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The Watchman (Elvis Cole, #11; Joe Pike, #1)
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The Watchman

(Elvis Cole and Joe Pike #11)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  23,848 ratings  ·  1,089 reviews
To pay back an old debt, Pike is coerced into protecting Larkin Barkley, a hard-partying young heiress whose life is in danger after a "wrong place wrong time" encounter that quickly escalates and spins out of control. The enemy is shadowy, violent and relentless—but the fierce, focused Pike, one of the strongest characters in modern crime fiction, is equal to the challeng ...more
Hardcover, 292 pages
Published February 27th 2007 by Simon & Schuster
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Piningforthefjords Crais does not throw the f-bomb around like confetti nor does he indulge in pointless graphic sex scenes. When profanity is used, which is never by th…moreCrais does not throw the f-bomb around like confetti nor does he indulge in pointless graphic sex scenes. When profanity is used, which is never by the two central characters, it is appropriate to the person and situation. I also am bothered by stuff like that, and this is my absolute favorite series of detective fiction. I am currently reading them through in order from the beginning for the second time. While each book can be read individually, they are best read in order because Crais beautifully develops his characters and their friendship and their back stories over the course of the series. Also, the audiobook versions are very well narrated.(less)
Deborah You don't have to, no. The books stand alone. They do advance through time and experience, though, so you'll get to know the characters better if you …moreYou don't have to, no. The books stand alone. They do advance through time and experience, though, so you'll get to know the characters better if you start at the beginning. They're all good.(less)

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Average rating 4.10  · 
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 ·  23,848 ratings  ·  1,089 reviews

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Start your review of The Watchman (Elvis Cole, #11; Joe Pike, #1)
It’s probably a good thing that Robert Crais has a strict policy against selling the film rights to his Elvis Cole and Joe Pike characters because I can see how this could go horribly off the rails in the wrong hands. The bad Hollywood pitch for this movie:

“There’s this rich girl, like a Paris Hilton type, right? And she gets into a car accident, but the people in the car flee the scene even though they’re injured. She identifies one of them as this big time money launderer that the Feds want, b
Feb 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: male-lead, thriller
The Watchman is the first book in the Elvis Cole series that switches focus to Elvis’ best friend and agency co-owner, Joe Pike. It’s a solid thriller, though for me, less impressive than other books in the series.

The plot of is classic bodyguard


subtypes Reluctant-Bodyguard, Financial-Mismatch, and Sexual-Tension. If you think you’ve seen this before, it’s because you probably have. It’s obvious from the first that there’s an insider leak jeopardizing the client, so Joe decides to play it solo
Dan Schwent
Nov 02, 2012 rated it liked it
While Elvis Cole is on the mend, an associate of Joe Pike's calls in a favor. Joe is tasked with protecting a young heiress from the people trying to kill her. Things go south when there is a leak at the Department of Justice and Pike finds that the only people he can trust are Elvis Cole and himself...

Joe Pike takes the lead in this Robert Crais offering and gets saddled protecting a Paris Hilton type heiress named Larkin Barkley. As with L.A. Requiem, Joe Pike's past is explored as the case un
Sean Peters
Feb 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
A wild-living young heiress slams into trouble in the L.A. night—the kind of trouble even her money can’t shut down. After her Aston Martin collides with a mysterious car, Larkin Conner Barkley attempts to help the accident victims—and becomes the sole witness in a federal investigation. Whisking her out of her Beverly Hills world is Joe Pike—ex-cop, ex-Marine, ex-mercenary—hired to shield Larkin from a relentless team of killers. But when a chain of lies and betrayals tightens around them, Pike ...more
Mona Bliss
Apr 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed every second of this book. I love the entire Elvis Cole series and I thought it was great that he decided to swap the character focus in this one to Joe Pike. You can't help but wish that life was different for Joe but if it was he wouldn't be Joe Pike...and I'd miss Joe Pike.

This is a good read as are all the Elvis Cole books.
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
I'm eternally grateful to Hugh for turning me onto this series. There was a Pike-shaped hole in my life that I didn't even know was there prior to listening to this book. Now, I can't go back to that Pike-free universe. In all seriousness, I really enjoyed this book. I totally loved Pike and
Cole. They definitely have a great friendship that allows them the freedom and the support to be themselves. That's definitely a blessing.

