"And it happened, when they had come to Bethlehem, that all the city was excited because of them;" -- Ruth 1:19 (NKJV)
Let me start with the overview. Taken is a real page turner. It's only weaknesses come in needing more editing. If Mr. Crais had another 60 days of preparation time spent on making the plot easier to follow, this probably would have been his best book. As it is, Taken is a fun read and I recommend it to you.
In Taken, Mr. Crais tried something a little different. Rather than simply tell the story from beginning to end chronologically, he tells the story out of chronological sequence. You must pay attention to what day is what to follow the story and enjoy it. In the process, you'll run into characters whose first appearance will leave you scratching your head in puzzlement and find definitions and explanations repeated in unnecessary fashion.
It looks like the editors didn't have enough time to work it all out with Mr. Crais, and the acknowledgments suggest there was a problem. "The author apologizes for jamming their [the Putnam production team] time line, and thanks them for their herculean efforts on his behalf, most notably Meredith Dros. Copyediting is an often thankless task done under difficult circumstances. Patricia Crais worked with a constantly changing manuscript, requiring her to revisit and review her own work for far too many last-minute, sleepless nights. Thank you."
In past novels, I've marveled out how Mr. Crais can take as laconic a character as Joe Pike and create a story out of him as a protagonist. The design here is to have multiple narrators and to include talkative people in the sections where Pike is the narrator. It works out well as a storytelling method. I hope Mr. Crais will use it again in novels where Pike plays a large role.
So, what's it all about? Elvis Cole is hired by a concerned mother after her college senior daughter disappears with her boyfriend and the mother begins receiving telephone calls from her daughter asking for a few hundred dollars. It's not exactly the kind of case that Elvis seeks out . . . but he's all in favor of smoothing out a mother's nerves. The trouble is . . . as you will learn in the first few pages . . . there's a dangerous situation, one that a mother could not anticipate. As the story unrolls its plot, you'll learn a lot about illegal immigration that will probably leave you feeling strong empathy for those who are at risk in the story. The story maintains a high level of tension, aided by lots of cliffhangers, that will keep you rapidly paging through the book.
Keep an eye out for danger in all your surroundings!