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The Wanted: An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel

Review

The Wanted: An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel

How unlikely yet how true it is that Robert Crais keeps getting better and better. After more than 20 books, he could pretty much phone in the elements that make his Elvis Cole and Joe Pike novels so terrific. You take the southern California vibe; throw in a car chase, fisticuffs, a couple of gunshots and some other rough stuff; mix it up with the somewhat opposite yet balancing protagonists and a quirky supporting cast of outlaws and innocents, and you make everyone happy. Yes, it’s easier said than done, but it’s undeniable that Crais makes it look easy --- and perhaps never more so than in THE WANTED, which is one of his best books to date.

This latest installment has a couple of moving parts, but it certainly isn’t complicated. Cole, the quietly laconic private investigator, is hired by Devon Connor to find Tyson, her missing teenage son. Tyson isn’t exactly missing --- he occasionally but not faithfully answers her texts --- but she hasn’t had him in her line of sight for a while. In an effort to find out what’s up, Devon tosses his room and finds all sorts of things that lead her to believe that he is in serious trouble. Cole does his own combing of the room, which ultimately leads him to discover that Tyson and a couple of his friends are staging high-end burglaries.

"You don’t have to know a thing about Crais, Cole or Pike to pick up THE WANTED and enjoy it unreservedly from first sentence to last paragraph."

Meanwhile, two really bad and dangerous guys are looking for Tyson and his friends. Cole and the pair are following parallel trails, each vaguely aware of the other but not quite sure who’s who. Cole thinks they may be cops, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. He brings in the taciturn, capable and very lethal Joe Pike for assistance and backup. The gruesome twosome are looking to retrieve something that the teenage burglary ring has stolen, and a part of THE WANTED is devoted to watching Cole figure out what they are after, why and for whom.

However, the major part of the novel follows Cole, Tyson and the baddies by turns as they play Tom, Jerry and Spike. Crais’ pacing and characterization are simply marvelous. He takes a somewhat familiar storyline, and with a twist here and a turn there creates a book that has you guessing what is going to happen next. More often than not, it leaves you flat-footed and chuckling, potentially leading the reader into the next installment of the series.

You don’t have to know a thing about Crais, Cole or Pike to pick up THE WANTED and enjoy it unreservedly from first sentence to last paragraph. Cole is a sympathetic character without being a sad sack, and Pike...well, let’s just say that everyone needs a Pike on their six. Those familiar with the series will know what I’m talking about, and for all you newcomers out there, I envy your joy of first discovery. You’ll want to go back and catch up, and you should.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 5, 2018

The Wanted: An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel
by Robert Crais

  • Publication Date: December 26, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • ISBN-10: 0399161503
  • ISBN-13: 9780399161506