The Sentry by Robert Crais

The Sentry by Robert Crais“I told her I took care of it. That they wouldn’t be bothered again.” – Joe Pike

Funny how a seemingly insignificant decision can have such life-altering consequences. Surely Joe Pike couldn’t possibly have envisioned that a quick stop to put air in his tires would set in motion a chain of events that would eventually involve the L.A.P.D., F.B.I., Mexican and Bolivian drug gangs, and a highly motivated hitman.

And yet, that’s exactly what occurs when Pike notices two gang members enter a sandwich shop across the street from the gas station he just happened to choose for a little routine car maintenance. Pike’s former stints with both the Marines and L.A.P.D. have trained him to be very aware of people’s body language, and it’s clear to him the thugs are looking for more than a sub.

Sure enough, when he decides to investigate he finds the two viciously assaulting the shop owner. Pike intervenes, running one thug off and holding the other for the police. When the shop owner’s niece, Dru Rayne, arrives on the scene sparks immediately fly and Pike finds himself drawn to her in a way he’s not felt in a long time. So much so, he decides to take responsibility for making sure Dru and her uncle aren’t bothered again.

When a brick is thrown through the shop’s window the following day Pike goes to the source and brokers a truce with the head of the gang, then assures Dru the matter has been taken care of. Joe Pike doesn’t make promises lightly, and so he takes it particularly hard when not only is the shop vandalized again, but Dru and her uncle disappear. When Pike enlists best friend and private investigator Elvis Cole to assist in the search for Dru and her uncle, Cole quickly turns up information that suggests the two are not who they claim to be.

Now Pike has a decision to make: keep a promise that was made based on false information, or wash his hands of the matter and be done with it? Anyone who’s familiar with the Elvis Cole / Joe Pike series knows there really is only one answer to that for Joe Pike. A man of deeply held principles, Pike decides to see it through to the end and The Sentry is off on a wild ride.

Ever since the man in shades’ enigmatic debut in The Monkey’s Raincoat author Robert Crais has slowly, deliberately revealed to readers glimpses into Joe Pike’s soul. With the wonderfully descriptive prose we’ve come to expect from Crais, The Sentry adds another layer to the ever clarifying picture of who the man behind those sunglasses really is:

The physical world was disturbed – a fish rippled the water; a gliding bird cast a shadow. Pike knew this better than most because he spent most of his life trying to move without being heard or seen, or leaving a trail that others could follow. It was difficult. Jared Palmer had seen Reuben Mendoza. That was the first ripple, but Pike knew there would be others. The problem was time. Pike was building a pressure wave and riding it like a surfer shooting the green tunnel.

It’s a wave Pike isn’t surfing alone. Elvis Cole, perhaps the only person Joe truly trusts, plays a crucial role in The Sentry. During the course of assisting Pike in the investigation Cole is placed in the position of having to deliver potentially devastating news to him, and is subsequently forced to make a heartbreaking decision. Yet it’s a decision that demonstrates the depth of the bond between the two men, and it’s that relationship which is truly the heart of the Cole / Pike series and what elevates it head and shoulders above virtually everything else going in the genre.

If you’re a longtime fan of the series you definitely don’t want to miss this spectacular new addition, and if you’ve never experienced the world of Joe Pike and Elvis Cole The Sentry presents an outstanding opportunity for you to take a peek at what you’ve been missing.

The Sentry will be released on January 11th from G.P. Putnam’s Sons (ISBN: 978-0399157073).

Robert Crais is the author of the best-selling Elvis Cole and Joe Pike novels. Crais began his career writing scripts for television shows such as Hill Street Blues, Cagney & Lacey, and Miami Vice. In the mid-eighties, feeling constrained by the rigid working requirements of Hollywood, Crais created Elvis Cole and Joe Pike in order to deal with themes he could not readily explore on television. The first novel in the series, The Monkey’s Raincoat, won the Anthony and Macavity Awards and was nominated for the Edgar Award. Currently, Robert Crais lives in the Santa Monica mountains with his wife, three cats, and many thousands of books. To learn more about Crais, visit his website.

– Robert Crais Talks About The Sentry –


  • le0pard13

    January 10, 2011 - 9:08 PM

    Great review, Elizabeth! I particularly love this part:

    “Yet it’s a decision that demonstrates the depth of the bond between the two men, and it’s that relationship which is truly the heart of the Cole / Pike series and what elevates it head and shoulders above virtually everything else going in the genre.”

    You nailed it! It’s exactly why it remains my favorite series. Thanks, Elizabeth.

    • Elizabeth A. White

      January 10, 2011 - 10:23 PM

      Thank you. Yes, Crais has really got something special going with those two characters. Individually they are interesting; together they are compelling.

  • sabrina ogden

    January 10, 2011 - 10:45 AM

    EEEEK! I can’t wait to read this series! Love the review and happy to see that Mr. Treadmill has joined the twitter gang!

    • Elizabeth A. White

      January 10, 2011 - 11:16 AM

      I envy the feeling you have at having just discovered the series, and with such a tremendous catalog already waiting for you to tear through.