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The Watchman: A Joe Pike Novel
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The Watchman: A Joe Pike Novel [Kindle Edition]

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

Print List Price: CDN$ 12.99
Kindle Price: CDN$ 10.99 includes free international wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Sold by: Simon & Schuster Canada, Inc.
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

As the subtitle suggests, Joe Pike, the intriguing, enigmatic partner of L.A. PI Elvis Cole, takes center stage in this intense thriller from bestseller Crais (The Two Minute Rule). To pay back an old debt, Pike is coerced into protecting Larkin Barkley, a hard-partying young heiress whose life is in danger after a "wrong place wrong time" encounter that quickly escalates and spins out of control. The enemy is shadowy, violent and relentless—but the fierce, focused Pike, one of the strongest characters in modern crime fiction, is equal to the challenge. The breathless pace and rich styling are sure to appeal to readers of hard-boiled fiction in general, but since up to now Pike has mostly remained in the background, some fans of the Elvis Cole series (The Forgotten Man, etc.) may find the explicit picture that emerges of Pike at odds with the image they've constructed for themselves. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Larkin Barkley, a troubled L.A. woman from a wealthy family, finds herself under the protection of federal agents after emerging uninjured from a serious car accident. Something she saw warrants her death. The bad guys came close to success, probably with an assist from someone charged with her safety. Joe Pike, a former marine, LAPD officer, and mercenary, is hired to protect her on the word of his former police partner. Pike and the girl go underground after another attempt on her life leaves three would-be assassins dead. Pike then enlists his partner, private investigator Elvis Cole, to do the digging while he does the shooting. Cole targets a drug cartel's money-laundering network as the source of the death squads and identifies Barkley's father as the possible link. As the plot careens forward with nail-biting suspense, the similarities between Pike and Barkley become heartbreakingly clear. What could a taciturn killing machine have in common with a spike-haired, tattoo-on-her-ass valley girl? Every adult is a product of childhood, and Pike recognizes in his charge the same chronic emotional pain fueling his own lonely life. Saving her physical being is tough, but not as tough as saving her life. Fans of the Elvis Cole series have long wished for an installment focusing on sidekick Pike, and their wish is more than granted with this stunningly emotional thriller. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2879 KB
  • Print Length: 452 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1451648960
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (Feb. 27 2007)
  • Sold by: Simon & Schuster Canada, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000NY11VU
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #25,573 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joe Pike takes center stage . . . Feb. 28 2007
My copy of "The Watchman" arrived yesterday and I just turned the last page, sad to see it end-- I rarely finish a book that fast! Joe Pike takes center stage in this hard-boiled crime thriller. The enigmatic Pike has been a background character in the popular Crais, Elvis Cole series. Joe is somewhat forced into being a protector for a wealthy hot young heiress, who is also a big party girl (think Paris Hilton if she had a bit more brains and style). The Heiress, Larkin Barkely, is in mortal danger through a strange set of circumstances that are really no fault of her own. I don't won't spoil anything, but the villain here is as intense as any I have encountered in recent modern fiction, and he will stop at nothing to get his desired results. Pike, of course, will have something to say about the outcome. As always Crais's pacing and stylings are top notch and the author deserves his perch at the top of the thriller genre!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story! Aug. 4 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Thrilling hard boiled mystery writing at its finest. Nothing is ever quite what it seems to be. Great to see flashbacks of what Joe was like as a boot on the LAPD.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Joe Pike Reluctantly Takes Charge March 28 2007
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
No Elvis Cole fan who has ever enjoyed a scene of Joe Pike not smiling and not laughing will want to miss this book.

To note that Joe Pike is the strong, silent type is to be redundant for those who have been reading Robert Crais's writing about Elvin Cole and Joe Pike. How do you take someone who rarely says more than three words at a time and build a novel around him? It's quite a challenge and Robert Crais almost makes it work perfectly.

If you are new to Joe Pike, Mr. Crais does a nice job of including a little back story so this book is a standalone opportunity for you to enjoy a fine action thriller.

