The First Rule, by Robert Crais

Joe Pike and Elvis Cole are Back Again

With Elvis Cole and Joe Pike, Robert Crais has created two of the most enjoyable private detectives out there today. The two of them never fail to catch and hold my interest. Elvis Cole, normally the main character in the series, takes a back seat in The First Rule.

Joe Pike, big, tough, strong, and capable, usually prefers action to words in most of the series. Not so in The First Rule. I think Joe may be my favorite of the two, but it is hard to separate them, they work so well together, and play off each others strengths and weaknesses. You’ll find plenty of humor and sarcasm, some tender moments occasionally, and well handled fights that don’t come off as overkill.

I start smiling at the very start of any of their books. When you enjoy a book series, you tend to grow quite attached to the characters it includes. Each time there is a new book by Mr. Crais, I feel excited to visit good friends.

Joe and Elvis are two of the best, so it’s easy to see why the series has such a great following. You’ll find nearly 250 ratings/reviews on Amazon, and well over 600 on Audible for this novel, with an average over four stars.


By BrianLiao CC-BY-2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The Story

Joe Pike is a former mercenary, among other things. When he learns that one of the men from his former team has been killed, along with his entire family, he is there as quickly as he can be. Since there have been several other similar murders that involved hidden stores of drugs or illegal money, the police believe his friend, Frank Meyer, may have been involved something illegal as well.

Joe won’t believe it. He knew Frank too well. So he begins his own investigation to disprove it. He is determined to find the people responsible for Frank’s death.

The mob, this time from the former Soviet Union, and the ‘thieves code’ that is partly responsible for the name of the book, complicate the investigation. With every turn there seems to be corruption, blackmail, and double crossing. There is the sister of the nanny who may be holding back information. Keeping her secure while Joe and Elvis find answers becomes a challenge in itself. Finally they start to wonder if the murders had anything to do with Frank at all.

Of course Elvis Cole is as near as the phone to help out however he can, and he does. The two are always there for the other after all. When they work together it is always a treat to read. Elvis brings humor to any situation, including this one.

Have A Listen to Robert Crais

Hearing the author talk about a specific book he has written is a treat to me. To hear how they come up with the ideas, develop their characters–especially repeating characters like Elvis and Joe–is entertaining. It always makes me want to listen to another one. Which could explain why I’m on number fourteen! If you have a few minutes, you will enjoy the video below.

In this first one he talks about Joe Pike too. Who would know him better? If the characters are like friends to his readers, they must be family to Mr. Crais.

Robert Crais Talks about The First Rule:


Robert Crais, Author

Robert Crais, a successful screenwriter turned author, has written more than twenty novels. Fifteen so far in the Cole/Pike series. I haven’t been disappointed in any I’ve read so far. He develops some wonderful, likable characters that you enjoy spending time with.

Besides his series, he’s written several stand alone novels, such as Hostage, Two Minute Warning, and Demolition Angel. You may recognize Hostage as a movie released in 2005 starring Bruce Willis

One of his latest books, Suspect, features two new excellent characters, Scott and Maggie. It turns out they are to be featured with Elvis and Joe in The Promise, due out in spring of 2015. With so many of us awaiting its arrival, it is sure to be another bestseller.

Robert Crais narrates The First Rule himself…

The Audio Version and My Thoughts

I listened to The First Rule on the audio version purchased through Audible. It was a pleasant surprise to have it read by the author himself. He did an excellent job narrating. It’s always fun to hear a book straight from the author. He knows exactly how it was said in in his mind as he wrote it. Makes for an accurate trip through the story.

Clearly I give Mr. Crais the full 5 Stars for this book, and most of his others too. He’s a wonderful author who creates relatable characters, then goes on to get them involved in twisted situations. While it’s true, you do assume the good guys will overcome, it’s still a great pleasure to see how they accomplish the feat.

I’m having trouble being patient for Mr. Crais’ next release.  The Promise  is going to include Scott and Maggie, the most excellent characters from Suspect, AND Elvis and Joe. I can’t wait to see them altogether. The release date has been changed to April 28th, 2015. If you read this one, you may get hooked too.

If you want to learn more about my favorite, here is my review of Suspect. Another series you might enjoy if you like Elvis and Joe, is David Rosenfelt’s series featuring Andy Carpenter. You can learn more in my review Laugh out Loud Mystery Series. I could listen to both authors over and over again.

Want to try the audio for yourself?  You can find out all about it here:  Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

The First in the Elvis Cole & Joe Pike Series

 The Monkey’s Raincoat

If you like to start at the beginning of the Elvis Cole/Joe Pike series, here is the first one. I wouldn’t mind reading it again soon. A woman wants Joe to find her missing husband, only to get her son back. But nothing is ever that simple, at least not for Elvis Cole and Joe Pike.


My first and favorite book by Robert Crais. I fell in love with Maggie and Scott. It’s so well done, emotional and uplifting. An injured police detective and an injured military bomb detecting dog must try to forge a bond if they are to work again. Hopefully this is a start of another long running series. Over 5,700 ratings and reviews between Audible and Amazon demonstrate its popularity!

You may also like...