Cover image of "The Watchman," a book by Robert Crais

Joe Pike, the star of this book by Robert Crais, is one scary dude. He’s a former beat cop, Marine MP, and tattooed mercenary soldier who looks and talks the part, which is to say that he rarely speaks at all. He wears sunglasses indoors. He is a partner in a Los Angeles private detective agency and a partner in a gun store. You would definitely not want to run into Pike in a dark alley.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

The Watchman is one of the sixteen detective novels in Robert Crais’ best-selling series featuring Pike and his partner Elvis Cole. Called up to return a favor from long ago, Pike agrees to serve as bodyguard to a bratty rich young woman who has stumbled her careless way into witnessing something she shouldn’t have seen — and become a Federal witness instead. Her billionaire father and his advisors call in Pike after the woman, Larkin Conner Barkley, is twice nearly killed when under Federal witness protection. Pike drags her kicking and screaming into a series of hiding places where no one — not her father, nor the feds, nor the man who hired him — can find her.

The bodies start dropping early and often in The Watchman. I lost count midway through the book. Crais is a master of suspense. The tension mounted steadily throughout the book, which featured the requisite surprises along the way. I could have done without some of the killing, however.

The Watchman by Robert Crais ★★★☆☆

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