Taken by Robert Crais

Taken by Robert Crais

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 she 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.

Cole and 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 much worse. Going undercover to find the two young people and buy them back, Cole himself is taken, and disappears. 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.

Ok, so Robert Crais is an incredibly established author – fact – and although I’ve heard of him I’ve never had the opportunity to read any of his Elvis Cole/Joe Pike adventures – until now! If you like Jack Reacher (Lee Child) or Joe Hunter (Matt Hilton) then you’ll love this series – I am well and truly hooked. This is simply one of those books you can just put your feet up, pour yourself a nice drink, relax and be thoroughly entertained – effortlessly I may add – from beginning to end. I couldn’t fault the book and for me it had just about enough of everything I look for in a book to satisfy my boys own mind!

The punchy narrative is well written and follows three timelines – back and forth in time – and multiple viewpoints but the author ties them in with a fluid and well thought out prose that is incredibly easy on the eye. I really enjoyed the way Crais presents the storyline hooking you in to the story from the very first page. The chapters are short and together with a staccato rhythm keep you turning the pages.

Characterisation is superb, I love Elvis Cole! In fact both Pike and Cole are on a par with each other and when they work together as a team the camaraderie is clear for all to see. Their enthusiasm for the job is infectious and the one liners and quips are highly entertaining (Pike hardly speaks but his actions speak louder than words). I don’t think I have a favourite out of the two; they simply make an outstanding team and although they are both separated for a while in this adventure they have this weird ability to know what each other is thinking and act accordingly.

You’d have to be out of your mind to mess with these guys but let’s face it – and this is why the book works so well – the baddies have no idea who they are dealing with. The body count grows as the pair investigates the disappearance of their client’s daughter. Although they believe the daughter has gone off on a jolly with her boyfriend it soon becomes clear that the young lovers have been kidnapped and held to ransom. It’s down to Cole and Pike to discover who and where they have been taken, before it’s too late.

A gripping storyline, engaging and enthusiastic characters, a tight plot and action to die for, this is one hell of an entertaining read; perhaps more importantly this is a fun read. Jam packed with tension and enough cliff-hangers to keep you turning the page, Crais has earned himself another fan with this book and as Elvis once said – Thank you Very Much!

352 pages

Publisher: Orion (26 April 2012) Available in Hardback, Kindle and Audio CD.

ISBN-10: 1409116034 — ISBN-13: 978-1409116035

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