Publisher, Date:
New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, [2019]
339 pages ; 24 cm.
"A brilliant new crime novel from the beloved, bestselling, and award-winning master of the genre--and Joe Pike's most perilous case to date. Joe Pike didn't expect to rescue a woman that day. He went to the bank same as anyone goes to the bank, and returned to his Jeep. So when Isabel Roland, the lonely young teller who helped him, steps out of the bank on her way to lunch, Joe is on hand when two men abduct her. Joe chases them down, and the two men are arrested. But instead of putting the drama to bed, the arrests are only the beginning of the trouble for Joe and Izzy. After posting bail, the two abductors are murdered and Izzy disappears. Pike calls on his friend, Elvis Cole, to help learn the truth. What Elvis uncovers is a twisted family story that involves corporate whistleblowing, huge amounts of cash, the Witness Relocation Program, and a long line of lies. But what of all that did Izzy know? Is she a perpetrator or a victim? And how far will Joe go to find out?"-- Provided by publisher.
9780525535683 (hardback)
System Availability:
Current Holds:
Control Number:
Call Number:
M Cra
Course Reserves:
# System items in:
Author Notes
Robert Crais was born in 1953 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Before becoming a writer, he was a mechanical engineer. In 1976, he began writing scripts for television series including Miami Vice, Cagney and Lacey, and Hill Street Blues. He is the author of the Elvis Cole series and the Joe Pike series. The Monkey's Raincoat won the Anthony and Macavity Awards in 1988. In 2005, his novel Hostage was adapted into a movie starring Bruce Willis. He is the 2006 recipient of the Ross Macdonald Literary Award. In 2017 his title, The First Rule, made the IBook Best Seller List. <p> (Bowker Author Biography)
First Chapter or Excerpt
Her Family   Debra Sue closed her eyes and listened with all her might. The TV was off, their modest living room was dark, and Ed was sprawled on the couch. Her husband was dead to the world, but his snores were soft as a whisper. When they bought the little house a block from Sunset Boulevard, Ed worried traffic sounds would be intrusive, but they weren't, not really. Debra Sue had grown used to the noise quickly, and found the sounds soothing. She touched her husband's shoulder.   "Let's go to bed, baby. Get up."   Ed lurched awake, eyes wide and blinking.   "What happened?"   "Bedtime. Everything's fine."   Ed's eyes flagged, and he was halfway back to sleep.   "Scared me. Sorry."   "It's late. I'll be right in."   Ed swung his legs off the couch and lumbered into the hall. She heard him use the bathroom and settle into bed, but Debra Sue didn't move to join him.   She whispered his name.   "Ed."   She said her own name.   "Debra Sue."   She said their daughter's name.   "Isabel."   Debra Sue smiled.   "My family."   Debra Sue finally rose from the chair and moved through their quiet home. She made sure the front and back doors were locked, carefully checked the windows, and turned off the lights in each room. She set the alarm.   The warm night air was rich with the scent of night-blooming jasmine and orange blossoms, along with a trace of fresh paint. They had painted their little home with cheery colors after escrow closed-a bright lemony peach with a pale lime and burgundy trim-and joked that they'd given the place a new-car smell. Ed planted two orange trees in the backyard, but the jasmine had been there, and Debra Sue loved it. The jasmine was a sign. Their little house would be a happy and beautiful home.   Debra Sue turned on the outside lights, and made her way down the hall. She stopped outside Isabel's room when she heard her baby girl singing. Debra Sue stifled a giggle.   Isabel cracked her up.   Isabel was three years old. She was their only child, though Debra Sue and Ed talked about having another, and an absolute sweetheart. She was sweet, good-natured, and almost always happy.   Debra Sue moved closer, and listened.   La-la-la-LA-la-la.   Debra Sue fought not to laugh. Isabel was lying in her crib, waving her arms in the air, and singing to herself.   La-LA-la-LA.   Debra Sue didn't go in. She didn't want to disturb her daughter, and have to bring Isabel into bed with her and Ed. Right now, undisturbed, Isabel was in a wonderful, beautiful dreamland, imagining whatever fanciful stories happy three-year-old girls imagined.   Debra Sue loved Isabel so much her eyes filled with tears.   "Every day, baby girl. Every day of your life will be as happy as this. Daddy and I will make sure it is."   Debra Sue eased past Isabel's door, and crept to her bedroom. Ed was out cold, and no longer snoring. She brushed her teeth, flossed, and washed her face in the dark, then sat on the edge of their bed.   Debra Sue listened, and heard only the soft, baby-girl melody.   La-la-LA-LA. La-la-LA-LA.   But now Debra Sue didn't smile. She eased open her nightstand drawer and studied the black 9mm Sig Sauer pistol. Ed's nightstand contained an identical pistol. They had bought the guns, and learned to shoot. They practiced.   Debra Sue shut the drawer, and lay down beside her husband. She touched his hand. She sighed like a ghost in the darkness.   "Mommy and Daddy will keep you safe."   Debra Sue listened for something she prayed never to hear, and finally fell asleep.   Part One   "We know your secret."   1.   Isabel Roland   Three tellers were working the morning Isabel Roland was kidnapped. Clark Davos, a sweet guy whose third baby had just been born; Dana Chin, who was funny and wore fabulous shoes; and Isabel, the youngest teller on duty. Isabel began working at the bank a little over a year ago, three months before her mother died. Five customers were in line, but more customers entered the bank every few seconds.   Mr. Ahbuti wanted bills in exchange for sixteen rolls of nickels, twelve rolls of dimes, and a bag filled with quarters. As Isabel ran coins through a counter, her cell phone buzzed with a text from her gardener. Sprinkler problems. Isabel felt sick. The little house she inherited from her mother was driving her crazy. The sprinklers, a leaky roof over the porch, roots in the pipes because of a stupid pepper tree, the ancient range that made scary popping noises every time she turned on the left front burner. Always a new problem, and problems cost money. Isabel had grown up in the house, and loved the old place, but her modest salary wasn't enough to keep it.   Isabel closed her eyes.   Why did you have to die?   Abigail George touched her arm, startling her. Abigail was the assistant branch manager.   "I need you to take an early lunch. Break at eleven, okay?"   Isabel had punched in at nine. It was now only ten forty-one, and Izzy had eaten an Egg McMuffin and hash browns on her way into work. She felt like a bloated whale.   "But it's almost eleven now. I just ate."   Abigail smiled at Mr. Ahbuti, and lowered her voice.   "Clark has to leave early. The baby again."   They both glanced at Clark. His baby had come early, and his wife wasn't doing so well.   Abigail shrugged apologetically.   "I'm sorry. Eleven, okay? Please?"   Abigail squeezed her arm, and hurried away.   Isabel gave Mr. Ahbuti his cash, and called for the next customer when Dana hissed from the adjoining station.   "Iz."   Dana tipped her head toward the door and mouthed the words.   "It's him."   Ms. Kleinman reached Izzy's window as the man joined the line. He was tall and dark, with ropey arms, a strong neck, and lean cheeks. Every time he came in, Dana went into heat.   "Iz."   Dana finished with her customer, and whispered again.   "Studburger."   "Stop."   "Double meat. Extra sauce."   "Shh!"   Ms. Kleinman made a one-hundred-dollar cash withdrawal. As Izzy processed the transaction, she snuck glances at the man. Gray sweatshirt with the sleeves cut off, faded jeans tight on his thighs, and dark glasses masking his eyes. Isabel stared at the bright red arrows tattooed high on his arms. She wanted to touch them.   Dana whispered.   "Manmeat on a stick."   Isabel counted out twenties.   As Ms. Kleinman walked away, Dana whispered again.   "Finger lickin' good."   Izzy cut her off by calling the next customer.   "Next, please."   The man was now third in line. Dana called for a customer, and the man was now second. Clark called, and the man was hers.   "Iz."   Dana.   "Ask him out."   "Sh!"   "You know you want to. Do it!"   Izzy said, "Next, please."   Dana hissed, "Do it!"   When he reached her window, Izzy smiled brightly.   "Good morning. How may I help you?"   He laid out three checks and a deposit slip. Two of the checks were made payable to Joe Pike, and the third to cash. They totaled a considerable amount.   Joe Pike said, "For deposit."   "You're Mr. Pike?"   She knew his name, and he probably knew she knew. He came in every three or four weeks.   "I've helped you before."   He nodded, but offered no other response. He didn't seem friendly or unfriendly. He didn't seem interested or uninterested. She couldn't read his expression.   