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

4.2 out of 5 stars 463 customer reviews
Book 4 of 5 in the Joe Pike Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“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.” —Bookreporter.com

“[Crais’s] best-selling Elvis Cole/Joe Pike series gets better with every new book, and…Taken, is no exception.” —OregonLive.com --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 (463 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #337,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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I've read a number of Crais' books and enjoyed them all. This one, however, is pretty awful. Far too many characters and ethnic groups to keep straight, and so much violence/torture that it began to seem gratuitous. The Aunt Nancy character was necessary to the story but the way she was portrayed was not believable. Ditto for Jon Stone except that his character could have been omitted. I kept turning Kindle pages more and more quickly and will just delete this book from the device since there's absolutely no chance I'll ever want to read or refer to it again.
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