The Watchman


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The story progression took me to a conclusion that made sense to me. I liked that although Pike has the loner vibe, he really does use his connections and rely on people he trusts to get the job done. Crais' Writing Style : I thought that this book was written in a very visually appealing way. Crais writes a catchy, stylish story. Not overly noirish, but a contrast between gritty and beauty and naturalism in an unexpected way and in unexpected places. Pike comes off as very iconic. Instead of being described completely, I was given enough to get an image of him in my head.

His sunglasses that hide his cold blue eyes. The way his mouth twitches when he expressed the small bit of emotion on his face. His brisk, economical way of speaking. The gentleness he shows Larkin. The violent moments aren't drawn out, but quick, yet no less brutal when needed. Usually an author might over-describe these parts to intensify these moments, but Crais doesn't do that. He writes them speedy, like they happen in real life. I don't think his approach is one of action, but more of suspense, and that comes through.

Los Angeles isn't the most beautiful place to this reader. I don't care much for the city, frankly. But Crais finds the beauty in this place, but also exposes the seamy aspects that I associate with the City of Angels. The place of both exorbitant wealth and extreme poverty. Where starlets and heiresses are just a few block away from brutal gang-bangers and the ugly taint of urban decay.

This place comes to life in his capable hands. If I ever miss LA which is unlikely , I can read his books and get my fix. I gave this one 4.

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I wanted more page time on a few aspects that I didn't get. But overall, this was a fun ride, and Pike is my baby boy now. I want some more! View all 14 comments. Aug 13, Paul E. Morph rated it really liked it Shelves: books-read-in This is book eleven of the series and the first one to be told from the perspective of Joe Pike. I really enjoyed the change in viewpoint; in fact it would have been enough to make this a five star rating if it weren't for one thing Pike and Cole's reactions to her were, if anything, even more annoying I was actually rooting for her to die horribly, which was probably not the auth This is book eleven of the series and the first one to be told from the perspective of Joe Pike.

I was actually rooting for her to die horribly, which was probably not the author's intention. Anyway, other than her, a really good book. Feb 21, carol. Except, of course, for a little help from his friends Elvis Cole and forensics analyst John Chen.


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To compensate, Crais has to switch the narrative around, including John Chen, Elvis, and the client, a twenty-something year-old woman with the ridiculous name of Larkin Conner Barkley. I was wise enough to put it down last night after reading the first couple chapters, so I was ready for the thriller pacing today. Although it was odd, I enjoyed seeing Elvis in the back-up role.

It was also interesting seeing him actually detect, while Joe continued to do much of the muscle work. Overall, an enjoyable way to spend a few hours. It was interesting to have the character focus change, the type of story change even if it was rather a predictable one and Crais is a solid writer. Just how serious are those implications? Half a star off for it. Jul 02, Wendy rated it really liked it Shelves: wom , books , jul I really enjoyed this 1st book in his "Joe Pike" series! View all 9 comments. Shelves: good-read. Suspense, excitement, and thrilling is how I would describe Joe Pike.

Joe Pike is an ex-Marine , ex-cop, and ex-mercenary who is hired on contract to protect Larkin Conner Barkley who has been targeted for death for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. So, it seems. Joe Pike is a man of very few words. But, his connections lead to protecting Larkin and revealing secrets many people are trying to hide. I enjoyed all the action packed scenes in this book. I felt like I was at the movies on Suspense, excitement, and thrilling is how I would describe Joe Pike. I felt like I was at the movies on how well detailed the scenes were described.

The book kept you in suspense because you didn't know who to trust until the end. A good read. Quote: "Cut these things off. Bring her back, Pike. We can protect her. You can't even protect yourself. View all 3 comments. Mar 17, Harry rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites , detective-mystery. Ok, a few rambling thoughts on Robert Crais. Who is this guy, where'd he come from, how'd he get so popular? Well the first thing to know is that Crais is not from California at all. He is a native of Louisiana, grew up in a blue collar family, and read his first crime novel The Little Sister when he was And that's all it took.

Chandler gave him his love for writing. Other authors that have inspired him were Hammett, Hemingway seems like that's true of all the crime writers , Parker, and St Ok, a few rambling thoughts on Robert Crais. Other authors that have inspired him were Hammett, Hemingway seems like that's true of all the crime writers , Parker, and Steinbeck huh? How'd he get so popular? In short: television and L. Robert Crais has a very impressive resume as a screenwriter for such television series as Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice damn, I loved that show too!

