This book is in the Elvis Cole/Joe Pike series. Cole and Pike are ex-special forces and partners in a private detective firm. Cole is hired by a business woman to find her missing daughter and the daughter’s boyfriend. The daughter and her boyfriend have been kidnapped by bajadores, who are some very bad people. The bajadores wait for coyotes to bring a group of illegal immigrants to a location, ambush them, then hold everyone for ransom. They have no intention of ever returning a captive – they simply keep extorting money until the family will no longer pay, then they kill then. They are a particularly ruthless group!
Because Cole will be acting undercover as a broker who needs to buy some illegal labor, Cole brings Pike into the picture, and Pike brings his buddy Jon Stone, who is a professional mercenary, in to give Cole cover. Unfortunately, they lose him, and the action begins! There is an additional interesting little twist at the end involving the boyfriend, but I won’t give it away, here. It is hinted at throughout the book.
This book is written from many points of view: Cole, Pike, Stone, the daughter and her boyfriend, and even the bad guys occasionally, so you get everyone’s perspective.
I’m an action junkie, and was very happy with the level of action in this book. The good guys were as believable as any in this genre; I didn’t feel they were over-done – just competent and practiced. The situation was also pretty believable. This is an area that I often am dissatisfied with in action/adventure books, as the situations and heroics are so bizarre that it’s hard to believe anyone could survive. But Crais did a good job creating a believable scenario.
I also like all the protagonists – even though the mother is a pretty tough cookie, my heart went out to her; I admired Cole, Pike and Stone and, last but not least, felt a huge amount of concern not only for the daughter and her boyfriend, but for the other captives, as well. And, of course, the bad guys were really despicable and the type you love to hate. They’re ruthless and without conscience, they’re ugly, and their breath stinks! And what could be more heinous than what they are doing.
Finally, because of the nature of the plot, I feel I should address the violence issue. There is some direct violence in the book, but for the most part it’s hinted at. You know people are being tortured and murdered, but normally you are not privvy to that event; generally, with a few exceptions, you’ll be exposed to it after the violent act has happened.
This was the first time I’ve read this author, and I will definitely read him again. I’ll recommend this book to those I know enjoy the genre. I felt the characters and the plot were believable, and enjoyed the story line very much.
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PERSONAL TASTE – These ratings do not reflect on the quality of the book, but do allow you to rule out certain books, if you object to excessive profanity, violence or sex.