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.