about this case than he has said. Pike lives in a world where dangerous men commit crimes beyond all reckoning. Now, one of those men is alive and well in L.A.—and calling Elvis Cole to war. . . .

Review –

Joining forces with his enigmatic partner, Joe Pike, Elvis frantically searches for Ben with the help of LAPD Detective Carol Starkey, as Lucy’s wealthy, oil-industry ex-husband attempts to wrest control of the investigation. Amid the confusion of personal conflicts, Elvis and Joe are forced to consider a more troubling lead — one indicating that Ben’s disappearance is connected to a terrible, long-held secret from Elvis Cole’s past.

Venturing deep inside a complex psyche, Crais explores Elvis’s need for family – the military that embraced him during a troubled adolescence, his rock-solid partnership with Pike, and his floundering relationship with Lucy – as they race the clock in their search for Ben. The Last Detective is Robert Crais’ richest, most intense tale of suspense yet.

This book is a roller coaster ride which leaves you breathless but wanting more. The ending is bitter sweet but hopefully even Elvis Cole will one day  have his HEA.

Great read!

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The Watchman (Elvis Cole #11, Joe Pike #1) by Robert Crais

Book Description:

Published: February 27, 2007

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.

Review –

I’ve read six other books in the Elvis Cole series but I had no idea this was the first one where his partner, Joe Pike, took the lead.

I love the character of Joe Pike. He’s a big brute of a man, with red arrow tattoos on his biceps, wears sunglasses all the time, even at night, rarely says more than a couple of words at a time and is the best guy to have on your side if you’re in trouble.

Larkin needs such a man to protect her from men in an Ecuador drug cartel and protect her he does. Never before have we seen emotion from Joe but we do in this book and at one point he admits to having fallen in love with Larkin, although he does not tell her or anyone else.

I love this series and again I wish had started reading them in order.

Give this series a try.

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Chasing Darkness (Elvis Cole #11) by Robert Crais

Book Description

July 1, 2008
Private Investigator Elvis Cole learns that LA fires bring more than heat, they bring his old friend Joe Pike and the past. Cole’s fight to clear his name brings murder and corruption terrifyingly close to home.

It’s fire season, and the hills of Los Angeles are burning. When police and fire department personnel rush door to door in a frenzied evacuation effort, they discover the week-old corpse of an apparent suicide. But the gunshot victim is less gruesome than what they find in his lap: a photo album of seven brutally murdered young women—one per year, for seven years. And when the suicide victim is identified as a former suspect in one of the murders, the news turns Elvis Cole’s world upside down.

Three years earlier Lionel Byrd was brought to trial for the murder of a female prostitute named Yvonne Bennett. A taped confession coerced by the police inspired a prominent defense attorney to take Byrd’s case, and Elvis Cole was hired to investigate. It was Cole’s eleventh-hour discovery of an exculpatory videotape that allowed Lionel Byrd to walk free. Elvis was hailed as a hero.

But the discovery of the death album in Byrd’s lap now brands Elvis as an unwitting accomplice to murder. Captured in photographs that could only have been taken by the murderer, Yvonne Bennett was the fifth of the seven victims—two more young women were murdered after Lionel Byrd walked free. So Elvis can’t help but wonder—did he, Elvis Cole, cost two more young women their lives?

Shut out of the investigation by a special LAPD task force determined to close the case, Elvis Cole and Joe Pike desperately fight to uncover the truth about Lionel Byrd and his nightmare album of death—a truth hidden by lies, politics, and corruption in a world where nothing is what it seems to be.

Review –

Although I haven’t read many of the Elvis Cole Series, and none in order, I love the Elvis cCole  and his side-kick, Joe Pike. These stories are fast paced with action around every corner and never a dull minute.
If you love a good “who-done-it” please try this series
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L.A. Requiem (Elvis Cole #8) by Robert Crais

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Book Description

Publication Date:July 22, 2009
The day starts like any other in L.A. The sun burns hot as the Santa Ana winds blow ash from mountain fires to coat the glittering city. But for private investigator Joe Pike, the city will never be the same again. His ex-lover, Karen Garcia, is dead, brutally murdered with a gun shot to the head.
Now Karen’s powerful father calls on Pike (a former cop) and his partner, Elvis Cole, to keep an eye on the LAPD as they search for his daughter’s killer–because in the luminous City of Angels, everyone has secrets, and even the mighty blue have something to hide. But what starts as a little procedural hand-holding turns into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse. For a dark web of conspiracy threatens to destroy Pike and Cole’s twelve-year friendship–if not their lives. And L.A. just might be singing their dirge.
Review –
Although I haven’t read this series in order I love them. In this one, number eight, I found out a lot of background information on Joe Pike that I didn’t know and now he doesn’t seem so mysterious. Also, I can now understand why he acts the way he does. He is one of my favorite literary characters.
Looking forward to reading another in this series very soon. If you like crime drama you should try an Elvis Cole/Joe Pike novel.

Taken(Elvis cole #13/Joe Pike #4) by Robert Crais

Book Description

Publication Date: 2012
When the police tell a wealthy industrialist that her missing son has faked his own kidnapping, she hires Elvis Cole and Joe Pike-and Cole soon determines that it was no fake. The boy and his secret girlfriend have been taken, and are now lost in the gray and changing world of the professional border kidnappers who prey not only on innocent victims but also on one another-buying, selling, and stealing victims like commodities. Fortunately, the kidnappers don’t yet know who the boy is, but when Cole goes undercover to try to buy the two hostages back, he himself is taken and disappears. Now it is up to Pike to retrace Cole’s steps, burning through the hard and murderous world of human traffickers . . . before it is too late.
11889938Review –
This was my first reading of anything by Robert Crais and it was fantastic.
The story had a real plot, good characters development and interaction,mystery,plenty of action, some gore and a great ending. What more could a reader want.
The characters of Elvis Cole and Joe Pike are  the ones I would want on my side anytime.
Robert Crais has just earned another faithful reader,  ME.