The Characters:

First and foremost, as I said, I dug Pike. I love the
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this 1st book in his "Joe Pike" series!
Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Ok, a few rambling thoughts on Robert Crais. Who is this guy, where'd he come from, how'd he get so popular? Well the first thing to know is that Crais is not from California at all. He is a native of Louisiana, grew up in a blue collar family, and read his first crime novel The Little Sister when he was 15. And that's all it took. Chandler gave him his love for writing. Other authors that have inspired him were Hammett, Hemingway (seems like that's true of all the crime writers), Parker, and St ...more
Andrew Smith
What I’m finding as I continue my random walk through this series is that some of the individual stories offer little in terms of mental stimulation and yet the in-fill on the character backgrounds enriches my enjoyment of the series as a whole. This episode is a case in point. The plot is a pretty basic tale of a rich girl who finds that she needs protection from a major criminal who is out to kill her. The exact reason as to why she’s a target is rather sketchy but nonetheless she ends up in t ...more
La Tonya  Jordan
Apr 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to La Tonya by: A Good Thiller - GoodReads
Shelves: good-read
Suspense, excitement, and thrilling is how I would describe Joe Pike. Joe Pike is an ex-Marine , ex-cop, and ex-mercenary who is hired on contract to protect Larkin Conner Barkley who has been targeted for death for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. So, it seems.

Joe Pike is a man of very few words. But, his connections lead to protecting Larkin and revealing secrets many people are trying to hide. I enjoyed all the action packed scenes in this book. I felt like I was at the movies on
Paul E. Morph
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is book eleven of the series and the first one to be told from the perspective of Joe Pike. I really enjoyed the change in viewpoint; in fact it would have been enough to make this a five star rating if it weren't for one thing...

Or, rather, one character: Larkin 'I'm-not-Paris-Hilton-honest-guv' Barkley.

JAYZUS, WHAT AN ANNOYING CHARACTER! Pike and Cole's reactions to her were, if anything, even more annoying... I was actually rooting for her to die horribly, which was probably not the auth
The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon)
You know that old saying? "Don't mess with the bull or you'll get the horns?" Try this, "The bull better not mess with Joe Pike, or Joe's gonna eat the bull!"

Elvis Cole's BFF gets his own book.

A tragically misunderstood celebrity has an accident on an empty street in Los Angeles. She tries to do the right thing and report it, then, the bad men start coming out of the wood work to kill her. "What gives? Give a Girl a Break will you?" Impotent to save her, the girls father calls in a Private Det
Lance Charnes
From time to time, a supporting character in a long-running series breaks out of the second-banana ghetto and gets to star in his/her very own novel. So it is here, when Robert Crais' stone-killer helpmate for Elvis Cole carries his own gun bags. Yes, Joe Pike is the star of The Watchman. If that means nothing to you, you may not be in the market for this book.

The setup: spoiled-rotten-rich-girl Larkin Barkley T-bones her Aston Martin into a civilian car, tries in her usual ineffectual way to he
Apr 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
3rd read - Even after multiple readings of this series (like Lucas Davenport and Charlie Parker stories) I still find myself entertained and engaged, hardly being able to hold off rushing to the finish.
This is the first story centering on Joe Pike, and his current duties as a bodyguard to a 22 yr old rich girl (think Paris H.), who was involved in a traffic accident that involved a notorious money guy criminal.
Joe is his goal-centered greatest, as he goes off the grid to dodge multiple attempts
Mark Baker
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 2018
When a favor is called in, Joe Pike finds himself as the bodyguard for Larkin Conner Barkley, a spoiled rich young woman who has become a witness in a Federal investigation thanks to a traffic accident. But when people come for them twice within just a few hours, Pike must go to extreme measures to protect them both. The bigger question becomes, what is really going on?

From a mystery standpoint, this book is outstanding, which several wonderful twists and surprises. I had a hard time putting the
Dec 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
NOTE: I originally posted this under The Sentry for some unknowable reason. Don’t do drugs, kids!

