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Friday 8 October 2021

‘Taken’ by Robert Crais

Published by Orion,
26 April 2012.
ISBN: 978-1-409-1603-5

I was hooked on this tightly plotted and gripping story from the moment I opened it.  It's a violent scenario, no question, but the violence lies more in the disturbing true-life horror of the story than in any explicit blood and guts. 

The border country between Mexico and the USA is prime hunting ground for ruthless gangs of people-trafficking predators preying on helpless pollos, as they slightingly refer to their captives.  People-trafficking is a lucrative occupation, especially if you're a ruthless entrepreneur in the business, seeking to extract everylast red cent from people who have already sacrificed everything they have for the chanced of a better life.  But pay up, or you're dead -- and often tortured first.  It's a stark story of the weak pitted against the strong with no possible chance of the weak coming out on top.

I hate having to go back and check out who's who when I'm  reading a multiple point-of-view novel, but in his latest Elvis Cole book, Robert Crais has drawn his characters so skillfully that the change from one POV to the next is practically seamless and there's no confusion about who is speaking. 

Elvis Cole gets involved when a woman comes to him for help in finding her daughter and the girl's boyfriend, who have been kidnapped by one of these gangs.  He is kidnapped in his turn, and we see at first hand just what lengths these merciless people are prepared to go.  Without the help of his back-ups, Joe Pike and Jon Stone, what would happen to him, and his client's determined and resourceful daughter?  Read Taken and find out.

Reviewer: Susan Moody

Robert Crais is the author of the best-selling Elvis Cole novels. A native of Louisiana, he grew up on the banks of the Mississippi River in a blue collar family of oil refinery workers and police officers.  After years of amateur film-making and writing short fiction, he journeyed to Hollywood in 1976 where he quickly found work writing scripts for such major television series as Hill Street Blues, Cagney & Lacey, and Miami Vice, as well as numerous series pilots and Movies-of-the-Week for the major networks. He received an Emmy nomination for his work on Hill Street Blues. In the mid-eighties, feeling constrained by the collaborative working requirements of Hollywood, Crais resigned from a lucrative position as a contract writer and television producer in order to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a novelist. His first efforts proved unsuccessful, but upon the death of his father in 1985, Crais was inspired to create Elvis Cole, using elements of his own life as the basis of the story. The resulting novel, The Monkey’s Raincoat, won the Anthony and Macavity Awards and was nominated for the Edgar Award. It has since been selected as one of the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association. Currently, Robert Crais lives in the Santa Monica mountains with his wife, three cats, and many thousands of books.

Susan Moody was born in Oxford is the principal nom de plume  of Susan Elizabeth Donaldson, née Horwood, a British novelist best known for her suspense novels. She is a former Chairman of the Crime Writer's Association, served as World President of the International Association of Crime Writers, and was elected to the prestigious Detection Club. Susan Moody has given numerous courses on writing crime fiction and continues to teach creative writing in England, France, Australia, the USA and Denmark.  In addition to her many stand alone books, Susan has written two series, one featuring PI Penny Wanawake (seven books) and a series of six books featuring bridge player Cassie Swan. Her most recent series features Former Detective Inspector Alexandra Quick. There are three books in the series.

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