Thursday, January 31, 2008

THE WATCHMAN by Robert Crais

After a fateful car crash, multiple attempts are made on 22-year-old heiress Larkin Conner Barkley's life. To repay a debt incurred while helping Elvis Cole, Joe Pike agrees to keep Larkin alive.

The premise may sound familiar. Readers may even guess some of the twists, but all of Crais's characters defy stereotype. Reading has become as much my job as my pleasure, and for the first time in a long time, I felt no pressure to finish, yet was so curious what the characters would do, I finished the book in three days.

You may know that my Crais fandom waned after L.A. Requiem as each new book Crais wrote was a large-scale multi-viewpoint thriller. In my review of his most recent Elvis Cole novel, The Forgotten Man, I called the book self-indulgent. The Watchman, told mostly from Pike's precise, laconic perspective, may be the book Crais needed to write to get back to basics.

At the same time, The Watchman continues to distinguish Pike as a much deeper character than Hawk before him, and Bubba Rogowski and Windsor Horne Lockwood III after him.

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