For those of you expecting another L. A. Requiem, you are in for a disappointment. Neither Joe Pike nor Elvis Cole grow in this new book by series writer Robert Crais. In fact, the reason Pike gets involved at all leaves me more than a little baffled. He meets a woman, has one date and falls in love. That was in the back of my mind the entire time I read this book. It is difficult to comprehend why a man would risk his life for someone, who isn't even a sympathetic character, as we find out as the story progresses. And if you don't buy that premise, the book just doesn't work.
Don't get me wrong. I'm a big Robert Crais fan. I liked sidekick Pike more than main character Cole after L. A. Requiem, which I consider one of the best mysteries ever written. But I have grown to appreciate the Cole character as developed in The Forgotten Man and later books. It is to me the mystery of these two main characters that is the reason I continue to look forward to the next book in the series. Cole is flip and seems to ask for trouble at times, while Pike is the very sober, loyal and resourceful friend, who seems to be getting his partner out of deep do-do quite often.
Both characters have matured and mellowed, but still manage to get themselves caught up in the middle of a shoot out, whether involved in a case or not. At this stage these cats have used up all nine of their lives. Because Crais is an attractive guy, most of his book signings are well attended by females. I'm sure they don't read the books for the violence, and yet there it is. If you've read the series since it began in 1987, then you are correct in assuming that these guys should be taking fewer risks twenty-three years later.
True The Sentry is a bit of a role reversal for the dynamic duo. This time Cole saves Pike by getting his hands dirty. And the interplay between the two is touching, but then the premise bares its improbable self and I shake my head in disbelief. For those of us who value our time given the plethora of books that are out there, life is a little too short to read a book that is just more of the same. So I recommend that you read L. A. Requiem, The Forgotten Man or even the stand alone Demolition Angel as a way to remind yourself why this author is worth both your time and your patience. After all 2012 is another year.
Copyright 2011 by Linda K. Murdock. Linda K. Murdock is the author of Mystery Lover's Puzzle Book, Crosswords with Clues from Your Favorite Mystery Series. She reads over 50 mystery books a year. Her puzzle book is a mini-anthology that reviews 29 award-winning writers. A check-off list of all the titles in each of the series, along with a crossword puzzle for each series, are included. See a sample crossword and learn more at http://bellwetherbooks.com
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