Isabel fed the checks through a scanner. She wanted to say something clever, but felt stupid and awkward.   "And how's your day so far?"   "Good."   "It's such a pretty day, and here I am stuck in the bank."   Pike nodded.   "You're so tan, I'll bet you're outside a lot."   "Some."   Nods and one-word answers. He clearly wasn't interested. Isabel entered the transaction into her terminal, and gave him the deposit receipt.   The man said, "Thank you."   He walked away, and Isabel felt embarrassed, as if his lack of interest proved she was worthless.   "Iz!"   Dana leered across the divider.   "I saw you talking!"   "He thanked me. Saying thanks isn't talking."   "He never talks. He thinks you're hot."   "He didn't even see me."   "Shut up! He wants you!"   If only.   Isabel wondered if she could scrape together two hundred dollars for a new garden timer.   She glanced at her watch. Ten fifty-two. Eight minutes from a lunch she didn't want, and an event that would change her life.   2.   Karbo and Bender   Karbo and Bender missed her at home by ten minutes. Materials found inside gave them her place of employment, so now they waited at a meter six blocks from a bank near the Miracle Mile.   Karbo slumped in the passenger seat, sipping a cafZ mocha.   "Ever kidnap anyone?"   Bender glanced away. Bender was the driver. Karbo was the smile. They had worked for Hicks before, but never together. Karbo and Bender met for the first time at four that morning outside a strip mall in Burbank. They would part in approximately two hours, and never meet again.   Karbo said, "Sorry. My mistake."   No questions allowed. They knew what they were supposed to do, how they were supposed to do it, and what was expected. Hicks prepped his people.   Bender gestured behind them.   "Here he comes."   Karbo lowered his window.   Hicks was a hard, pale dude in his forties. Nice-looking, not a giant, but broader than average. Nonthreatening, if you didn't look close. A nasty edge lurked in his eyes, but he hid it well. Karbo and Bender were nice-looking, nonthreatening guys, too. Especially Karbo.   Hicks had come from the bank.   "She's a teller. Figure on making the grab at lunch."   Bender arched his eyebrows.   "Why lunch?"   "People eat lunch. Employees park in back, but with all these little cafZs, no way she'll drive. She'll probably exit the front, and give you a shot. You get the shot, take it."   Bender's eyebrows kissed in a frown.   "Wouldn't it make sense to wait at her house, grab her when she gets home?"   Hicks glanced left and right, relaxed, just looking around.   "Time is an issue. You want out, say so, and I'll get someone else."   Karbo changed the subject. He didn't want out. He wanted the money.   "I have a question. What if she goes out the back?"   "If she exits the rear, you're out of the play. If she isn't alone, say she comes out with a friend, you're out of the play. Maybe she won't even come out. Maybe she brought a sandwich. No way to know, right? You have one job, and only the one."   Karbo said, "The front."   People would be watching the rear, for sure, but this was how Hicks operated. Compartmentalization. Minimum information. If an element got popped, they had nothing to give. Karbo admired the tough, precise way Hicks did business.   Hicks rested his hand on the door.   "Picture."   Hicks had given them a five-by-seven photograph of a twenty-two-year-old woman. Having changed the play, he didn't want the picture in their possession. The picture was evidence.   Bender returned the picture, and Hicks offered a final look.   "Burn her face into your brains. We can't have a mistake."   A high school photo printed off the internet showed a young woman with short dark hair, glasses, and a smile with a crooked incisor.   Karbo said, "Burned."   Bender cleared his throat. Karbo sensed the man thought they were moving too fast, but the money was huge, and their involvement would end in minutes.   Bender said, "What's she wearing?"   "Pink shirt. Kinda dull, not bright. A pink shirt over a tan skirt. I couldn't see her shoes."   Hicks tucked the picture into his jacket.   "She'll be easy to spot, but if anything looks weird, drive away. Anyone with her, drive away. Am I clear?"   Karbo and Bender nodded.   "Clear."   "Go."   Hicks walked away and Bender eased from the curb.   Their ride was a dark gray Buick SUV owned by a leasing company in La Verne, California. Late model, low miles, the full option package. They had picked up the Buick at 4:22 that morning, specifically for use in the crime. After they delivered the girl, they would hand off the Buick, pick up their cars and money, and go their separate ways.   