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I enjoy all the Robert Crais books but my stand-out favorites are the ones which feature Joe Pike. Elvis Cole is a great character but Pike has such a depth of character that his stories are hard for me to resist. I just can't help but wonder what is actually going on behind those dark glasses. This novel gives readers a closer, more personal insight into Pike.

The story begins with a home invasion where three adults and two children are killed. It would have gone down as another in a horrible string of robberies and murders except this one had a special element, here the man murdered was one of Pike's guys - a member of his hand picked team - when he was a mercenary. The police are saying all the other incidents of this type were on people with known criminal leanings. Pike has to find out if Frank Meyer was dirty and prove it one way or another so he knows how to react to the death of his friend. Did Frank manage to fool Pike when they were working together?

In order to solve this case Crais brings in Elvis Cole, Jon Stone, Pike and many of their contacts in the shadowy world folks like me hope to never see. I thought the plotting was absolutely spot on and the technology still held up well even though this was published in 2010 and we all know how quickly spy gadget development moves. The twist at the end was especially impressive.
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on March 14, 2017
If you're looking for an action packed book with interesting characters and a plot that keeps you guessing, look no further! What a wonderful, wild ride of a book. I've been a fan of the Joe Pike and Elvis Cole characters for a long time, but hadn't read one of Mr. Crais' books in a while. SO glad I read this book and highly recommend it. Although it deals with violence and bad people, the book also has plenty of heart and an ending that is both satisfying and ironic (no spoilers). I'm just sad I couldn't put it down, because I finished it too quickly!
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on May 15, 2017
Another great book about Joe Pike. You’d think that people would not be such huge fans of a book hero who is basically anti-social and doesn’t always play well with others, but there’s something about Pike that is lovable. Yes, I said lovable. For friends and those who he deems to be people that need help he is always there for them. In this book he is able to, once again, outsmart the bad guys. The good news is that the bad guys don’t all have to from the Middle East and south of the border. Now the author has got a whole slew of creepy thugs from Eastern Europe and the Balkans and, of course, Russia. And we can always depend on Joe Pike to teach them a lesson. Have read Joe Pike books before but somehow missed this one and was glad to get the chance to catch up. Enjoyed the book very much.
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on March 11, 2017
Okay this was exciting, brutal, complex, and surprisingly gentle. Don't want to give anything away, but I was surprised to see how well the tough guys handled a fragile object they needed to take care of. Great story.
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on March 15, 2017
Lots and lots of action. Smart moves and a great story. Joe
Pike is a very interesting and not scared of anything and nerves of steel kind of guy. Wow, always a great story from Mr. Crais.
Thank you
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on March 16, 2017
The fast moving action mystery involves the Serbian mafia and murder. Ex-mercenary fighter Joe Pike is determined to find the person responsible for murdering his ex partner and good friend. His friend, Frank Meyer and his wife and two sons were murdered in cold blood in their home.
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on March 25, 2017
Fast paced and well scripted. Intricate plot twists you cannot put down. First I've read of Pike as the lead. Different from an Elvis Cole but just as compelling. Do yourself a favor and read this book. Book 1 is going into my queue now.
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on February 27, 2010
It takes a good author to create characters you remember. It takes a great author to get you to care about the characters enough to get invested in them time and again. Robert Crais is one of those great authors, and he has created two such characters--sarcastic private investigator Elvis Cole and his silent-but-deadly longtime friend and business partner, Joe Pike. While The First Rule focuses more on Pike, Elvis does show up to assist.

On a fairly typical night in suburban LA, importer Frank Meyer and his entire family are brutally murdered in what appears to be a robbery-motivated home invasion. But Meyer wasn't just a regular guy: he used to be a contract mercenary with Joe Pike before he left to start a family. Pike is determined to track down Frank's murderers at any cost, and runs into the police, ATF and the world of Serbian organized crime while doing so. This book has some great action and some terrific character development, and Crais has done a great job in his last several books rounding out Pike's persona more fully. While some of the action may be a little predictable, this book is a great page-turner. And you can't go wrong picking up any other of Crais' books either.
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on July 1, 2017
A fairly fast paced thriller with a couple of twists that keep you guessing. The main character may be a little too tough and deadly to believe but overall a decent read. I wouldn't place this as one of the top thriller series on the market but it is better than most.
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on October 4, 2017
I’ve read several of the Elvis Cole books and have never been disappointed and I was not disappointed with this one either. It was very much a great read all the way through it. Great story and a fast read. Read it, you will become a fan of Robert Crais too!
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