At first blush, Larkin Barkley and Joe Pike couldn't be more different. She's rich, spoiled, willful, attention-seeking, and impulsive. He's a man of modest means, self-reliant, self-disciplined, attention-avoiding, and carefully calculating. But as you'll learn in the story, they share demons, perspectives, and instincts to protect others.

The book opens in brilliant fashion in a hail of bullets as Joe Pike finds himself under attack soon after moving into a new "safe" house where he's taken Larkin Barkley. Who's spilling the beans? Joe decides to slip the leashes that have been placed on him, and pretty soon he's hunting prey rather than being hunted.

Then we back up and find out how a billionaire's daughter finds herself the target of pistol-packing thugs. The young Ms. Barkley likes to race her high performance sports car at high speed down the empty L.A. streets in the middle of the night. This night, however, someone else is out and about, and she crashes into them. The two people in front are dazed, but appear to have no serious injuries. Their passenger bolts and runs down the street. The couple takes off also.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Watchman July 4 2013
By Barb
Format:Kindle Edition
The Watchman was a good read. As the story started, I was prepared for the cookie cutter story of a previous military guy protecting some hot young thing. This book was much more than that. Along with a great mystery, the character interaction and their acceptance of the vast difference between them was well done.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  344 reviews
78 of 83 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Everything's Zen March 10 2007
By Gary Griffiths - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In Joe Pike, "the world's greatest detective's" enigmatic and stoically violent sidekick of the "Elvis Cole" novels, the talented Robert Crais has created one of most intriguing characters in contemporary popular fiction. But with the wisecracking Cole still mostly sidelined from injuries suffered in "The Forgotten Man", Pike takes center stage in this well plotted, fast moving crime drama.

With his red-arrowed deltoids "going forward, never back", Pike, to repay an old debt, reluctantly takes on the task of protecting Larkin Barkley, a spoiled LA society brat drawn with shades of Paris Hilton, right down to the rat-dog-in-the-purse detail. Returning home from late night revelry, Barkley t-bones a Mercedes full of the wrong people, and in a convoluted twist, ends up as a witness under protection. But when it becomes clear that the folks who'd prefer that Barkley not testify are deadly serious, Joe Pike gets the job of keeping the pouting debutant safe and sound.

As always, Crais' prose is witty and fast moving. Joe Pike, who is about as chatty as Mount Rushmore, is cleverly contrasted against Larkin's tantrums. And Elvis Cole, while taking care not to swing the spotlight too far away from Pike's solo debut, throws around enough of his patented one-liners to keep his hardcore base smiling. But if the bond that builds gradually between Joe and Barkley stretches the bounds of credibility just a bit, this is, after all, fiction, and besides, Crais does a masterful job of building the sexual tension and creating - perish the thought - the hint of a soft side to Pike's impenetrable persona.

While perhaps lacking the edge and grit of today's "garage writers of grime" - guys like Charlie Huston, Duane Swierczynski, Charlie Stella, or Victor Gischler - Crais' polished pages capture LA's sleaze and majesty, designed for appeal to broad audiences. All in all, a slick and well-rendered effort from one of today's best writers of mainstream fiction - top entertainment that is well worth the time and the 15-buck hardcover.
87 of 106 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Man of Action Feb. 27 2007
By Mel Odom - Published on
Joe Pike is the epitome of crime tough guys. Nobody does it better. He was a special forces soldier before he became an LAPD cop. He took the fall on charges that shouldn't have been dropped on him and was busted out of the LAPD. He became a mercenary and a some-time private eye that paired up with the World's Greatest Detective, Elvis Cole.

He has red arrows pointing forward tattooed on his deltoids because Joe Pike does not back up.

This is the guy I've been waiting years to read about. Author Robert Crais introduced one of the funniest and emotionally complex private detectives to come along in years in Elvis Cole, but he also crafted one of the hardest heroes to see print in decades. Joe Pike is the king of cool, the master of the understatement, and a man haunted by personal demons he'll never talk about.

