I am always so excited when Robert Crais releases a new book - I just know I'm in for a night of great reading. Yes, a night - because once I start, I can't stop until I turn the last page. Crais' latest book - Taken - was no exception!
A group of young people, partying out in the desert by an old abandoned plane. Two of them - Jack and Krista - decide to hang back after the others have left. They unexpectedly find themselves witness to a local coyote (human smuggler) unloading his cargo. And things go from bad to worse when the coyotes and their load are hijacked - and kidnapped - including Jack and Krista.
Krista's mom calls in Elvis Cole - self proclaimed World's Greatest Detective - to help her find her missing daughter. She's received a ransom request, but thinks it's a joke - they've asked for only five hundred dollars. Elvis calls in his partner and best friend Joe Pike. When Elvis goes missing too, the kidnappers don't know who or what's coming for them - Joe Pike.
Crais has created two of my favourite recurring characters in one series. Elvis is full of snappy one liners and really, he never stops talking - even when he should. Joe Pike - well, he barely speaks at all. Both of them are dangerous men, but Pike - he's in class of his own. With Elvis in trouble, Pike calls in a fellow mercenary this time - Jon Stone. Stone is a great addition to this cast. He's just as tough as Pike, as chatty as Cole and bored when he hasn't got a 'situation' to work on.
Crais has taken an issue that has been in the headlines and exposed it's dirty underbelly - human trafficking is very real. His scenes are gritty, painting realistic pictures of what may befall those looking for a better life.
Taken is told in a unique format. The storyline snaps back and forth telling the story from the view of Jack and Krista, Elvis and Pike. The narrative is told in non linear fashion - the timeline jumps to before and after each was taken. This absolutely ratcheted up the tension (and the speed at which I turned pages!)
Why do I love this series so much? The plotting is great, the action non stop and the characters are fantastic. And at the bottom of it all for me - Joe Pike. Who isn't holding out for a hero? Jack Reacher fans will love Pike. If you're looking for an action packed read, you will have found it with Taken. (By the way it's already #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list!)
Read an excerpt of Taken. You can find Robert Crais on Facebook