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Taken (Elvis Cole/Joe Pike Novels) Hardcover – January 24, 2012

447 customer reviews
Book 4 of 5 in the Joe Pike Series

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Editorial Reviews


“Crais keeps the reader off-balance with…unexpected plot twists and a breathless pace that makes you feel as if you're smack in the middle of an action film.” —Huffington Post

“A thriller in every sense of the word… This is magnificent, bold writing from one of the absolute best.” —

“[Crais’s] best-selling Elvis Cole/Joe Pike series gets better with every new book, and…Taken, is no exception.” — --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Robert Crais is the 2006 recipient of the Ross Macdonald Literary Award. The author of many New York Times bestsellers, most recently The First Rule and The Sentry, he lives in Los Angeles.

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Product Details

  • Series: Elvis Cole/Joe Pike Novels (Book 15)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; 1 edition (January 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399158278
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399158278
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (447 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #398,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Crais is the author of the best-selling Elvis Cole novels. He was the 2006 recipient of the Ross Macdonald Literary Award.

A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he grew up on the banks of the Mississippi River in a blue collar family of oil refinery workers and four generations of police officers. He purchased a second-hand paperback of Raymond Chandler's The Little Sister when he was fifteen, which inspired his lifelong love of writing, Los Angeles, and the literature of crime fiction.

He journeyed to Hollywood in 1976 where he quickly found work writing scripts for such major television series as Hill Street Blues, Cagney & Lacey, and Miami Vice, as well as scripting numerous series pilots and movies-of-the-week for the major networks.

Feeling constrained by the collaborative working requirements of Hollywood, Crais resigned from a lucrative position as a contract writer and television producer in order to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a novelist. His first efforts proved unsuccessful, but upon the death of his father in 1985, Crais was inspired to create Elvis Cole, using elements of his own life as the basis of the story. The resulting novel, The Monkey's Raincoat, won the Anthony and Macavity Awards and was nominated for the Edgar Award. It has since been selected as one of the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association.

Crais conceived of the novel as a stand-alone, but realized that, in Elvis Cole, he had created an ideal and powerful character through which to comment upon his life and times. Elvis Cole's readership skyrocketed in 1999 upon the publication of L. A. Requiem, which was a New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller and forever changed the way Crais conceived of and structured his novels. Larger and deeper in scope, Publishers Weekly wrote of L. A. Requiem, "Crais has stretched himself the way another Southern California writer, Ross Macdonald, always tried to do, to write a mystery novel with a solid literary base." Booklist added, "This is an extraordinary crime novel that should not be pigeonholed by genre. The best books always land outside preset boundaries. A wonderful experience."

Crais followed with his first non-series novel, Demolition Angel, which was published in 2000 and featured former Los Angeles Police Department Bomb Technician Carol Starkey. In 2001, Crais published his second non-series novel, Hostage, which was named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times and was a world-wide bestseller. The editors of selected Hostage as the #1 thriller of the year. A film adaptation of Hostage was released in 2005, starring Bruce Willis as ex-LAPD SWAT negotiator Jeff Talley.

Robert Crais lives in the Santa Monica mountains with his wife, three cats, and many thousands of books. Additional information can be found at his website,

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

120 of 134 people found the following review helpful By A. Nye on January 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Talk about an enjoyable read. This novel has it all: Elvis Cole and Joe Pike, innocent young adults, a determined parent, evil men and women with no sense of morality, and bajadores - ruthless bandits who prey on other bandits. Mix them all together with drugs, weapons, the buying and selling of victims, and brutal murder and you have the ingredients for compelling novel.

Add the painstaking detective work, the genuine humanity, the nerve-racking tension, the thrilling action, and unbelievable suspense that only a talented writer like Robert Crais can bring to this novel and you have a thriller that you won't soon forget.

Taken is the fifteenth Elvis Cole and Joe Pike novel and it's the first to feature them both equally. While I've enjoyed the last two books that had Joe Pike in the starring role, this novel ratchets up the tension by having Cole lead early and Pike take over in the second half.

The story centers on a young Latina and her Anglo boyfriend who are kidnapped by bandits along the Mexican border. These criminals are the worst of the worst - preying on other criminals figuring they can't or won't go to the police. This novel centers on bajadores who steal immigrants bound for the United States. This people kidnapping business is a rampant but often ignored problem along the Mexican border.

