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on 1 April 2017
love crais's work
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on 17 April 2017
Enjoyed the fast pace of the book filled with twists and turns.
Pike is a firm favourite built in the same elk as Reacher and Puller.
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on 11 May 2011
I read everything that Robert Crais writes and, even though this one features his usual number two man the impalacable and unstoppable Joe Pike, it is still up to his usual brutally fast moving standards. R.C. delivers a known product, but a good one - very good - almost addictively good - but there is a little niggle of concern at the back of my mind. I tried to write a review of The First Rule but everything I wrote could have been applied equally to any of his books, the same review covered them all! Imagine trying to write a review of a single episode of the TV series Friends. Is there such a thing as an overproduced book, after all this one lists almost 50 people to be thanked. Am I just some stupid woman who can't write reviews or are all his books essentially the same? It is not even the lack of significant female roles that bothers me, you usually just accept that with this sort of book.

But there are other thrillers that reach deeper, and I'm not even counting P.D. James because hers aren't genre thrillers they're fully satisfying novels. Take a look at the link I've put in below to a book by someone called Ian Okell, he seems to fill the gap between P.D. James and Robert Crais.

Loose Cannon

But I'm still going to buy the next Crais just as soon as it comes out.
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on 19 July 2011
Today is a sad day. Five months ago I was introduced to the Cole/Pike series, and today, with the completion of The First Rule, I have finished the series.
I can truly say that this is the finest,brilliantly written and exciting crime thriller series that I have ever read..and I include the wonderful Lee Child and Vince Flynn in that analysis.
You just have to start with the first story...and you're hooked. They just get better and better, and the two books where Joe Pike is the 'lead' character are arguably the best of the lot.
I've got John Grisham, James Patterson, Dennis Lehane and more lining up on my Kindle waiting to be read...all I've wanted to do when I've completed one Cole/Pike novel is download the next one. Yes, they are THAT addictive.
So for those of you thinking of downloading this book and who haven't read the previous books in the series, I would say...DON'T! Instead, search The Monkeys Raincoat and get started on a series that will grip you like you wouldn't believe.
I see there's another in the series due out this year. Just keep 'em coming Robert...this series can run for years. And when is someone going to take up the film rights and get these stories out in the cinema? Its got to happen surely.
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on 31 March 2011
This is the old style revenge thriller with Joe Pike as the main protagonist.
One of Joe Pike's old ex-army colleagues, who became a mercenary and worked under Pike, is a guy called Frank Meyer.
Frank decided to opt out of this kind of life and got married to Cindy, had two beautiful kids and severed all links with his past.
However Frank and his family (plus live-in Nanny) are victims of a brutal and terminal assault at their home in what appears to be a home invasion robbery.
This fits into a series of these kind of attacks and the previous victims are known to be criminals who had cash, drugs, or weapons in the house.
At face value it seems that Frank has returned to bad old ways and become involved with an Eastern European crime lord, who amongst the list of his criminal ways includes importing and selling guns as part of his portfolio of skills!
The story centres on the strength of the friendship and "band of brothers" realtionship Pike has with his men and the code of loyalty they strictly adhere to.
Pike is a great character, albeit a bit one dimensional, but so are characters like Harry Bosch (Michael Connelly) and Lee Child's Jack Reacher.
In some ways there's nothing with that and these types of characters have made billionaires for these authors, so this genre works!
So as revenge stories go, allied to the close code of friendship "ethics" that binds Pike to seek and destroy the perpetrators of ths crime, it's not bad.
It certainly kept me page turning and I read it in double quick time.
In summary it's very good but not great but for a holiday or quick read it serves its purpose well.
For those that like Elvis Cole he does put in a shift (a bit like in The Watchman) so you can feast on some of his droll humour when he's around!
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"The avenger of blood himself shall put the murderer to death; when he meets him, he shall put him to death." -- Numbers 35:19

Let's face it, when a character's appeal is as a strong, silent type, it can be hard to build an appealing story around him. Since the witty dialogue opportunities are limited with Joe Pike as the detective, Robert Crais wisely chooses to let Pike's actions develop the story and his character. This decision opens up two rather interesting possibilities that are well developed: lots of action where Pike is on his own and detailed development of interactions with even very minor characters. Through those nuances of Pike's actions and reactions, we see him muddily through the reflected mirror of what others do and say . . . and the impact of Pike's decisions on them (especially children).

If Joe Pike isn't one of your favorite characters in detective fiction, I suggest you skip this book. Its appeal is mostly to the Pike aficionado rather than to the main-line fan of action detection. The plot, dialogue, and character development are there to illuminate Joe Pike rather than to provide a great detective story.

Before Joe Pike was Elvis Cole's partner, he was a highly regarded mercenary in the world's most troubled hot spots who looked after his men much in the way that Marines have always looked after their own. One of those men had been Frank Meyer. Pike had dropped out of Meyer's life after Meyer's pregnant girl friend (and later wife) issued an ultimatum to leave the mercenary life and his mercenary comrades behind.

As the book opens, Meyer's home is invaded by career criminals looking for a large score . . . the same group that has been ripping off other criminals at home in prior weeks. Meyer resists and a bloodbath ensues. The police immediately link Meyer to Pike, who vows to find out why Meyer's home was attacked and to exact revenge. Pike becomes a one-man tracking and wrecking force aided on occasion by old friends and former colleagues.

