Frank Meyer, once part of a mercenary team led by Joe Pike, seemed to successfully leave that violent life behind at the behest of his girlfriend/wife, Cindy. As Crais's second Joe Pike book opens, a home invasion crew kills the Meyer family and their nanny.
Pike sets out for vengeance, but when the invasion crew is revealed to be targeting criminals, Joe has to wonder whether Frank was still an honorable man. I particularly liked Crais's exploration of whether people can truly reinvent themselves. Some Amazon reviews say Pike is too invincible, making the book is a straightforward takedown, but I disagree. While Pike is super-competent, he can fall for a convincing story as anyone might. The First Rule succeeds as a mystery on Crais's skill weaving that story.