But what hits home the most with Crais himself is his work on the 4 hour mini series Cross of Fire which is about the Ku Klux Klan and is probably more relevant to his home state of Louisiana than it is to Hollywood. Following a growing dissatsifaction of a screen writer's constraints, Crais began writing novels. Requim, which is the 8th Elvis Cole novel, is what landed him as an author that defied all genres and in it outsurpassed even the legendary Ross Macdonald. Enough about Crais, the guy's good. So, what about Elvis Cole?

Naming someone Elvis had to have been a fairly deliberate decision. To me the name seems iconic, Warholish, Disneylandish, a bit theatrical if not cynical. In fact his novels and trinkets therein are suffused with cultural icons: Spider Man mug, Jiminy Cricket latent fantasy of wanting to be Peter Pan? But in reality there's nothing ridiculous about Cole: he's tough, honest, ponders morality and ambiguity and hypocrasies while staring out the balcony window in his office.

Yes, he's cynical, a smart ass, a comic relief in many ways Joe Pike, the avenging angel, is a tool used sparingly by Crais. Use him too much and you wonder why he isn't the main character we know Crais has struggled with this as he produced 4 separate novels featuring Pike as the hero ; use him too little and you start wondering why the big guns aren't being pulled out by Elvis.

What you want to do is increase the anxiety level of the reader towards the hero, not get the reader frustrated with him. Crais handles this expertly The Elvis Cole novels should be considered hard boiled detectives primarily in that Crais deviates from the traditional Romantic tradition found in detective stories and crime fiction by introducing Cole as a detective with a decidedly cynical attitude towards the emotions i. And yet, we find sprinkled throughout the books insightful observations of the world as seen through Elvis's eyes. In the following passage, Elvis observes the effects of dry brush fires raging through L.

Though dry and brutally harsh, the desert wind is clean. It pushes the smog south to the sea and scrubs the sky to a crystalline blue. The air, jittery from the heat, rises in swaying tendrils like kelp from the seabed, making the city shimmer. We are never more beautiful than when we are burning. Like I said, it really came together following the publication of his 8th Elvis Cole novel.

Pike his side kick, Lou Poitras Cole's detective friend gruffy as ever, shifting view points, a relaxation of Cole's zany character So, believe me. All in all, you will not be disappointed with the Elvis Cole series. There are a lot of these novels so sit back and enjoy!

I most certainly did. As with all series reviews, this one covers all the Elvis Cole books. So if you've read this review of mine than you've read 'em all. Shelves: good-read , audio-book , crime-action-adventure. You know that old saying? A tragically misunderstood celebrity has an accident on an empty street in Los Angeles.

She tries to do the right thing and report it, then, the bad men start coming out of the wood work to kill her. Give a Girl a Break will you? From there, the bullets fly. What's so important about this girl? Joe don't play the passive body guard wait till you get shot thing very well. The best defense is a fist slamed straight up the bullies nose and out the back of his head.

If Joe can find out who's behind all this before he and the girl get killed that is. Trust me, this will be done "Joe's way" unless the snotty little rich girl gets her way. This story had me with chapter one, bullets already flying and a body count of five before the smoke clears for chapter 2.

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So it's got a "little" action in it? Robert Crais wrote a wonderful story where he takes the most obvious cardboard cut out characters, and shows us all how to make them human. Both the rich girl and Joe Pike are so much deeper inside than we all assume from what we see on the surface. Crais peels back the layers of each one anecdote at a time, until we get to see that they might be human after all.

By the end of the story everybody gets to grow Great read. Action packed but Craise does take time to develop characters when it counts and gets the most out of them. Good mystery-the characters and action almost overshadow that, but there is a good old fashioned crime and detective story in here, also and a sweet break your heart ending in a good way. I'm a fan. I only cried a little bit. Warning: Adult situations, nudity, sex, lots of violence and also some very emotional and painful memories involving familial abuse.

Crais did a lot of good writing to make sure his violence wasn't just sensless, but it is there. If you want to play with cuddly bunnies read Watership Down. If you don't mind violence with a purpose in the story not gratuitus in anyway this book works for you. The quality of the story outweighs the presence of violent acts, but may not be suitable for children and some Nuns. Again it's just part of a really good story. I don't see any better way for Crais to tell it. View all 7 comments. When a favor is called in, Joe Pike finds himself as the bodyguard for Larkin Conner Barkley, a spoiled rich young woman who has become a witness in a Federal investigation thanks to a traffic accident.

