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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joe Pike takes center stage. . .
My copy of "The Watchman" arrived yesterday and I just turned the last page, sad to see it end-- I rarely finish a book that fast! Joe Pike takes center stage in this hard-boiled crime thriller. The enigmatic Pike has been a background character in the popular Crais, Elvis Cole series. Joe is somewhat forced into being a protector for a wealthy hot young heiress, who...
Published on 28 Feb 2007 by Jason Webster

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Joe Pike the Quiet Man
Robert Craig may be expanding his approach the Elvis Cole series, but unfortunatly did not work for me. Joe Pike is great as support team member, but suffers as the lead. Like a lot of "quiet men" he is a bit dull, does not explain anything to direct questions.

That said, the story line is interesting. Elvis is in it with select chapters from his point of...
Published on 22 April 2007 by Amazon Customer


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joe Pike takes center stage. . ., 28 Feb 2007
By 
Jason Webster "An Argonaut" (CA United States) - See all my reviews
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My copy of "The Watchman" arrived yesterday and I just turned the last page, sad to see it end-- I rarely finish a book that fast! Joe Pike takes center stage in this hard-boiled crime thriller. The enigmatic Pike has been a background character in the popular Crais, Elvis Cole series. Joe is somewhat forced into being a protector for a wealthy hot young heiress, who is also a big party girl (think Paris Hilton if she had a bit more brains and style). The Heiress, Larkin Barkely, is in mortal danger through a strange set of circumstances that are really no fault of her own. I don't won't spoil anything, but the villain here is as intense as any I have encountered in recent modern fiction, and he will stop at nothing to get his desired results. Pike, of course, will have something to say about the outcome. As always Crais's pacing and stylings are top notch and the author deserves his perch at the top of the thriller genre!
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong , Silent and Deadly Pike, 28 April 2007
By 
Scully Bloke (Wiltshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Watchman (Hardcover)
First let me say I have read all Robert Crais books and he is probably my favourite author. This is another very enjoyable book both for Crais fans and for newcomers to Crais work.

Strong and silent Pike takes the lead in this novel as a watchman for a pretty rich girl who is being tracked by people trying to kill her.

As the story unfolds Pike gets help from his partner Elvis Cole as the pace hots up to a very exciting finale.

But this is the first Crais book I have given only 4 stars too, as it loses points for its too complex plot, in terms of why the girl is being hunted and in the lack of humour normally associated with Crais novels.

Its a below average Crais novel, but still much better than most authors and well worth the read.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Watchman by Robert Crais, 16 April 2007
By 
HKR (Leamington Spa, Warwickshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Watchman (Hardcover)
This is the first Robert Crais book I've read and it captured my attention immediately. The Watchman is an action-packed thriller that's difficult to put down.

The story revolves around Joe Pike protecting a federal witness, Larkin Barkley as a favour for Jon Stone who provides "security" personnel. Larkin is the spoilt, feisty daughter of billionaire Conner Barkley and there have already been two attempts on her life - what started out as a simple car accident has turned into a nightmare. Larkin is determined to make things difficult for Joe until she realises that he is the only one that can protect her from the men who have been sent to hunt her. Joe knows the only way to protect Larkin is to become the hunter and uses all his skills and resources to do so. In the process they unravel the truth behind the attempts on Larkin's life.

It's hard to imagine that a tense and fast paced story could revolve round Joe Pike's character - he is a man who never smiles and never says more than four words. As the story unfolds we learn about Joe's background and what has made him the honourable, strong and self-reliant man that he is. To begin with you can't imagine Larkin and Joe having anything in common, but as we discover more about their childhoods you can clearly see the undemanding and selfless love they have for their respective fathers, even when that love is not returned.

The Watchman is written in a punchy fashion that keeps the adrenalin of the reader pumping. It's also refreshing to read a book that's part of a series where the characters can be understood without having to read long narrative passages or previous books. I would definitely read another Robert Crais novel.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crais back at his best, 9 July 2007
By 
Mr. Warren M. Fisher (East Grinstead, West Sussex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Watchman (Hardcover)
Definitely Crais' best novel since HOSTAGE, maybe even his best since the classic LA REQUIEM. Like REQUIEM Joe Pike is slam-bang centre-stage (indeed this is the first book billed as 'a Joe Pike Novel'), with Elvis Cole sidelined (where his trademark snappy one-liners are less irritating), and the book is all the better for it. There are only two flaws with this near-perfect thriller: One, it is on the short side (292 pages); and secondly and more importantly Crais doesn't seem to be aware that Pike and Cole as Vietnam vets the pair must be in the their mid-to-late 50s, but they show no signs of the passing years, and the putative romance between Pike and his youthful (20s) charge is more than a little unconvincing especially given Pike's age, background and essential character. Crais should look to James Lee Burke's Robicheaux novels, where Dave and Clete, both vets, accrue the years and age takes it's inevitable toll.

