Title: The Sentry
Authors: Robert Crais
Review: The formula for the buddy investigative team is to have a competent likable lead character and a partner who is a hard ass beyond belief. That way the good guy always has back-up that can handle just about anything that comes his way; and has no qualms about doing what needs to be done. Elvis Cole has the ever quiet Joe Pike, ex-Marine and ex-cop to help him out when needed. The thing that makes Pike unique though is Crais decision to bring him out as the lead character with Cole riding back-up. Crais shows up that Pike has a life beyond second banana, a fully developed person who can carry a book in his own right.
The book opens with Pike witnessing a couple of gang members beating a local store owner and being the concerned citizen that he is, he gets involved. Of course this leads to an escalation between the bad guys who believe they should be able to do anything they want, and Pike who really can do what he wants. The store owner has a beautiful niece which motivates Pike even more to protect her, but as the action ratchets up it becomes obvious everything is not as it seems.
Pike and Cole approach the ever changing situation with their usual attitude, jumping in feet first with total commitment. I liked this book mainly for the relationship between the two leads. They both bring their skills and personalities to the table, both good and bad, and it works. This is the 14th book together (and the 3rd featuring Pike as the lead) and I highly recommend reading the series from the beginning but it isn’t strictly necessary. The mysteries are pretty much self-contained and I read them slightly out of order myself. That said Crais also has a few stand-alones that you can get a taste for his writing before committing to the fourteen books.
Publisher: GP Putnam
Quick Review: 4 Stars out of 5.
Why I Read it: I started with Crais 2006 after seeing a rave review for LA Requiem (1999) and after finishing it proceeded to read the rest of his books to that point over the next six months. I have kept up ever since.
Where I Obtained the Book: At the library.
Synopsis: The extraordinary new crime novel from the New York Times bestselling author. Dru Rayne and her uncle fled to L.A. after Hurricane Katrina; but now, five years later, they face a different danger. When Joe Pike witnesses Dru's uncle beaten by a protection gang, he offers his help, but neither of them want it-and neither do the federal agents mysteriously watching them. As the level of violence escalates, and Pike himself becomes a target, he and Elvis Cole learn that Dru and her uncle are not who they seem- and that everything he thought he knew about them has been a lie. A vengeful and murderous force from their past is now catching up to them . . . and only Pike and Cole stand in the way.
Robert Crais was born in 1953 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was trained as a mechanical engineer before pursuing his dream of becoming a writer. In 1976 he went to Hollywood and began writing scripts for such television series as Miami Vice and Cagney and Lacey. He received an Emmy nomination for his work on Hill Street Blues. He is the author of the Elvis Cole series and the Joe Pike series. The Monkey's Raincoat won the Anthony and Macavity Awards in 1988. He is the 2006 recipient of the Ross Macdonald Literary Award.