The Sentry
Robert Crais
Joe Pike book 3
Putnam’s 416 pages

Robert Crais’ The Sentry is the third novel in the Joe Pike series which is a companion series to Crais’ Elvis Cole books. In classic Pike fashion The Sentry starts with an observant Pike having his curiosity tweaked by a couple of gang bangers walking into a sandwich shop.  He just can’t leave it alone. Is it the cop in him? Is it the soldier of fortune in him? As a reader we may never know or fill in the blank for ourselves depending on the situation Pike finds himself.

One of the things to recommend Robert Crais is that he places his characters in situations from which you could conceivably believe they may not emerge unscathed. In the past both Pike and Cole have had very close brushes with death, It is not beyond belief that Crais will one day kill one or both of them off to keep true to the plot. You have to admire a writer who is that cold blooded – think early Robert B. Parker with a more whacky sense of humour and you get a sense of Crais as a writer.

In The Sentry Pike’s involvement in a sandwich shop robbery gone wrong also lands him in the midst of a situation he could not possibly fathom. Here, Pike plays the role of a modern day Galahad protecting Dru Rayne and her uncle from gangbangers. It also offers up one of the most clever rivals Pike has come up against and a final faceoff that really keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.  Kindle edition

It is not surprising for the freshman book in a series to be a strong effort and then have a good follow up. It is the third book in a series that ultimately determines whether or not the series will survive. In the case of the Joe Pike series there is no doubt. It will survive as well as improve with age. Pike and Cole are a brilliant team once again and the plot driven story line is clever and complicated without being contrived. All in all this Robert Crais mystery novel is a superb effort and well worth your time.