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A Dangerous Man: An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel

Review

A Dangerous Man: An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel

I have never read a bad or even mediocre novel by Robert Crais. He has been top-notch out of the gate, that horse being THE MONKEY’S RAINCOAT, which won a mantle full of genre awards and still stands up very well, thank you, after over three decades since its publication. Crais has written more than 20 books since then, most of which feature private investigator Elvis Cole (that might be the best PI name in contemporary detective fiction) and the taciturn and deadly Joe Pike. While Crais’ output has slowed a bit over the past few years, the quality of his production has not. That brings us to A DANGEROUS MAN, the newly published Pike and Cole thriller that, to my mind, is the best of them to date.

This latest entry is a bit more Pike than Cole, as befits the title. A bank teller named Isabel Roland is the targeted victim of an attempted abduction just as she begins her lunch hour. Iz, as she is known to her coworkers, had just waited on Pike a few minutes before and, as we quickly learn, has been nursing a fairly obvious crush on him for a while. So when the attempted kidnapping occurs while Pike is still in the vicinity of the bank, he interjects himself in Pike-like fashion. Soon the situation there, as Bob Dylan would say, is all but straightened out.

"There are plenty of twists and turns, and layer upon layer of dangerous bad guys who in some instances are as smart as Cole and Pike."

Iz, of course, is terrified, and Pike, being Pike, decides to check things out. He (as well as law enforcement) is curious as to why two thugs were trying to abduct a bank teller in her early 20s whose parents are deceased and who is scraping by on her bank employee salary. Within a few hours, the would-be kidnappers are found executed shortly after being released on bond, and Iz goes off the radar. Pike immediately gets Cole involved, and the narrative ping-pongs quickly along between them, with Pike doing the majority of the pinging, if you will, but with a major assist from Cole, who exhibits his masterful ability to collate and interpret data in order to take the investigation in a productive direction.

There are plenty of twists and turns, and layer upon layer of dangerous bad guys who in some instances are as smart as Cole and Pike. Iz, meanwhile, keeps jumping into both the frying pan and the fire, when she would have been better off listening to Pike. Whether or not she survives to the end of the book depends on the quietly bad-ass Pike, who is outnumbered, though not outclassed. If Pike and Cole could only find out why these guys are after Iz, it would solve a lot of problems. Maybe they will before the novel runs out of pages.

Crais, whose writing chops have been honed to a razor-sharp edge thanks to his work as a television screenwriter, paces everything perfectly, so the only flaw in the story is that it ends all too soon but satisfactorily. You might see the ending --- both of them, actually --- coming, but you will be ever-so-happy that Crais does it that way, and so well. From beginning to end, A DANGEROUS MAN is the latest in a series that continues to seemingly reach its peak with each installment and surpasses it with the next.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on August 9, 2019

A Dangerous Man: An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel
by Robert Crais

  • Publication Date: August 6, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • ISBN-10: 0525535683
  • ISBN-13: 9780525535683