I am not trying to read the Elvis Cole/Joe Pike novels in any particular order. Therefore I have, understandably, read more novels which feature Elvis Cole simply because there are more novels which feature him. I've always wanted more of Joe Pike's character and I got quite a bit of that in Stalking the Angel (Elvis Cole, Book 2). This book is the first one I've read to feature Pike with Cole coming in periodically. These two main characters are so completely opposite on the surface and yet so much alike. I thoroughly enjoy the Elvis Cole novels, but I'm fascinated by Joe Pike. I absolutely loved this book.
Pike is hired to protect the life of a young woman who was involved in a traffic accident. The Feds have told her family that one of the passengers in the car she hit was a major criminal from South America and he will kill the girl to keep her from testifying in court and proving he was in America with outstanding murder warrants. This spoiled rich kid tries to do everything possible to get under Joe's skin, but nothing seems to faze him. Then all the information Joe and Elvis have been given begins to fall apart and they don't have any idea who they can trust or who might be selling the girl out. From here on they will do their own investigating and trust only their own evidence.
Robert Crais has made Joe Pike the main character in this novel and has used flashbacks to explain the time Pike spent as a police officer. That was very interesting and enlightening. Crais also makes Pike into a somewhat more approachable person by using the psychological makeup of Larkin Conner Barkley to point out how opposite Pike is to her, but also how alike they are because of their family situations. I thought early into the book that I wanted Crais to 'lose' Larkin in some way because she was being a distraction to the investigation. That was only until I began to realize how her character was going to change and also to change Pike at the same time. This was one of those novels where the investigative digging was what solved the case and I'm so glad the author allowed the readers to share in that process. Very well written, very sharply defined characters, a plot which had the ability to actually be realistic, and an ending which was inevitable. I enjoyed it tremendously.