Friday, July 5, 2019

Book Review: The Wanted by Robert Crais (Elivs Cole & Joe Pike #17)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Thrilling ride from beginning to end
Cons: Reliance on a few clichés; characters are thin
The Bottom Line:
Saving wayward teens
Who are in over their heads
Fun, thrilling story

Can Elvis Save the Wanted?

Obviously, I’ve decided to go ahead and catch up on the Elvis Cole and Joe Pike series this year.  When I realized how close I was with a new book coming out this summer, I decided to skip my normal audiobook rotation and instead quickly catching up on this series.  Which brings me to The Wanted, the last one I need to be up to date until the new one comes out next month.

Elvis Cole thinks his current assignment will be easy.  Single mother Devin Connor has hired him to find out where the money, clothes, and fancy watch that her teenage son, Tyson, have are coming from.  She thinks that Tyson has started selling drugs, but it isn’t long before Elvis determines that Tyson is part of a trio that is robbing houses in the LA area.  While Devin isn’t happy with the news, she’s preparing to deal with it, and Elvis thinks the assignment is over.

However, that night, Tyson disappears and a frantic Devin asks Elvis to find him.  As Elvis once again begins to hunt for the teen, he discovers that someone else is after the teen and his friends, someone leaving dead bodies in their wake.  Will Elvis be able to find Tyson in time?

If you pay attention to my reading habits, you’ll notice that I don’t tend to binge read authors or series.  Even when I find a series I love that I am behind on, I will space the books out.  Yes, part of that is to savor the books, but part of it is because if I read too many books by an author too close together, I begin to notice some of their tricks and plot devices, which make them less enjoyable to me.  I definitely noticed that here.  Of course, I don’t think added time would have helped with these particular issues since I’ve been aware of them for a long time.  There’s Joe Pike acting like a deus ex machina, something we’d gotten away from over the last few books.  I will say that here it isn’t quite as bad as in some earlier books in the series.  And the plot hinges on some characters doing the stupidest thing possible.

Having said that, I was certainly caught up in the story.  Author Robert Crais knows how to spin a story and weave elements together to give us quite a thrill ride.  We get most of the book from Elvis’s point of view, but a few third person sections from various other characters help increase the tension.

Unfortunately, the characters suffer.  I feel like most of the cast are stock characters with little to truly make them stand out.  Heck, I never could keep the two villains stalking our heroes straight, and a long passage designed to give them some character development didn’t help.  The majority of the characters are developed enough to make us care, but there are a couple that I was rooting against as the book progressed.

As easy as it is to point out the weaknesses, let me be clear – I definitely enjoyed this book.  The plot more than makes up for the weaknesses and kept me glued to my seat as I listened.

Luke Daniels was the narrator once again.  Fortunately, he pulled back from some of the issues I had with his performance in the previous book and did a great job bringing it to life.

I know the upcoming book is going to be a Joe-centric book, but I hope we still get enough information about Elvis in it since this book left me wondering just what was going to happen in his personal life.  Or maybe I’m just reading too much wishful thinking into the last few scenes.

If you are a fan of Elvis Cole and Joe Pike and haven’t yet read The Wanted, you’ll certainly enjoy it.  Read it now, and you can be ready for the next new book when it is fresh off the press.

Be sure to check out the rest of the Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Mysteries.

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