Hired by a friend of a friend, Joe agrees to bodyguard Larkin Barkley, a young woman who's the daughter of a multi-millionaire businessman. Larkin has a self-destructive tendency that only Joe seems to understand. Unfortunately, some of the same things she's in denial about are the same things that plague Joe. As the two fight to stay alive, and fight with each other, they come to realize that the only way they're going to get through the situation alive is to rely on and trust each other. Both of them have issues with that.

Larkin is a witness in a brutal slaying. The murderer is believed to be a brutal head of a drug cartel who will stop at nothing to kill Larkin.

The book starts off with a bang, with bullets ripping through the air and Pike's truck from the first pages to the close of the book. The novel grabs the reader by the throat and literally demands the reader's full attention. The assault on the reader's senses is relentless.

Crais is an elaborate plotter, but it all makes sense when he shakes out the final twist. But the best thing of all is getting to ride shotgun with Joe Pike while he deals with enemy guns and the hostile past he has that keeps getting in the way while he's protecting Larkin.

The dialogue, the descriptions, and the pacing are so well choreographed that you can see the movie spinning in your head. I liked the cameos that Elvis Cole had in this novel, but I'm glad Joe got to keep center stage. I really didn't think the novel would work that well because sometimes if a writer shines a light too brightly on an enigmatic hero that everything that existed is turned into a cheap trick.

But Joe Pike is for real. He's an unstoppable force and an avenging angel all rolled into one. The publishers mention that this is a JOE PIKE NOVEL right on the cover. Hopefully there will be future installments. If so, they'd be most welcome.
34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grows on you as it builds up Feb. 28 2007
By Peter G. Keen - Published on
Around page 100, I would have rated this just 3-4 stars. It ends up as a firm 5 by the end. There seem to me to be two distinct strands in thriller writing -- character builders and plot artists. Crais is more of a plotter than a character guy; I never quite get inside his two heroes, Pike and Cole -- they seem just a little artificial. But he is superb in plotting. What begins as a routine story line weaves, turns, double backs and grabs you to the last pages. He is a good stylist -- deft, brief and precise. He is also superb in his portrayals of violence and cruelty; you get a sense here of Pike's dissociation and his own detachment. The heroine -- Paris Hilton but without the intellect -- does not come alive for me; again, too artificial. The villains are shadows not realities. But, this is a minor point. The book works superbly. I loved it.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great action novel about today's anti-hero. June 16 2007
By S. A. Torphy - Published on
This was the first Elvis Cole "series" I have read and I am hooked. Now starting with Monkey's Raincoat, I look forward to reading all the Cole novels. There seem to be a number of anti-hero sidekicks to todays PI's. Spenser has Hawk, Patrick Kenzie has Bubby for example.

The character Joe Pike most reminds me of is a spitting image of Lee Child's Jack Reacher. Brutal, quiet loners. But for some reason, Pike seems a bit more human, a bit more flawed. I hope Crais writes using him as the lead in future books. If you like hard action novels- this is the book for you. I was excited to find a new series to read. Now if only Dennis Lehane can release a new Kenzie/Gennaro novel.
47 of 60 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just Didn't Do It For Me - April 20 2007
By John R. Linnell - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There are a lot of reviews of this book already posted and they are almost universal in their praise for this book. I was certainly looking forward to it as I have felt that Crais has been getting better with every book and to have a story which features the enigmatic Joe Pike looked to be very interesting.

My feeling about the book are best explained by recaling the comic strip Peanuts and the time when Snoopy was going to return to The Daisy Hill Puppy Farm for a reunion with all of the puppies he knew when he was little. He went dancing off to the reunion and several days later he returned, threw his pack into the dog house and went to lie on the ridgepole. Charlie Brown comes running up and says "Well? How was it?"

In the bubble over Snoopy's head he replies, "The anticipation far exceeded the actual event."

And that's how I feel about The Watchman. I now know more about Joe Pike's background than I really need to and he continues to be a stalwart person and a loyal one. The story which has been outlined by others I found to be a bit tedious. Having said that, I realize that this is a very minority opinion and if you are a Robert Crais fan, I would not let my reaction to this book put you off from reading it. Maybe I am just having a bad reading week.

However, I always try to tell it like I see it. In this instance, though I think you should rely more on what others have had to say.
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