But when people come for them twice within just a few hours, Pike must go to extreme measures to protect them both. The bigger question becomes, what is really going on? From a mystery standpoint, this book is outstanding, which several wonderful twists and surprises.

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I had a hard time putting the When a favor is called in, Joe Pike finds himself as the bodyguard for Larkin Conner Barkley, a spoiled rich young woman who has become a witness in a Federal investigation thanks to a traffic accident. I had a hard time putting the book down. Since this book focuses on Pike, it is interesting to get some more perspective on this character, although I did feel some flashbacks slowed the book down.

My biggest beef with the book was two characters who I found super annoying. We were supposed to find them comedic, but I wanted to slap both of them. Read my full review at Carstairs Considers. Apr 23, Mike rated it it was amazing.

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This is the first story centering on Joe Pike, and his current duties as a bodyguard to a 22 yr old rich girl think Paris H. Joe is his goal-centered greatest, as he goes off the grid to dodge multiple attempts 3rd read - Even after multiple readings of this series like Lucas Davenport and Charlie Parker stories I still find myself entertained and engaged, hardly being able to hold off rushing to the finish.

Joe is his goal-centered greatest, as he goes off the grid to dodge multiple attempts on the girl's life, coming full circle to work with the guy in the LAPD who helped train him years ago.

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A rich, privileged young girl is involved in a minor traffic accident in Los Angeles. A man and woman in the front seat, a man in the backseat of the other car. The back seat guy jumps out and runs off, and the couple drive their damaged vehicle off. Enter the Feds, showing pictures to the girl, and find it's a wanted felon on the run who appears back in the states. Subsequent attempts are made on the girl's life, and her protectors appeal to Jon Stone for help.

Stone calls in an old chip to Joe Pike, who becomes the lady's protector and babysitter.

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Elvis Cole has a peripheral role here, as he's still recovering from injuries incurred in the last installment. Jon Stone has more of a presence, and we get to see and know him more in future tales. Little bit of Jon Stone, too. Really, really great thriller action in this one. Joe Pike is a badass for the ages, an unstoppable heat-seeking missile with years of experience from the Marines and LAPD as well as unquestionably awesome red arrows tattooed on his deltoids signifying his no-retreat, all-advance outlook on life.

I admit I kinda cheated with this one as I read the first Elvis Cole novel and then, seeing that Pike stars in his own books, went right to them. I love this kind of story, and the flashbacks set when Pike was still a cop were really, really great. This book was lean, deadly and quick as a cheetah. It was also refreshingly kind of understated in terms of grit and gore. Everyone that reads my shit probably knows I do enjoy violent and dark books but Crais managed to include a feeling of real danger and violence without ridiculous amounts of cursing, racism, brains spattering, etc.

The bad guy is predictable. Well, so what? The good guy is unpredictable. It seems her hard-driving, free-spirited method of self-medicating via adrenaline ie. She saw the wrong person at the wrong time and that will likely be fatal. So, how is Pike unpredictable? His emotional catharsis may take down a tsunami of bodies or it may be a gentle, if unexpected, word of comfort and self-revelation. Is that authentic strength or merely a perceived one. You be the judge. I hate finding contradictory evidence. With two thumbs up from my wife and me, I have to give this my highest rating.

I love tough smart loner guys like Joe Pike. I had plot problems, but it was still a fun and engaging read. Bad guys want her dead. She is in safe houses under federal protection. Three times someone leaks the location to the bad guys who come with guns. So Joe Pike a former marine and police officer is hired to protect her. He keeps her safe. The federal authorities, local police, and her father are angry at Joe I love tough smart loner guys like Joe Pike. Larkin does two stupid things which put her life in danger and gives Joe a chance to show how smart and great he is.

I loved what Joe did when those things happened. But I wish the author used something different to put her in danger - not her own stupid actions. Joe and two other competent military types are sneaking up on some bad guys, planning a surprise attack. Of course, again this showed how good Joe was when things went wrong. But here I felt the author was doing it to move the plot. I prefer the bad guys being smart to move the plot, not the good guys being stupid.

The author wrote several Elvis Cole stories in 1st person. I did not enjoy those as much. Some readers will like the relationship part. Joe helps her see things differently. They become close - but no sex. The narrator James Daniels was good.


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She calls the bad guy for some unknown reason about helping her daddy. Her phone call was not shown. The bad guy then comes, picks her up, drives away, and holds her hostage to get what he wants. Unabridged audiobook length: 7 hrs and 51 mins. Swearing language: strong including religious swear words, but rarely used. Sexual content: none. Setting: current day Los Angeles, California. Book copyright: Genre: action mystery suspense. View 2 comments. Jan 12, Tim Warner rated it really liked it.