That all said this is a near faultless cocktail of deadpan characterisation and thrilling action. Dark, relentless and utterly gripping this is Crais back near his unmatched best.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of his very best, 7 April 2008
By 
Louis Hersom (Brussels, Belgium) - See all my reviews
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This is one of Robert Crais' best novels to date, and I think I read almost all of them. A captivating and intricate story with lots of action. It is definitely more "noir" in its style than the Elvis Cole novels which is logical since sinister Joe Pike is the main character. However, Crais provides us with a much more facetted psychological portrait of Pike than we have otherwise been used to in the Cole novels which is quite satisfying. All of a sudden Pike becomes a real person. Keep the Pike books coming!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the arrows point forward, 29 Jan 2008
This review is from: The Watchman (Hardcover)
Another smashing book in the cole/pike series for us to enjoy.A very good story as always,and more focus on joe Pike who is protecting a key witness from a murderous drug gang,this time.A quiet man ,with his own code of behaviour and sense of what is right and wrong,we are exposed to him in a lot more detail than in the past books in this series.
I hope that the author copies the arrow tattoos on pike's shoulders and keeps going forward with this series-don't stop!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Joe Pike Reluctantly Takes Charge, 5 July 2007
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Watchman (Paperback)
No Elvis Cole fan who has ever enjoyed a scene of Joe Pike not smiling and not laughing will want to miss this book.

To note that Joe Pike is the strong, silent type is to be redundant for those who have been reading Robert Crais's writing about Elvin Cole and Joe Pike. How do you take someone who rarely says more than three words at a time and build a novel around him? It's quite a challenge and Robert Crais almost makes it work perfectly.

If you are new to Joe Pike, Mr. Crais does a nice job of including a little back story so this book is a standalone opportunity for you to enjoy a fine action thriller.

At first blush, Larkin Barkley and Joe Pike couldn't be more different. She's rich, spoiled, willful, attention-seeking, and impulsive. He's a man of modest means, self-reliant, self-disciplined, attention-avoiding, and carefully calculating. But as you'll learn in the story, they share demons, perspectives, and instincts to protect others.

The book opens in brilliant fashion in a hail of bullets as Joe Pike finds himself under attack soon after moving into a new "safe" house where he's taken Larkin Barkley. Who's spilling the beans? Joe decides to slip the leashes that have been placed on him, and pretty soon he's hunting prey rather than being hunted.

Then we back up and find out how a billionaire's daughter finds herself the target of pistol-packing thugs. The young Ms. Barkley likes to race her high performance sports car at high speed down the empty L.A. streets in the middle of the night. This night, however, someone else is out and about, and she crashes into them. The two people in front are dazed, but appear to have no serious injuries. Their passenger bolts and runs down the street. The couple takes off also. Larkin tells the police about everything, but it's all a mystery until a few days later when she's approached about testifying to what she saw that night. From there, murderous attacks soon follow.

Normally, Joe Pike wouldn't play bodyguard for anyone. But two moral obligations pull him into this case, and he will save Larkin's life despite her own willfulness as the only way to meet those obligations.

In the meantime, a lot about what's going on doesn't quite make sense. Joe gradually unravels the layers of deceit to reveal the true crimes. From there, the resolution rapidly develops.

Part of the intrigue of the story is that Larkin needs someone to treat her with concern . . . and not just save her life. Joe Pike finds that need more threatening than the bad guys but he bends as much as he can. But gradually, they develop a human connection that begins to work for both of them.

The book's only weakness is that the "mystery" element is a little bizarre. The story would have been more interesting if the reason for the threat to Larkin had been a little less unusual. I found myself wondering about the plot a lot in the last 75 pages rather than just being able to enjoy the story.

But the beginning is great fun. It's close to perfect. I was particularly impressed by the way Mr. Crais resisted the temptation to put in several more action scenes that would have diluted the punch of his powerful story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Joe Pike Reluctantly Takes Charge, 29 Mar 2007
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
No Elvis Cole fan who has ever enjoyed a scene of Joe Pike not smiling and not laughing will want to miss this book.

