Publication Date: January 24, 2012
In Taken by Robert Crais, the police tell a woman that her daughter has been kidnapped, she assumes that the girl ran away to elope with the boyfriend that her mother loves to hate. She sees an article about “The World’s Greatest Detective” and hires Elvis to find her daughter and stop her from making a mistake that will ruin her life. Elvis has a suspicion that the kidnapping is no fake and calls Joe to help him find the girl and her boyfriend … the pair of whom have been caught up in a plot where people are stolen from those paid to bring them to the U.S. and held for ransom. The boy has influential ties and thankfully the kidnappers have yet to realize those ties. When Elvis goes undercover, he is kidnapped as well, and it’s up to Joe Pike to find him before it’s too late.
I don’t want to start my review future by lying to you, so I’m gonna lay it out … there are certain authors that you should expect me to fangirl in a sense previously unfangirled. I once had someone respond to a review on another site saying my review of a J.A. Konrath book, “You must be the mother of his child.” Robert Crais falls into that extreme fangirl category. There are books I’ve liked less by this author, but none that I hadn’t liked at all. This one, I loved.[easyazon-link asin=”0399158278″ locale=”us”]Taken[/easyazon-link] is a story of the danger of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but having the right people on your side. Elvis, the World’s Greatest Detective, is called in to find a girl who we already know has been kidnapped with her boyfriend. Elvis brings in Joe who, in turn, brings in his enchanting professional friend and new beautiful whack job, Jon Stone.
Jon Stone is a mix of the good and the bad we see in Elvis and Joe. I have heard through the grapevine of someone who asked Crais at a signing if he’d consider doing a Stone book and he has said that he has an idea. We can only hope that idea blossoms into something that I read. From the moment we meet Jon Stone standing in front of his pool, fully nude and yelling to the town, “KISS MY ASS!” We know that there’s a story bubbling under the surface that we only get tiny tastes of in this novel.
We’re accustomed to having Crais present us with Elvis novels or Joe novels, but this is the ultimate in Crais pleasures — both. Not only do we get the ultimate Elvis and Joe novel but Crais plays with the timeline in the story in a way that, oddly, doesn’t detract from the narrative. We see Joe at his eerie best as he fights the clock to save his friendand we once again have a sense of the stronger-than-brothers type bond the two share.
I don’t know if there’s anything at all to nitpick in this book but in trying to think of something, I think the final chapters were maybe a bit easy, but then this is Joe Pike, Jon Stone and Elvis Cole we’re talking about. This is a more gritty and remote story than we’re used to reading from this author, but it works, and it works well.
We do miss some of the usual suspects. Carol Starkey is in this book, but only briefly and Jon Chen was simply not needed at all. This was an out of the element book for Elvis and Joe, all along that pulled up all over the dusty parts of California you don’t see on glossy reality shows. To replace these old standbys, we had some really bright peripheral characters…some of them the baddies and some not. Whatever shortcomings this book had, I didn’t see them.
If you have not read Crais, I suggest starting at the beginning of this 15-book series with [easyazon-link asin=”0553275852″ locale=”us”]The Monkey’s Raincoat[/easyazon-link]. If you want a taste of how awesome the characters are, this is the perfect book with the perfect balance. May Robert Crais write many more. Fangirl out.