Just started. I like the creative approach that Robert Crais uses in this first of the Joe Pike series. The reader gets dropped into the middle of the action and the past unfolds slowly to fill in the history leading to the current situation. It's an interes4ting and novel approach. I finished. Good, not the best. I will continue with Pike, however. I wrote a much more extensive review of The Watchman, but the computer ate it up.

One false key stroke and you're done4! I have calmed down. What I wanted to emphasize about The Watchman is the styles of writing which were cleverly embedded within the content. When the action centered upon Elvis or his perspective, the text was dense, thorough, contemplative. When the action was described through the perspective of Joe Pike, words were sparse, economic, and to-the-point.

The two different styles of writing are reflective and revealing of the two protagonists, Elvis and Joe. The plot contains all the elements of suspense and twists for which I read this genre. Just when I think I have it logically figured out, my predictions collapse.

Robert Crais doesn't disappoint! I heartily recommend his books for depth of character, a compelling can't-put-it-down read, and just plain old reading pleasure. Mar 16, Jim rated it liked it Shelves: 1paper , 2fiction , mystery-thriller. It was an action packed thriller, no doubt about it. Pike is pretty over the top, not even taking well deserved money, too perfect for my taste. It was interesting to find out his back story, though.

His wise cracks were more fun in small doses. I appreciated not getting quite as much of a tour of LA as I did with the first Elvis Cole book, too. Mar 30, Tom rated it it was amazing Shelves: mystery. Joe Pike is one tough hombre and Crais writes well. Lookin' forward to the next one. Sep 08, Alasandra Alawine rated it really liked it. Joe Pike's former TO hires him to protect Larkin, who has become the target of a killer after a car accident.

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Pike soon determines that everyone is lying about why Larkin is in danger and finds the link to Larkin's Father but when he goes to confront her Dad, Larkin decides to take matters into her own hands and winds up kidnapped. Pike and Cole will have to use all their ingenuity to free her and Pike and Stone will go to the ends of the earth to track down the man who made Larkin a target. A Joe Pike novel. Both series are so well written that they transcend, it seems to me, the genre.

Joe Pike is a co-partner, along with Ellis Cole, of a private investigative agency. In a way, he s your A Joe Pike novel. I put it down to the writing, which is very good, and the plotting, which is also very good. Pike has an interesting background, and Barkley has appealing intelligence. This is not a wooden book depending simply on body count which is significant and gore and atrocities of which there is hardly any for its appeal.

It moves nicely, its characters are appealing or repellent as necessary, and the plot resolves well. Highly recommended. Apr 10, M. Rudolph rated it it was amazing Shelves: who-done-ems. Robert Crais is a master craftsman who delivers on his promise. There are alot of variations on the LA private eye story. And lots of good practitioners of the genre. Crais is among the best. This is Joe Pike's novel, but Elvis Cole is his buddy and of course he makes more than a cameo. Pike relies on Cole to provide key backup. Pike is a damaged soul from childhood, but he's a tough survivor Pike is a damaged soul from childhood, but he's a tough survivor who has beaten back his demons in a way that makes him stronger than anyone else.

He lives by a code that prizes loyalty above all else. He protects and serves whether as a member of LAPD or as an independent. He hates bullies in any shape, and he never walks out on a friend. You can read elsewhere for plot summary. The result, a prize winner in Sweden, is an unconventional mashup: part murder mystery, part gothic chiller, part noirish picaresque and entirely, unrelentingly grisly.

Harrowing sea battles, botched public executions, savage whippings, hands burned to stumps by potash and lime: Natt och Dag spares us nothing, detailing horror after horror in his unflinchingly muscular prose. Betrayal is everywhere, trust repaid with chicanery, innocence with false accusations. Gleams of beauty and tenderness are quickly snuffed out. The historical digressions that pepper the text are vividly conjured but also slow the pace. Several plot twists prove unconvincingly convenient. Most problematically, the psychological climax of the story lacks the profundity that would justify its excesses.

It is not enough to know that people who are cruelly treated go on to be cruel. The best contemporary Nordic noir plumbs the depths of human depravity not to shock gratuitously or titillate but in an attempt to grasp what such depravity tells us of the human condition, to shine a light into the darker reaches of the human soul. Brutality without humanity, without understanding, reduces us all to collaborators and voyeurs. To order a copy go to guardianbookshop. Topics Crime fiction. Fiction in translation Fiction reviews.

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