Karbo thought Bender was having second thoughts, but Bender surprised him.   "Beautiful day, isn't it? Lovely, lovely day."   Karbo studied the man for a moment.   "Yeah."   "Gorgeous. A perfect day."   Bender hadn't said ten words all morning, even when they were searching the woman's house. Karbo figured he was nervous.   "I know we're not supposed to ask, but you've worked gigs before?"   Bender tapped the blinker and changed lanes.   "Three or four."   "This will be easy. Hicks's gigs are always easy."   "Snatching a person in front of a bank in broad daylight can't make the top of the Easy list."   "You didn't have to say yes. You should've backed out."   "Right."   "I don't want to work with someone I can't trust."   "I'm concerned, is all. He's making this up on the fly."   "A lot of these gigs, this is what happens."   "You're not concerned? You don't see the risk here?"   Karbo saw the risk. He also saw the reward.   "Look at this face."   Karbo grinned and fingered his dimples.   "I'll have her in the car in ten seconds tops. No big scene, I promise. Five minutes later, she's out of our lives. What could be easier?"   "You may be a moron."   Karbo shrugged.   "True, but you get to stay in the car. I'm the guy who gets out."   Bender finally nodded.   "You're right. And if anything looks weird, we drive away."   "Damned right we do. Fast."   Bender seemed to relax, and found a spot at a meter with an eyes-forward view of the bank.   Karbo liked the location. A commercial street lined with single-story storefronts two blocks south of Olympic. A straight shot to the freeway if needed. The girl would turn toward or away from them when she left the bank, and either was fine. A lot of people were out and about, but this shouldn't matter if Karbo did his job quickly and well.   Karbo said, "You were right."   "About?"   "The day. It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood."   "You're a moron. A perfect day doesn't make this any less risky."   They watched the bank. They didn't pay attention to the people who went into the bank, or the men who came out. They watched for a twenty-two-year-old woman wearing a pink shirt over a tan skirt.   They paid no attention to the man wearing a sleeveless gray sweatshirt. They did not see the red arrows tattooed high on his arms, and barely noticed when he entered the bank. They paid even less attention when he emerged a few minutes later.   This was their mistake.   Their perfect day was about to turn bad. Excerpted from A Dangerous Man by Robert Crais All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.
Fiction/Biography Profile
Elvis Cole (Male), Private investigator, Vietnam veteran, Ex-security guard; quotes Jiminy Cricket; his office is decorated in Disney decor; drives a 1966 Corvette; asked by Joe Pike to help find the truth
Joe Pike (Male), Private investigator, Vietnam veteran, Tough, Recluse, Elvis's partner; quiet; brooding; helps woman abducted by to men at a bank; gets more trouble than he bargained for
Private investigators
Women in peril
Mysterious disappearances
Family secrets
Whistle blowing
Witness Protection Program
Los Angeles, California - West (U.S.)
California - West (U.S.)
Time Period
2000s -- 21st century
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Publishers Weekly Review

In MWA Grand Master Crais's outstanding 18th Elvis Cole and Joe Pike novel (after 2017's The Wanted), Elvis, a private detective, and Joe, a very private paramilitary contractor, try to determine why young Los Angeles bank teller Isabel Roland was seized by kidnappers after she left the bank on a lunch break. Only Joe's fortuitous intervention saved her at the time--but another kidnapping attempt succeeds. But who wants Isabel and why? Now Joe and Elvis have to locate Isabel and rescue her from a coterie of extremely proficient hired guns. Crais begins the story with deceptive simplicity but slowly ratchets up both the tension and the action with surgical precision. The scenes in which Joe saves Isabel from her captors and the final shoot-out among a colorful array of hit men, police, and U.S. Marshals stand as high-water marks among Crais's illustrious crime oeuvre. So, who is the dangerous man to which the book's title refers? Who but the stoic Joe Pike, demonstrating yet again why the particular kind of danger he carries is just plain off the charts. This one's sure to hit the bestseller charts. Author tour. Agent: Aaron Priest, Aaron M. Priest Literary. (Aug.)

