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The Watchman Hardcover – February 27, 2007

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (February 27, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743281632
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743281638
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (386 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #288,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

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Customer Reviews

Grabs you quick and keeps the pages turning.
M. A. Rotunno
No bad guys don't get killed as much in reality, but the good shooters are as good if not better than Pike.
Kindle Customer
The characters are well developed and the plot is sensational.
John Daley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 83 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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88 of 108 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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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Peter G. Keen VINE VOICE 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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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By S. A. Torphy on June 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This was the first Elvis Cole "series" I have read and I am hooked. Now starting with Monkey's Raincoat, I look forward to reading all the Cole novels. There seem to be a number of anti-hero sidekicks to todays PI's. Spenser has Hawk, Patrick Kenzie has Bubby for example.

The character Joe Pike most reminds me of is a spitting image of Lee Child's Jack Reacher. Brutal, quiet loners. But for some reason, Pike seems a bit more human, a bit more flawed. I hope Crais writes using him as the lead in future books. If you like hard action novels- this is the book for you. I was excited to find a new series to read. Now if only Dennis Lehane can release a new Kenzie/Gennaro novel.
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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,

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