Start reading The First Rule (Joe Pike) on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device


Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Anybody can read Kindle bookseven without a Kindle devicewith the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets, and computers.
The First Rule (Joe Pike)
See larger image

The First Rule (Joe Pike) [Kindle Edition]

Robert Crais
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: CDN$ 10.99 includes free international wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
Sold by: Penguin Group USA
This price was set by the publisher


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition --  
Hardcover CDN $26.80  
Paperback --  
Mass Market Paperback CDN $9.89  
Audio, CD, Abridged, Audiobook, CD CDN $9.99  

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

Product Description


'With slambam action from glamorous Hollywood to the LA ghettos, some surprising twists, and superbly drawn characters this thriller shows Crais is rightly up there with the American crime writing elite, including Michael Connelly and Dennis Lehane.' -- Alex Gordon PETERBOROUGH EVENING TELEGRAPH 'This is heroic fiction with high voltage action scenes as carefully choreographed as anything on the broadway stage. Once again Robert Crais delivers. What can I say? I'm a fan. Read this and you will be too.' CRIMESQUAD 'Crais knows how to keep a plot on the boil, and Pike's many followers will lap up his latest adventure with enthusiasm.' YORKSHIRE EVENING POST

Product Description

When Frank Meyer and his family are executed in their home, the police begin investigating the secret life they're sure Meyer had. Joe Pike's on a hunt of his own: to clear his friend's name, and to punish the people who murdered him. What starts out as a simple trail gets twisted fast by old grudges, double crosses, blood vengeance, and a crime so terrible even Pike and his partner Elvis Cole have no way to measure it.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 485 KB
  • Print Length: 401 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1409118231
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (Jan. 12 2010)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group USA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002XW28BW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #27,648 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Lean, sparse, hyper-tough prose Oct. 5 2012
By R. Widdowson TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
True tough guy writing.

Lean, sparse, hyper-tough prose.

Characters just as sleek and dangerous. Situations that almost make you weep, they are so depraved. But there are a lot of hard-boiled writers that pull the same stuff off almost as well, Lee Child being the Alpha Dog of this type of lit. What makes Crais exceptional is his action hero, Pike - every bit as lethal as Jack Reacher - but Pike manages to remain decent in the midst of the violence. Reacher is a killing machine who never shows any regret for the body count. Pike reflects on things, which I find cool. Reacher is borderline sociopathic. You can watch in awe as he decimates the bad guy, but you never admire him. Pike I can admire. Crais shows what a good creator of character he is by pulling that off. Still, Lee Child lays down some of the best action prose on the planet with Crais not far behind.
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Joe Pike as an Avenger with a Softer Side Feb. 1 2010
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
"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.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Getting to know Joe Pike Jan. 27 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback
One thing I like about the series of Robert Crais novels is that each one has an innocent client that we come to care as deeply about as our protagonist does.

The client Pike adopts as he goes about the business of finding out who killed his old friend, and why is what makes this book so good. This book is much more than a simple detective tale.
Was this review helpful to you?
3.0 out of 5 stars It was Okay, which was disappointing March 14 2010
By L. J. Roberts TOP 100 REVIEWER
First Sentence: Frank Meyer closed his computer as the early winter darkness fell over his home in Westwood, California, not far from the UCLA campus.

Joe Pike receives word that, Frank, one of the members of his former mercenary team has been murdered, along with his entire family and the nanny, in a violent home invasion. The police and FBI want to know what Frank was into.

Pike knows he Frank was clean but, along with the other members of the former team and his friend, PI Elvis Cole, are dedicated to find the killers and elicit their own form of justice. This becomes particularly true when Pike realizes Frank wasn't the target, but only collateral damage.

In general, I am a big fan of Robert Crais and the Elvis Cole/Joe Pike series. I liked 'The Watchman' which gave us more information about Pike's past. But I don't think Pike works as a lead protagonist.

Pike works as Cole's backup, sometimes known as the 'psychopathic sidekick,' because he is an enigma. He doesn't do friendship, in the classic sense of the word but, by heaven, he does loyalty and he has a code by which he leads his life; and that makes him work as a character.

I appreciate Crais wanting to stretch the character of Pike, but it just didn't quite work because of problems with the story and the writing. First, if Pike has said 'Sh.' one more time, I'd have taken out whatever virtual weapon'I am so NOT a gun person'and shot him. Second, Pike formed a relationship with a baby that, even allowing for the metaphysical, stretched credulity beyond the point of belief. But third, and most important, Pike broke his own rules. The situation did not call for it and it didn't make sense.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  229 reviews
110 of 120 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast Moving, Decent Plot, Quick Read Nov. 29 2009
By Burgmicester - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Robert Crais has created one of the genre's favorite character sets: Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. The first several books focused on Elvis, but with "The First Rule", Crais has now published his second "Joe Pike" novel. The action is constant, the pace is quick, and the plot is good. Crais has selected the Serbian Organized Crime mobs to set this story. One of Pike's long time friends and family are murdered like animals and Joe Pike takes this personally. From there you can guess how the pace and action rip ahead.

Elvis Cole is called on to help as are a couple of other characters that Crais has used in the past. But this is mostly a Joe Pike story. While there are some twists and turns, the plot moves along towards a somewhat believable conclusion. We learn a little about the Serbian mob and how they are accumulating wealth in America, but there is little depth to this novel.