To note that Joe Pike is the strong, silent type is to be redundant for those who have been reading Robert Crais's writing about Elvin Cole and Joe Pike. How do you take someone who rarely says more than three words at a time and build a novel around him? It's quite a challenge and Robert Crais almost makes it work perfectly.

If you are new to Joe Pike, Mr. Crais does a nice job of including a little back story so this book is a standalone opportunity for you to enjoy a fine action thriller.

At first blush, Larkin Barkley and Joe Pike couldn't be more different. She's rich, spoiled, willful, attention-seeking, and impulsive. He's a man of modest means, self-reliant, self-disciplined, attention-avoiding, and carefully calculating. But as you'll learn in the story, they share demons, perspectives, and instincts to protect others.

The book opens in brilliant fashion in a hail of bullets as Joe Pike finds himself under attack soon after moving into a new "safe" house where he's taken Larkin Barkley. Who's spilling the beans? Joe decides to slip the leashes that have been placed on him, and pretty soon he's hunting prey rather than being hunted.

Then we back up and find out how a billionaire's daughter finds herself the target of pistol-packing thugs. The young Ms. Barkley likes to race her high performance sports car at high speed down the empty L.A. streets in the middle of the night. This night, however, someone else is out and about, and she crashes into them. The two people in front are dazed, but appear to have no serious injuries. Their passenger bolts and runs down the street. The couple takes off also. Larkin tells the police about everything, but it's all a mystery until a few days later when she's approached about testifying to what she saw that night. From there, murderous attacks soon follow.

Normally, Joe Pike wouldn't play bodyguard for anyone. But two moral obligations pull him into this case, and he will save Larkin's life despite her own willfulness as the only way to meet those obligations.

In the meantime, a lot about what's going on doesn't quite make sense. Joe gradually unravels the layers of deceit to reveal the true crimes. From there, the resolution rapidly develops.

Part of the intrigue of the story is that Larkin needs someone to treat her with concern . . . and not just save her life. Joe Pike finds that need more threatening than the bad guys but he bends as much as he can. But gradually, they develop a human connection that begins to work for both of them.

The book's only weakness is that the "mystery" element is a little bizarre. The story would have been more interesting if the reason for the threat to Larkin had been a little less unusual. I found myself wondering about the plot a lot in the last 75 pages rather than just being able to enjoy the story.

But the beginning is great fun. It's close to perfect. I was particularly impressed by the way Mr. Crais resisted the temptation to put in several more action scenes that would have diluted the punch of his powerful story.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself, 16 Mar 2007
By 
J. E. Parry "Jeff Parry" (Pontypool, Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Watchman (Hardcover)
Joe Pike has been the straight man in the Elvis Cole novels up until now. He is renowned for his strong, silent machoness. He is the man that most men would like to be like - quiet, calm, seldom heard but evidently strong, violent when needed and as honest as the day is long.

Joe has never been a weak character but a man of mystery. You know that he is there when he's needed and has a strong personal code that he lives by, reagrdless of the law's finer tunings. He will, and does, get the job done. Menance seems to seep from his pores but its also focused and never misplaced.

The Watchman sees Crais bring Joe to the fore and Elvis back into the woodwork. We concentrate on him as he has to protect a federal witness who is one step away from death. As they story opens she already has 2 attempts on her life before Joe is tasked to look after her, as a favour to a friend.

Over the last few Elvis Cole novels we begun to learn what makes Pike what he is. This takes us several steps further and reveals more of his upbringing and police career. We learn why he left the force and how that damaged a friendship and made another.

Throughout we see Pike open up in front of us. He still retains an air of mystery at the end but we find that he's alone more by choice than circumstance. I don't want to give anything away here and spoil it for others.

This is another excellent book from Robert Crais. He maintains the same tension throughout that you come to expect, with a level of humour as well. This book takes us further into the life of Pike and onwards in the partnership with Elvis Cole.

Long may their adventures continue.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read..., 30 Mar 2008
I've read a number of Robert Crais novels, and I'm alway's impressed by the style he writes with. His ability to draw the reader in hook, line, and sinker is refined and never fails to hit the spot. Another good read is 'The Constantine Legacy' by Andrew Towning. I highly recommend this author whenever I can. His Jake Dillon charactor, I've no doubt, we'll be seeing alot of.
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