While Elvis Cole is haunted by a nightmare and a lack of sleep, Joe Pike goes about his normal business. He is in Venice, California and needs a little air for the right front tire of his meticulously maintained jeep. While at the gas station he spots the two gang members across the street casing cars. The two thugs from central casting eventually go into the local sandwich shop.
His curiosity and instincts aroused, Pike goes across the street and enters the sandwich shop. He arrives in time to interrupt the beating the owner is taking from the two men. One escapes while the other painfully learns just how good Pike is at hand to hand combat.
By interrupting the attack, Pike sticks his considerably muscled bulk into a huge mess with multiple players, government agents, a ruthless psychotic assassin, and two victims who don’t seem to really want his help. Both the shop owner and his young niece just want to be left alone, they claim, though the niece sparks something off in Pike. Though they don’t seem to really want his help, it isn’t in Pike’s nature to turn away as the arrows tattooed on his arms make clear to one and all. Pike isn’t about to quit and by not doing so, he just may make Elvis Cole’s nightmare come to life.
While the main focus of the novel is on Joe Pike, Elvis Cole makes a significant contribution to the book. Shifting in point of view from Pike, to Cole, to the psychotic killer, and around again and again, the read moves forward at a steady pace. Nothing is as it seems in this book that starts with a dark beginning in New Orleans during Katrina five years ago and gets darker by the page. There is certain inevitableness about all this as Pike and eventually Cole try to identify the players and the real truth behind events.
There is certain loneliness to the book as well. Both Pike and Cole have gambled at love more than once and lost. Both are very much alone and are aware of that fact. The loneliness angle builds throughout the book to a crushing climax that can’t even be hinted at without potentially ruining the read for others.
The Sentry: A Joe Pike Novel” is another strong powerful novel with dark undertones from award winning author Robert Crais. While it is always best to read a series in order, in this case, it is possible to read this novel as a stand alone if you are not familiar with this very talented author. There is a reason why his books have won awards and his books are consistently on the best seller lists.
THE SENTRY: A JOE PIKE NOVEL
G.P. Putnam’s Sons (Penguin Group USA)
Hardback (and Kindle)
Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano, Texas Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple© 2011