It quickly becomes apparent that something very strange must be going on, and Pike determines to find out. In the process, he doesn't much care who gets in his way . . . unless it is an innocent (and yes, there are a few).

The plot is built around how you would track career criminals who normally remain well hidden. There's an Eastern European mob connection to add color to the story. The search unfolds in pretty predictable ways so don't expect to feel much suspense.

The book is a quick and easy read, taking about a third less time than most detective novels. When you come to minor characters, slow down to notice the extra care that Robert Crais places on giving you a sense of their attitudes, values, and habits. It's one of the slickest jobs I've ever seen done with the most minor characters in a book of detection.

Put in your shooter's earplugs and get ready to race to the end.
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on 18 February 2014
The First Rule is told from the viewpoint of Joe Pike. It's the second of a Joe Pike series, the first being The Watchman.

The thing I like about the Joe Pike series is that Robert Crais offers the same world of guns and gangsters and double-crosses and twists but from a new perspective; a slightly different angle. Also, Joe Pike is the complete opposite of Elvis Cole. Whereas Elvis is cocky and thinks he's funny, Joe only talks when necessary. He doesn't crack jokes or look for humour. He only looks for the truth, and he'll kill whoever stands in the way of that truth. This brings a huge difference: Elvis Cole is humour wrapped in bullets; Joe Pike is darkness with bullet holes of light.

The First Rule starts with a simple home-robbery/multiple homicide--one of the victims an old friend of Joe Pike--and soon branches out into Serbian gangsters. It has all the elements of a typical Robert Crais, but unlike some of the Elvis Cole novels--as much as I like the Joe Pike character--it's lacking a little something. It's not boring or slow, but it lacks a spark somewhere. The story is too straightforward; too easy. There aren't many twists, and after the first half of the book, it's merely one long fight/chase/shoot scene after another, as if Crais ran out of plot.

It's not bad as such--I liked it. But Crais has done better, so if you've never read him before, don't start with this book. It's more of a series entry, rather than a series standout.

Also, I have no idea why Crais feels the need to write "mother****er" as "muthuf**kah" when uttered by a black character. It's annoying to read. It's not cute.

So if you're reading this Crais: stop it.

You muthuf**kah.
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on 2 February 2013
First of all, I really like Robert Crais - his witticisms and the humour shown in his Elvis Cole books were what prompted me to read 'The First Rule'.

And I've got to say, I was pretty disappointed.

Crais is known for his 'Cole and Pike' books, where Cole is the lead character, supported by Pike. However, in this book, Joe Pike is the main character, and Elvis Cole appears intermittently.

Joe Pike is more or less indestructible. It's a bit ridiculous, and also means there is little tension or suspense, because you know Pike will come out of any situation easily and unscathed.

The storyline is pretty standard, nothing really out of the ordinary for this type of book. It moves along at a fair pace, which is quite fortunate really.

None of the one-liners or usual humour from Cole makes any kind of appearance whatsoever.

The most disappointing aspect was that no part of this book seemed attributable to Robert Crais - it really is that unlike him. I think his style is quite definable - which is why he is usually such a good storyteller. However, but for the chacters 'Cole' and 'Pike', you would have absolutely no idea that this is a Robert Crais book.

I would definitely read another 'Cole and Pike' book, i.e. Cole as the main character, but definitely wouldn't read another centred around Joe Pike.
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on 20 March 2010
The book hits the ground running, opening with a house invasion that leaves all of the occupants dead (or near enough), and we get our first clue that the instigators have taken on more than they bargained for when one of the first detectives on scene draws the attention of his partner to two tattoos on the arms of one of the victims; two red arrows pointing forward.
Yes, someone's taken down a family linked to Joe Pike, and so Joe Pike goes to war once again. I won't give a way too much of the plot, except to say that Joe's refusal to believe that his friend Frank fits the profile of other victims of the same home invasion crew (the earlier victims were all criminals of some sort) quickly causes him to pursue different lines of inquiry and puts him at odds with the cops (but, hey, what's a Robert Crais novel without either Elvis Cole quipping inappropriately or Joe Pike silently (although with a twitch, of course) winding up the LAPD).
I'd agree with the other reviewers that it could perhaps do with a bit more of Elvis Cole to lighten proceedings (although he is in it a lot more than he was in Pike's previous solo outing) but I disagree that Joe doesn't work as a solo character; there's enough to him to keep him interesting, and for us to continue to discover more about him, while Crais manages to maintain his enigmatic qualities. This is action writing at its best -I read it in one sitting. This is not 'L.A. Requiem', which I believe to be Crais' best book and which was the first one to delve into what made Joe Pike the man he is, but it is an entertaining read that I highly recommend to fans of Crais's other books and also to fans of the action thriller genre more generally -you don't need to have read the previous books to follow the plot, although prior knowledge of the characters will add to your enjoyment.
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VINE VOICEon 25 February 2010
Joe Pike's second outing as key protagonist is competent but uninspiring. Whereas the Elvis Cole novels had a sprinkling of humour to distinguish them in a crowded genre, having Pike centre stage takes that away, and it's an element I miss.
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