About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Taken by Robert Crais

Taken by Robert Crais – Elvis Cole and Joe Pike are back in action together. Nita Morales, an illegal Mexican immigrant who is successfully running a clothing business, calls Elvis to find her missing daughter, Krista Morales. Being a college student who has gone to Palm Springs with her boyfriend Jack Berman for the weekend but not yet returned the police doubt she is actually missing.

We know from the start that Krista and Jack have been kidnapped by some group that is involved with the smuggling of people into the United States.

The structure of the book is a different form of narrative. At the start not only do we know Krista and Jack have been abducted. We know Elvis has been taken and Joe is after those who have Elvis. No one should want Joe hunting them.

The book then moves back to before Elvis was captured and the plot proceeds forward.

Krista and Jack have been kidnapped by bajadores. (I was not familiar with the word. It describes gangs who steal the people smuggler gangs are illegally bringing into America and then extort money from their families.)

The bajadores are among the most vicious gangs in the world prying money out of families who have already used their resources on the smugglers.

The book is only barely a mystery. It is actually a thriller in which the action is non-stop. Unlike most of the books involving Elvis there is little character development. I regret there is little humour. Once in awhile Elvis is funny but much less than the earlier books in the series. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the body count builds through the book. I like Elvis better when he is detecting. I expect action from Joe. It is an above average thriller. It is not a challenge to the mind. It is a book for the senses. It does produce an appreciation of the cruelty of human trafficking, especially as done through Mexico. I hope Elvis is back to being the World’s Greatest Detective in the next book I read from Crais. (Sept. 8/12)


  1. I agree with your views on this book, Bill. It is certainly a page-turner but there is little character or charm that characterises some of the Elvis books. I thought it went off a bit once Joe went out into the desert. Somewhat of a book for those in love with weapons!

  2. Bill - Thanks for your excellent discussion of this book. I too really prefer the books in which there is less 'thriller' and more 'mystery,' if that makes sense. That said though I respect Crais for doing different kinds of things with his writing. And I couldn't agree more with you: It is simply not a good thing to have Joe Pike after you...

  3. Maxine: Thanks for the comment. I hope Elvis has not become a hardened killer.

  4. Margot: Thanks for commenting. I hope the thrills and the detecting are more balanced next time.