- Reading level: Ages 18 and up
- Hardcover:352 pages
- Publisher:Putnam Adult (January 24, 2012)
- Source: Publisher
Krista is a first generation Hispanic-American. When she goes off on a trip with her boyfriend and doesn’t return when planned, her mother doesn’t worry. Nor does she worry when she receives a call demanding money for her daughter’s release. She assumes her daughter has run off with her boyfriend, Jack, and gotten married. When days go by with no word from Krista and reluctant to call the authorities, she calls Elvis Cole, whom a recent newspaper article refers to as the “World’s Greatest Detective.”
Cole soon learns that Krista and Jack have unwittingly gotten mixed up in an illegal immigration ring. Coyotes, individuals who require immigrants to pay exorbitant amounts of money to cross into the States, often are preyed upon by Bajadores, criminals who attack other criminals. These bajadores kill the coyotes and hold the immigrants hostage until their families are able to pay the ransom. Some families are able to pay the ransom while others have already given everything they have to get their loved ones across the border. In this world of illegal immigration, no lives are safe. Oftentimes, once the bajadores receive their money they kill their hostages anyway, having no reason to let them go free.
Cole, realizing what danger Krista and Jack are in, immerses himself into this incredibly dangerous crime world and is taken hostage himself. His partner and friend, Joe Pike, scrambles to rescue Cole (as well as Krista and Jack) before it’s too late.
Taken is the 15th book of the Elvis Cole/Joe Pike series and Crais’ skill at pulling at the heartstrings of readers while simultaneously making their heart race is tremendous. I was quite impressed at Crais’ unique take on illegal immigration, a side of a dangerous trade that we don’t often learn about. It’s not frequent that we are exposed to a world so deadly and unforgiving.
The one thing that I feel affected the pacing of this book in particular was the timeline; rather than telling what took place in a linear timeline, Crais jumps around, some chapters before and others after Cole is taken. I found myself flipping back to the beginning of the chapter to remind myself of the timing of that particular chapter. Ultimately, it wasn’t that big of a distraction; after I was in a few chapters I was able to pick up on the jagged timeline.
As with his past books, Crais allows us to see a softer side of his seemingly strong characters. After Cole is taken, Pike feels vulnerable, void of control over what happens to Cole. He immerses himself in things that he does have control of, but seems quite out of place an inappropriate given what is going on around him, like feeding Cole’s cat. This sense of vulnerability in Pike is heartwarming; while the two friends/partners are tough-skinned there really is a deep friendship there.
Fans of Crais’ writing (known as Craisies) will once again be rewarded with another stellar Pike/Cole novel. Those new to the series won’t be lost if this book is their first introduction to this dynamic duo, but I warn you: you’ll want to go back and read all the previous books in the series as I did when I read my first book. Additionally, in Taken, Crais brings back characters from previous books, characters I hope to read more about in the future. Highly recommended.
Tags: Mystery/Suspense, Putnam, Review, Thriller