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The Watchman: A Joe Pike Novel Kindle Edition

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Length: 388 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Cross Justice (Alex Cross) by James Patterson
"Cross Justice" by James Patterson
Chasing a ghost he believed was long dead, Cross gets pulled into a case that has local cops scratching their heads and needing his help: a grisly string of socialite murders. Learn more | See author page

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As the subtitle suggests, Joe Pike, the intriguing, enigmatic partner of L.A. PI Elvis Cole, takes center stage in this intense thriller from bestseller Crais (The Two Minute Rule). To pay back an old debt, Pike is coerced into protecting Larkin Barkley, a hard-partying young heiress whose life is in danger after a "wrong place wrong time" encounter that quickly escalates and spins out of control. The enemy is shadowy, violent and relentless—but the fierce, focused Pike, one of the strongest characters in modern crime fiction, is equal to the challenge. The breathless pace and rich styling are sure to appeal to readers of hard-boiled fiction in general, but since up to now Pike has mostly remained in the background, some fans of the Elvis Cole series (The Forgotten Man, etc.) may find the explicit picture that emerges of Pike at odds with the image they've constructed for themselves. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Robert Crais wrote for the hit television shows Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice, and L.A. Law, among others, so it comes as no surprise that his novels (including 11 featuring Elvis Cole and Joe Pike) have a hard-boiled feel and seamlessly incorporate cutting dialogue (see the recently reviewed The Two-Minute Rule, HHHJ May/June 2006). In The Watchman, Crais maintains his reputation as an edge-of-your-seat plotter with a psychological bent, not unlike Lee Child in his Jack Reacher series or James Lee Burke with Dave Robicheaux. Although one critic wishes that Pike had remained an enigma and another cites a predictable plot, most agree Crais's fans will take to this highly charged first effort featuring Pike. "Elvis will still be the series star," Oline H. Cogdill points out, "but putting a spotlight on Joe will make for richer novels."
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2043 KB
  • Print Length: 388 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (February 27, 2007)
  • Publication Date: February 27, 2007
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000NY11VU
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,271 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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

83 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Gary Griffiths VINE VOICE on March 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In Joe Pike, "the world's greatest detective's" enigmatic and stoically violent sidekick of the "Elvis Cole" novels, the talented Robert Crais has created one of most intriguing characters in contemporary popular fiction. But with the wisecracking Cole still mostly sidelined from injuries suffered in "The Forgotten Man", Pike takes center stage in this well plotted, fast moving crime drama.

With his red-arrowed deltoids "going forward, never back", Pike, to repay an old debt, reluctantly takes on the task of protecting Larkin Barkley, a spoiled LA society brat drawn with shades of Paris Hilton, right down to the rat-dog-in-the-purse detail. Returning home from late night revelry, Barkley t-bones a Mercedes full of the wrong people, and in a convoluted twist, ends up as a witness under protection. But when it becomes clear that the folks who'd prefer that Barkley not testify are deadly serious, Joe Pike gets the job of keeping the pouting debutant safe and sound.

As always, Crais' prose is witty and fast moving. Joe Pike, who is about as chatty as Mount Rushmore, is cleverly contrasted against Larkin's tantrums. And Elvis Cole, while taking care not to swing the spotlight too far away from Pike's solo debut, throws around enough of his patented one-liners to keep his hardcore base smiling. But if the bond that builds gradually between Joe and Barkley stretches the bounds of credibility just a bit, this is, after all, fiction, and besides, Crais does a masterful job of building the sexual tension and creating - perish the thought - the hint of a soft side to Pike's impenetrable persona.
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38 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Peter G. Keen on February 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Around page 100, I would have rated this just 3-4 stars. It ends up as a firm 5 by the end. There seem to me to be two distinct strands in thriller writing -- character builders and plot artists. Crais is more of a plotter than a character guy; I never quite get inside his two heroes, Pike and Cole -- they seem just a little artificial. But he is superb in plotting. What begins as a routine story line weaves, turns, double backs and grabs you to the last pages. He is a good stylist -- deft, brief and precise. He is also superb in his portrayals of violence and cruelty; you get a sense here of Pike's dissociation and his own detachment. The heroine -- Paris Hilton but without the intellect -- does not come alive for me; again, too artificial. The villains are shadows not realities. But, this is a minor point. The book works superbly. I loved it.
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89 of 109 people found the following review helpful By Mel Odom VINE VOICE on February 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Joe Pike is the epitome of crime tough guys. Nobody does it better. He was a special forces soldier before he became an LAPD cop. He took the fall on charges that shouldn't have been dropped on him and was busted out of the LAPD. He became a mercenary and a some-time private eye that paired up with the World's Greatest Detective, Elvis Cole.

He has red arrows pointing forward tattooed on his deltoids because Joe Pike does not back up.

This is the guy I've been waiting years to read about. Author Robert Crais introduced one of the funniest and emotionally complex private detectives to come along in years in Elvis Cole, but he also crafted one of the hardest heroes to see print in decades. Joe Pike is the king of cool, the master of the understatement, and a man haunted by personal demons he'll never talk about.

Hired by a friend of a friend, Joe agrees to bodyguard Larkin Barkley, a young woman who's the daughter of a multi-millionaire businessman. Larkin has a self-destructive tendency that only Joe seems to understand. Unfortunately, some of the same things she's in denial about are the same things that plague Joe. As the two fight to stay alive, and fight with each other, they come to realize that the only way they're going to get through the situation alive is to rely on and trust each other. Both of them have issues with that.

Larkin is a witness in a brutal slaying. The murderer is believed to be a brutal head of a drug cartel who will stop at nothing to kill Larkin.

The book starts off with a bang, with bullets ripping through the air and Pike's truck from the first pages to the close of the book. The novel grabs the reader by the throat and literally demands the reader's full attention.
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55 of 68 people found the following review helpful By John R. Linnell on April 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are a lot of reviews of this book already posted and they are almost universal in their praise for this book. I was certainly looking forward to it as I have felt that Crais has been getting better with every book and to have a story which features the enigmatic Joe Pike looked to be very interesting.

My feeling about the book are best explained by recaling the comic strip Peanuts and the time when Snoopy was going to return to The Daisy Hill Puppy Farm for a reunion with all of the puppies he knew when he was little. He went dancing off to the reunion and several days later he returned, threw his pack into the dog house and went to lie on the ridgepole. Charlie Brown comes running up and says "Well? How was it?"

In the bubble over Snoopy's head he replies, "The anticipation far exceeded the actual event."

And that's how I feel about The Watchman. I now know more about Joe Pike's background than I really need to and he continues to be a stalwart person and a loyal one. The story which has been outlined by others I found to be a bit tedious. Having said that, I realize that this is a very minority opinion and if you are a Robert Crais fan, I would not let my reaction to this book put you off from reading it. Maybe I am just having a bad reading week.

However, I always try to tell it like I see it. In this instance, though I think you should rely more on what others have had to say.
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Robert Crais Books
Elvis Cole came first - Crais also did some earlier books that were really good.
Feb 20, 2010 by Vicki Bellet |  See all 4 posts
Can't wait for this!
Ditto! I am SO ready for this book. I don't how it could be any better than the last three Elvis Cole books, except that this time it's Joe Pike at center stage. You are so right: This will totally rock!
Jan 26, 2007 by Lily Courthope |  See all 7 posts
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