Really, really great thriller action in this one. Joe Pike is a badass for the ages, an unstoppable heat-seeking missile with years of experience from the Marines and LAPD as well as unquestionably awesome red arrows tattooed on his deltoids (signifying his no-retreat, all-advance outlook on life.) I admit I kinda cheated with this one as I read the first Elvis Cole novel and then, seeing that Pike s
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

A very good book. Crais is improving a little with each outing.

This first book with Pike in the lead is very good. Elvis helps, but is clearly a secondary character.

Some stupid clichés and dumb behaviour. Simply not believable. Crais should mark on his calendar when he has bad days, and later go back and fix those sections of his books.

Great book, great ending.

Notes and quotes:

The arrows. What they mean is, you control who you are by moving forward, never back; you move forwar
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love this series and I adore Elvis, but I knew my heart belongs to Joe Pike!!
Finally we get to know, understand and learn more about Joe, and this made this book even better.
This is the first book in the Elvis Cole-Joe Pike series that is told from Joe’s POV (we get Elvis’s here and there) and I LOVED it!

The mystery in each book in the series is great, but what’s really make these books wonderful is the two MCs!
The combination of the sarcastic, light hearted and funny Elvis Cole with the seri
Sep 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, thriller
The bad guy is predictable. Well, so what? The good guy is unpredictable. The Watchman is presumably a play off the literary conceit that inspired the brilliant The Watchmen graphic novel and film, “Who is watching the watchman?” Robert Crais doesn’t make any explicit reference to that, but it fits. Joe “I’m not a bodyguard” Pike is roped into performing a very lucrative favor for a person to whom, like The Godfather of Mario Puzo fame, he owes a favor. This time, he doesn’t owe the favor to a m ...more
Jane Stewart
I love tough smart loner guys like Joe Pike. I had plot problems, but it was still a fun and engaging read.

Larkin, a wealthy single woman (think Paris Hilton) witnesses something. Bad guys want her dead. She is in safe houses under federal protection. Three times someone leaks the location to the bad guys who come with guns. So Joe Pike a former marine and police officer is hired to protect her. He keeps her safe. The federal authorities, local police, and her father are angry at Joe
Tim Warner
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Just started. I like the creative approach that Robert Crais uses in this first of the Joe Pike series. The reader gets dropped into the middle of the action and the past unfolds slowly to fill in the history leading to the current situation. It's an interes4ting and novel approach.

I finished.

Good, not the best. I will continue with Pike, however. I wrote a much more extensive review of The Watchman, but the computer ate it up.One false key stroke and you're done4! UUUGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH So in my
Mar 16, 2013 rated it liked it
It was an action packed thriller, no doubt about it. Pike is pretty over the top, not even taking well deserved money, too perfect for my taste. It was interesting to find out his back story, though. Elvis had a good part & I liked him better in a secondary role. His wise cracks were more fun in small doses. I appreciated not getting quite as much of a tour of LA as I did with the first Elvis Cole book, too.

I have the next Joe Pike book & will probably read it at some point soon.
Dec 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Imagine if Lindsey Lohan weren't quite so crazy. Now imagine she was rich as Paris Hilton. Now imagine someone threatened to kidnap her, for reasons unknown (not $), and Joe Pike has to protect her. He's no bodyguard, so he does what he does best--shoot his way to finding the answer. The penultimate chapter is some of the best "Iowa Writer's Conference" taut phrases you'll ever read.
Mar 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
Joe Pike is one tough hombre and Crais writes well. Lookin' forward to the next one.
Alasandra Alawine
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Joe Pike's former TO hires him to protect Larkin, who has become the target of a killer after a car accident. Pike soon determines that everyone is lying about why Larkin is in danger and finds the link to Larkin's Father but when he goes to confront her Dad, Larkin decides to take matters into her own hands and winds up kidnapped. Pike and Cole will have to use all their ingenuity to free her and Pike and Stone will go to the ends of the earth to track down the man who made Larkin a target.
M.L. Rudolph
Apr 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: who-done-ems
2007. Robert Crais is a master craftsman who delivers on his promise.

There are alot of variations on the LA private eye story. And lots of good practitioners of the genre. Crais is among the best. His two characters Elvis Cole and Joe Pike, in my book, belong among the best LA literary sleuths.