  Booklist Review

Joe Pike, ex-cop, ex-military, and sometime mercenary, goes to his bank to do a little routine business. The young teller who helps him leaves for lunch a few minutes later. Outside, she's snatched by two men, who toss her into the backseat of a car. Pike sees what's happening and quickly disables the two men and brings in the cops to clean up. Isabel Roland, the teller, assumes she was the potential victim of a sex kidnapping. When the two kidnappers are released on bond and subsequently murdered, it's apparent something else is going on. Isabel disappears. Pike enlists his partner, PI Elvis Cole, to investigate. A retired U.S. marshal, whom Isabel called Uncle Ted, is also dead. He was brutally tortured before death. Cole digs deeper and finds indications that Ted, who was involved in the witness protection program, had relocated Isabel's parents to protect them. Cole isn't the human wrecking ball that Pike is, but he's no slouch as a detective, and the two find Isabel promptly, with Pike dispatching some bad guys along the way. But Isabel's hunters keep coming. Crais is a whip-smart writer. Cole and Pike are carefully drawn, multilayered characters who've grown more complex through the years. This is one of the very best entries in a long-running and still first-rate series.--Wes Lukowsky Copyright 2019 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

If you've always wished Lee Child's Jack Reacher had a little more balance in his lifebut the same formidable talentsyou'll love Joe Pike and the latest book in this long, superb series (The Wanted, 2017, etc.).All Joe wanted to do was go to the bank and make a deposit. He knew Isabel Roland, the young teller, seemed a little interested in him, but he doesn't mix romance and money. Sitting in his car shortly after leaving the bank, though, he notices Isabel walking outside and putting on a pair of sunglasses, and then he sees her talking to a man and disappearing into an SUV with him, "a flash of shock in her eyes." Joe's trainingwhich includes stints in the Marine Corps, the Los Angeles Police Department, and "various private military contractors"makes him sit up and pay attention. He follows along in his own Jeep, and when the SUV stops for a traffic light, Isabel's abductors don't stand a chance. Then, when Isabel is kidnapped again, Joe feels compelled to find her. He enlists Elvis Cole, his longtime friend and private eye, whose laconic style and sharp wit are a helpful counterbalance to Joe's terse style. As they search for answers, more dead bodies pile up, and the men wonder just how innocent this bank teller really is. Told from the alternating perspectives of Joe, Elvis, and various criminals, the story becomes multilayered while the tension builds. Crais never loses control of his clean, clear prose or his ability to sketch fully fleshed characters in a few scenes, with Joe providing the action and Elvis providing the insight.A taut, exceptional thriller. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
A brilliant new crime novel from the beloved, bestselling, and award-winning master of the genre--and Joe Pike's most perilous case to date. <br> <br> Joe Pike didn't expect to rescue a woman that day. He went to the bank same as anyone goes to the bank, and returned to his Jeep. So when Isabel Roland, the lonely young teller who helped him, steps out of the bank on her way to lunch, Joe is on hand when two men abduct her. Joe chases them down, and the two men are arrested. But instead of putting the drama to bed, the arrests are only the beginning of the trouble for Joe and Izzy.<br> <br> After posting bail, the two abductors are murdered and Izzy disappears. Pike calls on his friend, Elvis Cole, to help learn the truth. What Elvis uncovers is a twisted family story that involves corporate whistleblowing, huge amounts of cash, the Witness Relocation Program, and a long line of lies. But what of all that did Izzy know? Is she a perpetrator or a victim? And how far will Joe go to find out?
Librarian's View

Add to My List