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Posts Tagged ‘Elvis Cole’

THE FIRST RULE by Robert Crais: Book review

The second novel featuring Joe Pike is a winner, just like the first.  To my mind, Robert Crais has never written a book that wasn’t terrific, and apparently he’s not about to start with The First Rule.

Frank Meyers, a member of Joe’s former contract military team, is gunned down in his house, along with his wife and two young sons. The only survivor is a nanny, who is in a coma.  The police connect Pike to Meyers through a photo in the deceased’s house, but when they tell Pike that Frank must have been dirty like all the other victims of recent home invasions in the city, he refuses to believe it.  At a hospital visit to see the nanny, Pike meets her sister.  The nanny dies, and the sister hires Pike to recover a baby she says is hers; the nanny was hiding the boy at the Meyers’ home from his father, a Serbian mob boss.  So Pike has two goals:  to prove that Meyers was clean and to find the missing baby.  What could the killers want with a ten-month-old child?  Was killing Meyers the reason for the invasion or was he collateral damage?

The title of the book comes from the thieves’ code in the former Soviet Union, the Vorovskoy Zakon.  It’s made up of eighteen written rules, the first one being:

A thief must forsake his mother, father, brothers, and sisters.

He must not have a family–no wife, no children.

We are his family.

If any of the eighteen rules are broken, the punishment is death.

Halfway through the book, Pike calls on Elvis Cole, his close (and possibly only) friend and business partner to help him with this case. Pike also calls on a few others, a couple of whom were also members of his contract team.  But feeling that Meyers was clean and being able to prove it is something else, something that Pike needs to do for his own sake.

Following The Watchman, The First Rule shows a more developed, more human side of Pike, although the reader must wait until the end of the book to discover it.  It’s a surprising discovery, but it’s worth the wait.

You can also learn more at Robert Crais’s web site.