This is Joe Pike's novel, but Elvis Cole is his buddy and of course he makes more than a cameo. Pike relies on Cole to provide key backup.

Pike is a damaged soul from childhood, but he's a tough survivor
The Book Maven
May 31, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-fiction
I think this is my first "Male Romance", if it can be considered that. Entertaining and enlightening, I suppose: the main character, Joe Pike, is terse, taciturn, grunt-y, noble, brave, and uber-strong and skilled. Does every man want to be like that?

I figured this book was part of a series (and it is, Book 11), but what surprised me was that the series is considered the 'Elvis Cole' series, and that character was definitely secondary in this novel...however, on second thought, that's a relief,
Jun 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who thinks Joe Pike > Elvis Cole
After finishing the last Crais book I read, Lullaby Town, I wrote in my review:
I would also like to see more of the enigmatic Joe Pike, who is easily the most interesting character in the entire series.
So, basically, this is the book I was asking for. And you know what? It delivered.

It was told from the third-person perspective, which nicely differentiated it from the Elvis Cole series, and let Joe Pike, while in focus, maintain a lot of his mystery. It also broke up the formula of the previou
Freda Malone
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I just found my series for this year. It might be ideal for me to pick this up from the beginning, with Elvis Cole, but Joe Pike seems to thrill me a bit more, but we will see. A hard core assassination mystery finds Joe Pike, a former Police Officer who exhibits undemonstrative responses and extreme emotional restraint, in his element. Fast paced, full of suspense, and just downright thrilling to find that there is more to this mystery than your average car accident. This novel had everything a ...more
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Gotta love the former mercenary, cut-off sleeve seatshirt, sunglasses at night, sidekick of Elvis. Oh, and he has a soft side to him.
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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. He purchased a secondhand paperback of Raymond Chandler’s The Little Sister when he was fifteen, which inspired his lifelong love of writing, Los Angeles, and the literature of crime fiction. ...more

Other books in the series

Elvis Cole and Joe Pike (1 - 10 of 18 books)
  • The Monkey's Raincoat (Elvis Cole, #1)
  • Stalking the Angel (Elvis Cole, #2)
  • Lullaby Town (Elvis Cole, #3)
  • Free Fall (Elvis Cole, #4)
  • Voodoo River (Elvis Cole, #5)
  • Sunset Express (Elvis Cole, #6)
  • Indigo Slam (Elvis Cole, #7)
  • L.A. Requiem (Elvis Cole, #8)
  • The Last Detective (Elvis Cole, #9)
  • The Forgotten Man (Elvis Cole, #10)

News & Interviews

As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of...
15 likes · 3 comments
“LARKIN WATCHED Pike leaving, and in the moment he stepped outside, he was framed in the open door of their Echo Park house like a picture in a magazine, frozen in time and space. A big man, but not a giant. More average in size than not. With the sleeves covering his arms, and his face turned away, he seemed heartbreakingly normal, which made her love him even more. A superman risked nothing, but an average man risked everything.” 2 likes
“The girl seemed even younger in sleep, and smaller, as if part of her had vanished into the couch. With her asleep, Pike believed he was seeing her Original Person. Pike believed each person created himself or herself; you built yourself from the inside out, with the tensions and will of the inside person holding the outside person together. The outside person was the face you showed the world; it was your mask, your camouflage, your message, and, perhaps, your means. It existed only so long as the inside person held it together, and when the inside person could no longer hold the mask together, the outside person dissolved and you would see the original person. Pike had observed that sleep could sometimes loosen the hold. Booze, dope, and extreme emotions could all loosen the hold; the weaker the grasp, the more easily loosened. Then you saw the person within the person. Pike often pondered these things. The trick was to reach a place where the inside person and the outside person were the same. The closer someone got to this place, the stronger they would become. Pike believed that Cole was such a person, his inside and outside very close to being one and the same. Pike admired him for it. Pike also pondered whether Cole had accomplished this through design and effort, or was one with himself because oneness was his natural state. Either way, Pike considered this a feat of enormous import and studied Cole to learn more. Pike’s inside person had built a fortress. The fortress had served, but Pike hoped for more. A fortress was a lonely place in which to live.” 2 likes
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