Taken (Joe Pike & Elvis Cole) by Robert Crais

KK Conley Review

RC Taken

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I like Elvis Cole’s sense of humor that  cozies up to sarcastic.

Here’s an example:

     “You the magazine guy?”
     The magazine guy.
     “That’s right.  Elvis Cole.  I have a nine o’clock with Ms. Morales.”
     “I gotta unlock the gate.  See the empty spot where it says delivery?  Park there.  You might want to put up the top and lock it.”
     “Think it’ll be safe?”
     That would be me, flashing the ironic smile at their overkill battlestar security.
     “For sure.  They only steal clean cars.
     That would be him, putting me in my place.

I like that Elvis Cole is tough and gets the job done, except in this case where he goes after a kidnapped college student, and he gets Taken by coyotes as well.

I like that Joe Pike always has Elvis’ back. And this time he has Jon Stone to help him find Elvis. Jon was special forces, and now is an independent contractor with moral flexibility.

I love Crais’ writing:

The tall man’s pistol suddenly appeared in front of Orlato’s face, locked dead center between his eyes. The flat copper snouts of its bullets slept in their cylinder crypts.

All in all, this is a great read.

Booklist Online Review

Since Crais turned over top billing to Joe Pike, longtime second banana in the Elvis Cole series, his books have jumped a few notches on most best-seller lists. This time the pair—PI Cole and freelance mercenary Pike—share the limelight, though in the course of the action, they’re rarely seen together. That’s because, a few chapters into the tale, Cole becomes a hostage, and Pike, a hard man but a loyal friend, is pulling out all stops to rescue him. It starts with a simple missing-person case. Krista Morales and her boyfriend have disappeared, inadvertently captured by bajadores,bandits who capture and then sell illegals as they cross the border from Mexico. Cole quickly figures out what happened and almost as quickly finds himself in the hands of the bad guys. With two stars, Crais needs a new supporting actor, and he finds a doozy in Jon Stone, a mercenary with less regard for conventional ethics than even his pal, Pike. We know Pike and Stone won’t be denied in their quest to find Cole, but even so, Crais works considerable tension from the hostage situation. The series is at its best when Cole and Pike have more opportunity to interact, but with three characters fighting for screen time, we can’t expect everything in one book.

HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: If the formula of more Joe Pike equals more sales holds true, Crais’ latest may not do quite as well as his previous Pike novels, but this one has enough of everything—tension, banter, and head-banging—to keep fans happy.

— Bill Ott

© Booklist Onine

Amazon Description

When Elvis Cole and Joe Pike are hired to find her missing girl, the investigation derails into a nightmare. Cole himself disappears and it’s left to Pike to burn through the deadly world of human traffickers to find his friend. But he may already be too late.

4.5 stars, 400+ reviews

Goodreads Rating

4.1 stars, 11,000+ ratings

Robert Crais’ Website Description

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..