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The Wanted by Robert Crais

Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons on December 26, 2017

Elvis Cole is hired by a concerned mother to figure out why her son Tyler has so much money. It doesn’t take Elvis long to figure out that Tyler and his two friends have been committing burglaries. Mom isn’t pleased, but before she has a chance to kill her son, two thugs named Stems and Harvey are trying to find him so they can kill him first.

Stems and Harvey are using police credentials to search for a stolen laptop. They have a surveillance picture that shows the face of one of the thieves, but they tend to kill the people who see the picture. Stems and Harvey are leaving a trail of dead bodies and, the reader assumes, that trail will soon lead them to Tyler.

The plot involves Elvis’ effort to keep Tyler alive while discovering the reason the bad guys are trying to kill him. Series regular Joe Pike returns to lend a hand ... a very strong hand, usually shaped into a fist.

As always, Robert Crais populates the story with engaging characters. Comic relief comes from Tyler’s girlfriend Amber, who is an equal balance of endearing and crazy. Stems and Harvey exchange entertaining banter when they aren’t killing people. Pike is Pike (he doesn’t say much). Amber’s dysfunctional mother, Tyler’s caring mother, and the bad guy who lurks behind the scenes for much of the novel are the other key characters.

Crais always keeps the story moving, making The Wanted a quick read. It can easily be read as a stand-alone novel by readers who are unfamiliar with the series. Elvis Cole fans, on the other hand, will appreciate Cole’s reunion with Ben, the son of Cole’s former girlfriend. Elvis Cole novels are always infused with warmth when bodies aren’t dropping, but not to the extent of sappiness. The Wanted doesn’t stand out as compared to other novels in the series, but it delivers the kind of easy entertainment that Crais’ fans expect.


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