A DANGEROUS MAN by Robert Crais (Simon & Schuster, $A29.99)
There are few authors who can write high quality, action crime novels as well as Robert Crais.
His books appear straight forward and simple, but there is a real talent in the way he grabs the reader’s attention and maintains the story flow, while casting reflections on life in modern Los Angeles. His stories are fast paced, but reasonably credible, and he quickly and skillfully creates interesting likeable characters, the fate of whom we care about. They may not be great works of literature, but they are very entertaining and rarely disappoint.
A Dangerous Man opens with the unflappable and very dangerous Joe Pike stopping the kidnapping of Isabel, a young female bank teller. At first glance, it appears to be some sort of attempted sex crime, but when the would-be kidnappers turn up dead shortly after being released on the bail it is clear that there is more at stake. The police suspect that Joe has something to do with the execution of the would-be kidnappers and when Isabel goes missing they are not too fussed. It is up to Pike and his friend, PI Elvis Cole, to get to the bottom of it and find Isabel, no matter what it takes.
It is a simple set-up, but Crais adds twists to it as the story develops and Pike and Cole find themselves dealing with some nasty types used to inflicting pain. There are some coincidences and lucky breaks for Pike and Cole in their investigation, but these are easy to overlook as the plot powers to a bloody and exciting climax.
Smoothly interwoven into the novel, are interesting backstories, simple but effective descriptions of Los Angeles and credible conversations between the two detectives and the people that they meet during their investigation. In the last book, The Wanted, there was a touch of smugness in the conversations between Cole and Pike and their friends, but it is missing this time around and A Dangerous Man is much better for it.
In all, this is a highly entertaining crime novel with plenty of action and excitement, but also nice touches of heartfelt emotion and compassion. Highly recommended.
Four stars and a half stars out of five!
A Dangerous Man was released in Australia and the United Kingdom on
1 September 2019. Thanks to Simon & Schuster and the Canberra Weekly for an early copy of the book.
In writing my review, I went through my Robert Crais books and found this First Edition Paperback release of his first novel The Monkey’s Raincoat. He has certainly progressed a long way since then!