Audiobook Review:Taken by Robert Crais

24 01 2012

Taken by Robert Crais (Elvis Cole/Joe Pike, Bk. 15)

Read by Luke Daniels

Brilliance Audio

Length: 8 Hrs.

Genre: Thriller

Quick Thoughts: Taken again confirms to me that Crais is one of the masters of the detective thriller and that the Elvis Cole/Joe Pike continues to maintain its excellent track record. Full of fast paced action, nasty bad guys that just need killing, and life threatening situations, Taken truly earns the title, "Thriller."

Grade: B+

Robert Crais is one of the earliest members of my "Wait a Year" authors. By that, I mean authors who I have read everything they have written, and know upon finishing their latest offering that I’m going to have to wait a year for my next chance to experience one of their books. In my only other Crais review written for this blog, I talked about how I was more of an Elvis Cole guy then a Joe Pike guy. Don’t take this wrong, I love both characters, but I always preferred Elvis Coles’ sarcastic everyman, to the strong silent Joe Pike. The past two entries on the Cole/Pike series has been told using a literary device that I have always enjoyed, the multiple perspective, overlapping story line. We get to experience the story through the eyes of Cole in a first person POW, as well as third person accounts from Joe Pike, as well as a few other characters along the way. I have always enjoyed this story telling device, although I can’t help but associate it with the comedic, unreliable perspective usage of multiple perspective comedies. I particularly remember an episode of The Simpsons, telling an overlapping story from Bart, Lisa and Marge’s perspective, as each story ended the characters were left in freeze frame, until the ending when all the stories came together. So, for some odd reason, while reading The Taken, as each section ended, I couldn’t help but picture Elvis, or Joe stuck in freeze frame waiting for the story to catch up with them. While this image itself could have become distracting, the well executed plot, and compelling story totally sucked me into Crais’ world where the whole freeze frame thing became nothing more than an interesting anecdote.

If there was ever a doubt that Elvis Cole is the World’s Greatest Detective, a recent magazine article testifying to that fact leaves the doubters humbled. Now, Cole, brandished "magazine boy" is called to the business of Nita Morales, whose daughter is missing. Morales is not to scared though, she believes that her daughter is just under the bad influence of her lay-about boyfriend, and she totally trusts Elvis to use his world class clue finding skills to determine just where her typically trustworthy daughter has run off to. Yet, what Cole finds is a much more dangerous situation, which may require more than his skills as an investigator to resolve. Crais continues to amaze me with his tightly plotted action thrillers, and Taken is definitely up there with his best. One of the best things that Crais has going is the closer than brothers, yet totally different protagonists, Cole and Pike, and uses their opposing styles to great affect in Taken. This novel, above all of his others, should totally satisfy all Crais fans, whether you are a Cole guy like me, or one of the legions of Pike fans. I also liked Crais’ ability to take on topics such as human trafficking, and kidnapping for ransom, topics that have appeared in a lot of thrillers recently, but give it a fresh spin that was quite compelling. And while cameo appearances from characters from other novels are not a new thing for Crais, it was nice to get a more detailed look at Jon Stone, one of the more intriguing minor characters in the series. Taken again confirms to me that Crais is one of the masters of the detective thriller and that the Elvis Cole/Joe Pike continues to maintain its excellent track record. Full of fast paced action, nasty bad guys that just need killing, and life threatening situations, Taken truly earns the title, "Thriller."

While this is only Luke Daniels second outing voicing Crais’ signature series, he has definitely become the definitive voice of Pike and Cole. Daniels seems to be getting cast more often in novels that call out to me, spanning many genres. He has a strong, solid narrative voice, that’s not too deep, but crisp and clear and he always finds the proper rhythm and pace for the novel he is reading. I remember when listening to his first entry into the series The Sentry, that he came off as if he had been reading Pike and Cole since the very beginnings. His characterizations of theses iconic characters were just so dead on that they reeked of authenticity.  There is just something validating about audiobooks when you listen to a narrator’s take on characters you had first discovered in print, and it just totally gels with how you envisioned them. Now, having completed yet another excellent edition of a Robert Crais novel, I must return to my year long wait for his next.

Note: A special thanks to the good people of Brilliance Audio for providing a copy of this title for review.

For an excellent review of the print version, check out Jen’s Book Thoughts, my favorite Crime Fiction review blog, recent review of Taken.

For a great look at the series overall, with emphasis on the Audiobooks, check out this post from the blog, It Rains… You Get Wet.

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4 responses

25 01 2012
le0pard13

This is the anticipated book & audiobook in early 2012 for me. And your excellent review only added to this. Got my hardcover signed this evening by Bob Crais at his book launch party, came home and read your written piece, and noted the backlink you kindly included. Man, it doesn’t get any better than that. Thanks for all of this.

27 01 2012
DevourerofBooks (@DevourerofBooks)

I’ll have to check out Luke Daniels as a narrator!

8 02 2012
January Reads Part 2 | It Rains… You Get Wet

[…] The Guilded Earlobe’s audiobook review […]

29 06 2012
Elvis & Joe in Audiobook: TAKEN | It Rains… You Get Wet

[…] return to the forefront in this novel was welcomed. Like my audiobook colleague Bob Reiss wrote in his excellent review from earlier in the year: “… I talked about how I was more of an Elvis Cole guy then a […]

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