In this book, Crais has taken out any of the filler. There are no underlying themes, no further character development on any of our favorites, and no attempt at humor - a Crais trademark for the Elvis Cole stories. I vacillated between a three star or four star rating for this book, but moved it to four stars because I enjoyed the book - as quick a read as it was. At 305 pages, it is good for a couple of hours on a plane or to while away the afternoon. I am a little disappointed in Crais as the last several books have been very average without his trademark snide humor and camaraderie between characters. This book could have been Joe Smith and Elvis Jones instead of Pike and Cole. There is very little that ties them together in this story. It is difficult to rate this book without matching my expectations to the story that is delivered. I expected more and wanted more, but the story delivered is good, just not what I wanted.
80 of 98 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Would be good for most, but subpar for Crais Nov. 28 2009
By Tung Yin - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Robert Crais is one of those authors whose new books -- especially in the Elvis Cole series -- send me rushing to the bookstore or to Amazon. There's nothing necessarily unique about Crais' storytelling or his protagonists; just skilled writing, tight plotting, and a corny but endearing private detective (Cole) who answers his phone "the world's greatest detective."

Cole is a character in "The First Rule," but a rather minor character. The main focus is on Cole's sidekick, the taciturn but lethal Joe Pike. Pike is basically superhuman -- he doesn't seem to need much sleep, he's lethally accurate with guns or his body, he doesn't talk much, and he's always there to help Cole out. In small doses, he's an effective character. But he's hard-pressed to carry a book as the main character.

To be clear, this is not the first time that Crais has used Pike as the lead -- see also "L.A. Requiem." Like that book, this one is a story of revenge. An apparent home invasion gone wrong leaves Pike's former mercenary colleague Frank Meyer and his family dead (appallingly brutal, but nice to see Crais actually have the guts to write a nasty scene rather than be safe and saccharine by having the family members somehow get away), and Pike is out to take care of the killers. Along the way, Pike has to dodge the police (one officer says to Pike that it's a wonder someone who's killed as many people as he -- Pike -- has remains free), the federal Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms department, and an emotionally hardened Serbian prostitute and her protector. As might be expected, much mayhem results.

Because Pike is so powerful, there actually isn't much tension in this book. It's like Steven Seagal in the movies; invincibility can be boring. What's worse is that Pike is so uninteresting as a character. He has no wants, no weaknesses, no connections other than to his former "crew" and to Cole, so what we're left with is a methodical tracking of the killers, interrupted occasionally by cliches like the deadly man who would hospitalize anyone who took his sunglasses off, but lets a 10 month old baby play with them.
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Joe Pike becomes Jack Reacher Feb. 3 2010
By Ms Terry - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've loved Joe Pike from the moment we first met him. His deep flaws make him intensely interesting...but.... in this latest outing he seems to have become less realistically human and more auto-hero. Pike is Cole's foil and was strong enough to carry a book only when we deep dove into his miserable and formative childhood. Without sufficient use of Cole's wryness as a complement, Pike morphs into Jack Reacher. A great shame. Crais is one of the better writers in a sea of formula - driven dreck. Come back Elvis - and bring Joe with you as Tonto - he's just not complex enough to be the masked man, I fear.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Immensely satisfying thriller Dec 14 2009
By Jody - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
The First Rule begins a few minutes before a brutal and bloody home invasion in which an entire family is killed. Crais gives such complete characterizations in just a few lines, we are stunned by the violence and understand private detective Joe Pike's grief and outrage when he finds out one of the victims used to work for him as a mercenary. Pike promises he will find the perpetrators and make sure they are punished. The remainder of the book follows Pike as he skirts the law, outwits the police, confronts some really bad guys and makes good on his promise. The story twists and turns as Pike finds out the truth behind the tragedy.

Crais' tight plot and stark words make The First Rule thrilling in every sense of the word. Spot on characters, vivid imagery and non-stop action make this one a real page-turner whether Pike is smashing a gangster's plasma TV to extort information, or lulling a baby to sleep. Laconic, principled and disciplined, Pike is a strong hero and balances the more flamboyant Cole. Somehow I've completely missed Robert Crais' Elvis Cole books up to now, but I'll be remedying that as soon as possible.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Entertaining, Fast-Paced Crime Thriller! Dec 6 2009
By Bobbewig - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
This is only the second book by Robert Crais that I've read and the first in his series featuring Elvis Cole and/or his partner Joe Pike. As such, unlike some reviewers who feel that The First Rule is a bit of a disappointment relative to some of the other books in the series, my first experience with this series is a very satisfying one. Overall, I found the plot (which involves members of organized criminal gangs of the former Soviet Union) moves along at a very brisk pace and is filled with action, the characters are believable and multi-dimensional, and Crais's writing style is crisp, direct and engaging. I'll soon find out if I'll feel that The First Rule is not as good as some of the other books in the series, as I definitely plan to get on the Crais bandwagon.
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Popular Highlights

 (What's this?)
Access the situation, plan a single action, then commit yourself to that action. A war is won one maneuver at a time. &quote;
Highlighted by 58 Kindle users
One of the first rules of combat was that all battle plans change, and the winner was usually the guy who forced the changes. &quote;
Highlighted by 25 Kindle users
Darko works for a man named Milos Jakovich. Also known as Mickey Jack and Jack Mills. &quote;
Highlighted by 14 Kindle users

Look for similar items by category