The mother of the kidnapped woman hires Elvis Cole to rescue her daughter. Cole soon discovers what has happened to her and he enters into a risky arrangement with a Korean organized criminal. It's a desperate move and Cole knows it.

"I was now in business with a Korean gang known for extortion, brutality, and violence, and about to put my trust into a drug cartel known for torture and mass murder. I told myself it was worth it.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Harvey on February 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Robert Crais knows how to spin a good yarn, and he proves that once again with "Taken." He sucks you right in and never lets up, and there's nothing wrong with that approach. However, having read all his previous novels, I've come to expect more from this author than simple entertainment. All the characters seem rather one-dimensional. It's as though he decided that, having previously spent a great deal of time developing Elvis Cole and Joe Pike, there's no need for that here. And the rest of the bunch, particularly Jon Stone, come off as caricatures rather than fully realized characters.

I also found Crais's "time-shifting" method a bit gimmicky ("six days after they were taken ... eleven days after they were taken ... five days after they were taken"). Ditto for Elvis Cole speaking in first-person and the rest in third-person. And did we really need the whole Nancie Stendahl/ATF scenario?

Despite those complaints, I gobbled up this novel in two days.The action was relentless. So perhaps I'm being picky.

Regardless, while this novel certainly stands on its own, if you're new to Robert Crais I urge you to go back to the beginning of the Elvis Cole saga. Heck, I wish I were new to Crais, since it's been such an enjoyable ride with him over the years.
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77 of 92 people found the following review helpful By Glenn on February 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've read all of the Robert Crais novels available for a Kindle. While this is an entertaining book, it is not, in my opinion, up to the standards of his previous Elvis Cole/Joe Pike books. My experience is that a writer's talent is most obvious in the dialogue in a book. With good writers it's believable and flows easily. Here, it seems to be somewhat forced, especially that between Joe Pike and Jon Stone. To me, Elvis Cole and Joe Pike seem to have become caricatures of the ways they were developed in previous books. Jack Reacher has the same malady. I hope it hasn't spread to these two.

As a post-script, I should add that this book is not really representative of Robert Crais' talent. His other books in the series were so good that I read them in order, non-stop. If this had been the first that I'd read, I doubt I would have done that. As a long-time reader of virtually nothing but books of this type, I'd rate this book as fairly good, but not close to others in the series. I hope he gets back on course with his next book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bob on February 10, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There is not enough Elvis in this installment of the series. I've noticed that the humor that actually made me laugh out loud in the past, is missing in the most recent "Elvis" novels? The story switches character viewpoints too many times and I just couldn't get involved in the story. I actually was glad when the book ended. As the reader knows that Elvis isn't going to be killed, and the story didn't get me invested in the other at-risk characters, the story lacked suspense.

I've read all the Elvis and Joe Pike novels and look forward to them. This one was a big disappointment.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Robert C. Olson VINE VOICE on February 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Robert Crais has given us another taunt terrific thriller. His protagonists Elvis Cole and Joe Pike are at their action best pursuing a young couple kidnapped by brutal "bajadores" coyotes. The couple just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and now Cole and Pike are hired to find them. Along the way the dynamic duo battle drug cartels, human "coyote" traffickers, Korean gangs, and the BAFT. Both Cole and Pike are taxed to the max and have to ask for help from a long time shadowy friend. The plot bubbles and boils to a deadly dramatic action packed conclusion.
No gratuitous sex, language or violence, nevertheless, there is some very strong language and violence. This is the world in which Cole and Pike move in and the strong language and violence are done to advance the dynamic plot.
Character development was superb. With each new Crais novel we learn more and more about who Elvis Cole and Joe Pike are. With this novel Pike's shadowy mercenary friend Jon Stone is richly developed. He is a character gold mine who I hope Mr. Crais develops in future Cole-Pike thrillers.
No question, must read 5 stars. Robert Crais gets better and better with each Cole-Pike thriller. With Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch getting very long in the tooth, it appears Robert Crais may just overtake Mr. Connelly as the new leader of LA Detective thriller?? Love Harry, but Cole and Pike are giving him a serious run for the best LA detective series.
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