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The Watchman

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Watchman (2007) Robert Crais

To help Elvis Cole find Ben Chenier, the son of his girlfriend, Joe Pike agreed to do one last job for Jon Stone. That job has come: Defend a wealthy, spoiled heiress from the men who want to kill her, for what she saw during an accident.

“Why don’t I eat first? The Pikester won’t feed me. He only wants sex.”

Cole said, “He’s like that with me, too, but we’ve learned to adjust.”

Cole himself is recovering from the events of the previous book. Some of these parts remind me of my favorite Spenser book, Small Vices, because after almost dying, it takes a long time to get back to close to where you were before. I really like when stories that acknowledge that. (Pike also had a long rehabilitation after almost being killed in an earlier book.)

The young woman is a brat who does everything she can to irritate Pike, but she’s clean and sober, probably because it would have been nearly impossible if she wasn’t.

We also get more of Pike’s back story here, and there is no mention if Vietnam.

“My name is Joe Pike. I’m not married. I pulled two combat tours in the Marines—”

The shift broke into wild applause and cheers, with many of the officers shouting “Semper fi.” LAPD had a high percentage of Marine Corps veterans.

“I qualified as a scout/ sniper and served in Force Recon, mostly on long-range reconnaissance teams, hunter/ killer teams, and priority target missions. I’m black belt qualified in tae kwon do, kung fu, wing chun, judo, and ubawazi. I like to run and work out. I like to read.”

I love the line that comes after that.

Finally, an older black P-III with salt-and-pepper hair said, “Thank God he likes to read— I thought we had us a sissy.”

But not only is there no mention of Vietnam, lines are thrown in to make one think Pike and Cole served elsehwere.

Cole grinned at the girl. “Nice neighborhood. Reminds me of Fallujah.”

I also like how we get to see what Cole contributes to their partnership. It often feels like Pike is coming in and saving Elvis, but here we see that Cole has skills that mesh well with Pike’s. Plus a little glimpse of why they are friends.

The trick was to reach a place where the inside person and the outside person were the same. The closer someone got to this place, the stronger they would become. Pike believed that Cole was such a person, his inside and outside very close to being one and the same. Pike admired him for it. Pike also pondered whether Cole had accomplished this through design and effort, or was one with himself because oneness was his natural state. Either way, Pike considered this a feat of enormous import and studied Cole to learn more.

The mystery itself jumped all over, making you doubt just what was going on, but I thought it was well done, and I enjoyed the whole story.

Even if Pike is nowhere near as amusing as Elvis.
Rating: 8.5/10

Published by Simon & Schuster

Categories: Mystery, Private Eye, Re-Read     Comments (0)    



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