Monday, February 20, 2012

Book Review: "The Sentry" by Robert Crais

I love it when a book surprises me, I really do, and it's always terrific when it's a book by an author I'm a fan of. But then again, there is definitely something to be said for writers who deliver consistently great books each time; nothing too different, just the right blend of action and plot, with characters you grow attached to from book to book.

I'm a big fan of Robert Crais' books featuring wisecracking but sensitive PI Elvis Cole, and his partner, former policeman-turned-mercenary-turned-tough guy, Joe Pike. Over the last few years Crais has centered a few of his books around Pike, and although his writing doesn't change, Pike, a man of few words but truly defined values and beliefs, is a powerful presence. In The Sentry, while pumping gas one day, he notices two gang members acting strangely, and winds up stopping them from severely beating a sandwich shop owner. Drawn to the owner's niece, Dru Rayne, he promises to protect them, and tries to intervene when gang members step up their attacks, and Dru and her uncle flee in fear. But Pike quickly discovers that nothing is what it seems, that the number of enemies he should fear is far larger than he realizes, and the only people he can count on are Cole and their associates.

Joe Pike is an interesting character, and I always picture him similar to a less talkative and hammy Dwayne Johnson (The Rock). I love the way Crais has given Pike so much depth and the way he has fleshed out the relationship between him and Elvis Cole. The Sentry has all of the features of Crais' great books—brutal violence, diabolical villains, and fast-paced action. My only criticism of this book is that the main villain's "sidekicks" (I won't say more than that) are really annoying, with a tendency to parrot back a portion of everything he says. Over 400 or so pages, that gets a little wearying. But other than that, this is another Robert Crais book worth picking up.

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