Sunday 18 February 2018

Review: Taken by Robert Crais

Orion, £9.99, hbk
Available withfree P&P or bycalling 091 709350

Private detective Elvis Cole, who ironically refers to himself as the World's Greatest Detective, is approached by a successful Latina businesswoman, Nita Morales.

Her 21-year-old daughter Krista, a super-bright college student, has been missing for six days. Nita has had a ransom demand, but since it was for just $500 she thinks it's just an effort by Krista's dead-beat boyfriend to get some money.

But as Cole and his tough-as-nails colleague Joe Pike soon discover, Krista and her boyfriend, who is extremely wealthy, have been kidnapped and are in deadly danger.

Their captors, led by a deadly killer known as the Syrian, are bajadores -- ruthless, amoral criminals who prey on other criminals. Their targets are helpless immigrants who, when their desperate, poverty-stricken relatives are bled dry of the few hundred dollars they can raise, are executed without compunction.

When Elvis Cole himself is taken by the Syrian, it is up to Joe Pike and his equally tough friend Jon Stone, to save his friend as well as Krista and her boyfriend Jack Berman.

The plot -- the 15th Elvis Cole and Joe Pike adventure -- is based on a real, contemporary US/Mexican border problem and manages to combine pulsating action with more than a dash of chilling social realism. Outstanding.

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