Monday, February 15, 2010

The First Rule -- Robert Crais

The first rule isn't, but should be, "don't piss off Joe Pike." Not knowing this, Michael Darko*, a member of the Serbian mob in Los Angeles and a home invasion crew kill Frank Meyer, his wife, his two small children, and his nanny. Meyer used to work as a mercenary with Pike, who plays by his own rules. Pike sets out to get revenge.

Along the way he meets Rina and Yanni**. Rina is the sister of the dead nanny. Yanni's a big guy. They have a good story for Pike, and they insist they want to help him. Pike also gets help from Elvis Cole, the famous p.i., and Jon Stone, another former merc. Before it's all over, stories change, complications ensue, and lots of people die.

I like Crais' writing style, and he knows how to movie a book right along. I'm not a great fan of Joe Pike in his own novels, but this one was solid entertainment, and that's all I usually ask. Check it out.

*No relation to the Mr. Darko who once plagued Richard Moore. At least I don't think so.
**No relation to this one.


Graham Powell said...

How to "movie" a book right along? Now that's an accurate typo!

One thing that surprised me in the last Joe Pike thriller was how strongly Elvis Cole comes across in third person. Without the narration lending the book personality he still seems like the same guy.

Unknown said...

I like the typo so much that I'm leaving it in.

George said...

I've read one Joe Pike novel, THE WATCHMAN. Looks like I'll be reading another.

Anonymous said...

Other than Robert B. Parker's Hawk, I think Crais's Pike is the most bad@$$ character in mystery fiction. I'd love to make a roster of mystery bad@$$es. You up for something like that Bill? A list of the most bad@$$ characters of the mystery genre?

-- Lawrence
aka Mr. Digressius

Unknown said...

You make it, I'll print it, and everybody'll diss it.

Anonymous said...

Okay, but I'd need some help here. Here's some idea (no where near final) of what I'd be attempting:

- the name of the character
- bibliography of appearances
- quotes proving his bad@$$ness

Currently writing a dissertation, it's a damn fine idea I wouldn't exactly have time to fully realize.

Here's some names for starters:

- Mouse from Mosley's books
- Clete Purcell from James Lee Burke
- Hawk from Parker's Spenser series
- Max the Silent from Vachss's Burke books
- we've already talked about Crais's Pike character
- That ex-Special Forces guy from Janet Evanovich's books
- maybe Angel from John Connolly's book Every Dead Thing

I'd have to reread some Ross Thomas, but I'm sure there's something there.

That's all I can do off the top of my head.

aka Mr. Digressius

Unknown said...

The guy in Lehane's p.i. novels. Can't remember his name. W. Glenn Duncan's Rafferty has a pair of great psycho sidekicks, a husband and wife team. Can't remember their names, either. Win in Harlan Coben's Myron Bolitar novels. A good question would be who was the first of those characters. I've always thought it was Hawk, or, if he wasn't, that he started the current trend.

Graham Powell said...

Bubba is the Lehane badass. Can't remember his last name. Though as I recall Patrick had a few moments of badassness. Especially the end of DARKNESS TAKE MY HAND. A little mano-a-mano with a serial killer.

Anonymous said...

Great post. I love Joe Pike's character - I think Crais has the unique ability to make his characters tough yet emotional.

I think John Sandford's Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers definitely need to be added to your bad a$$ list as well.

Janet Evanovich's character would be Ranger. Patterson's Alex Cross would be a good addition.. And what about females? Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta and Grafton's Kinsey Millhone come to mind immediately.