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Taken
Cover of Taken
Taken
Joe Pike Series, Book 4
The search for a missing girl leads private investigators Elvis Cole and Joe Pike into the nightmarish world of human trafficking in this #1 New York Times bestseller from Robert Crais.
When Nita Morales hires Elvis Cole to find her missing daughter, she's sure it's a ruse orchestrated by the girl and her boyfriend. She's wrong. They've been taken by bajadores—border bandits who prey on the innocent by buying, selling, and disposing of victims like commodities.
Cole and Joe Pike start an undercover investigation to find the couple, but their plan derails when Cole disappears, leaving Pike to burn through the murderous world of human traffickers to find his friend as well as the missing young people. But he may already be too late...
The search for a missing girl leads private investigators Elvis Cole and Joe Pike into the nightmarish world of human trafficking in this #1 New York Times bestseller from Robert Crais.
When Nita Morales hires Elvis Cole to find her missing daughter, she's sure it's a ruse orchestrated by the girl and her boyfriend. She's wrong. They've been taken by bajadores—border bandits who prey on the innocent by buying, selling, and disposing of victims like commodities.
Cole and Joe Pike start an undercover investigation to find the couple, but their plan derails when Cole disappears, leaving Pike to burn through the murderous world of human traffickers to find his friend as well as the missing young people. But he may already be too late...
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Excerpts-
  • From the book

    Part 1

    Elvis Cole

    1

    2

    Joe Pike

    3

    4

    5

    Jack and Krista

    6

    Elvis Cole

    7

    8

    9

    10

    Joe Pike

    11

    Elvis Cole

    12

    13

    Jack and Krista

    14

    15

    Elvis Cole

    16

    17

    Jack and Krista

    18

    19

    Jon Stone

    20

    Part 2

    Elvis Cole

    21

    22

    23

    24

    Jack and Krista

    25

    26

    27

    Part 3

    28

    Elvis Cole

    29

    Joe Pike

    30

    31

    32

    33

    Jack and Krista

    34

    Elvis Cole

    35

    36

    Part 4

    Riverside County Jail

    37

    Joe Pike

    38

    39

    40

    41

    the date farm

    42

    43

    44

    45

    46

    47

    Suspect chapter excerpt

    Acknowledgments

    Prologue:

    JACK AND KRISTA

    Jack Berman wrapped his arms around his girlfriend, Krista Morales, and watched his breath fog in the cold desert air. Twenty minutes after midnight, fourteen miles south of Rancho Mirage in the otherwise impenetrable darkness of the Anza-Borrego Desert, Jack and Krista were lit in the harsh purple glare of the lights that blossomed from Danny Trehorn's truck, Jack so much in love with this girl his heart beat with hers.

    Trehorn gunned his engine.

    "You guys comin' or what?"

    Krista snuggled deeper into Jack's arms.

    "Let's stay a little longer. Just us. Not them. I want to tell you something."

    Jack called to his friend.

    "Mañana, dude. We're gonna hang."

    "We roll early, bro. See you at nine."

    "See us at noon."

    "Pussy! We'll wake your ass up!"

    Trehorn dropped back into his truck, and spun a one-eighty back toward town, Ride of the Valkyries blaring on his sound system. Chuck Lautner and Deli Blake tucked Chuck's ancient Land Cruiser in tight behind Trehorn, their headlamps flashing over Jack's Mustang, which was parked up the old county road where the ground was more even. They had come out to show Krista a drug smuggler's airplane that had crashed in 1972 because Krista wanted to see it.

    Jack grew colder as their tail lights receded, and the desert grew darker. A thin crescent moon and cloudy star field gave them enough light to see, but little more.

    Jack said, "Dark."

    She didn't answer.

    Jack said, "Cold."

    He snuggled closer, spooning into her back, both of them staring at nothing. Jack wondered what she was seeing.

    Krista had been pensive all night even though she had pushed them to come, and now her wanting to tell him something felt ominous. Jack had the sick feeling she was pregnant or dumping him. Krista was two months from graduating summa cum laude at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles, and had taken a job in D.C. Jack had dropped out of USC.

    Jack nuzzled into her hair.

    "Are we okay?"

    She pushed away far enough to study him, then smiled.

    "There have never been two people better than us. I am totally in love with you."

    "You had me worried."

    "Thanks for getting Danny to bring us out here. I don't think he wanted to come."

    "It's a long drive if you've seen it a million times. He stopped coming out here in high school."

    According to Trehorn, the twin-engine Cessna 310 had crashed while bringing in a load of coke at night during a sandstorm. A local drug dealer named Greek Cisneros cleared enough cactus and rocks to fashion a landing strip in the middle of the desert twenty miles outside Palm Springs, and used the airplane to bring cocaine and marijuana...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 19, 2011
    At the start of bestseller Crais’s satisfying 15th Elvis Cole novel (after 2011’s The Sentry), Jack Berman, a USC dropout, and his girlfriend, Krista Morales, a star student at Loyola Marymount, get caught in a battle between human traffickers and “bajadores”—predators who prey on other criminals—while visiting the site of an old desert plane crash near Rancho Mirage, Calif. Krista’s mother, who’s seen a flattering magazine story about Cole, hires Cole to find her daughter, who she suspects is pretending to be kidnapped as part of a scheme Jack cooked up to extort money so they can get married. While the tension level isn’t up to Crais’s usual standard, Cole and sidekicks Joe Pike and Jon Stone all get a chance to shine as Cole plays a dangerous game that makes him a prisoner of the deadly bajadore known as the Syrian. Told from multiple points of view, this installment would make a fine action-packed film with three strong male leads. Author tour. Agent: Aaron Priest, Aaron M. Priest Literary Agency.

  • Kirkus

    February 1, 2012
    A kidnapping drops Elvis Cole and Joe Pike into the maelstrom of human smugglers. After L.A. college senior Krista Morales finds out the secret her boyfriend, USC dropout Jack Berman, has been hiding, she brings him out to the desert to reveal her own secret: the place where her mother Nita, who runs a highly successful business, was once brought into the country as an illegal alien. Unfortunately, the coyotes are still plying their customary trade at the very same spot, and Krista and Jack get swept up in a passing caravan. Convinced there's something strange about a ransom demand of a measly $500 delivered over the phone by her daughter in a heavy Mexican accent, Nita calls in Elvis Cole, the World's Greatest Detective. Working as usual with laconic Joe Pike, Cole soon ties the human-trafficking ring to the Double Dragon Korean gang and Syrian mastermind Ghazi al-Diri. But his attempt to infiltrate the ring as an unscrupulous capitalist who needs cheap labor backfires when he's recognized and seized himself. Now Pike must enlist his mercenary buddy Jon Stone to help rescue Krista, Jack, Cole and maybe even the two dozen illegals with whom they're being held in an undisclosed location. For some reason, the normally reliable Crais (The Sentry, 2011, etc.) doesn't trust his story, loaded with the promise of vigilante heroics and nonstop violence, to deliver the goods. So he jazzes it by pulverizing it into sections that leap back and forth in time and among different points of view (e.g., "ELVIS COLE: four days before he is taken"). The result is to loosen the logical links that connect one set piece to another and recast the whole story as if it were a string of trailers for a dozen hellacious summer movies.

    COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Joe Pike Series, Book 4
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