Vory p Zakone. What they call the thieves code. These people live by eighteen rules, Pike – actual written rules, kind of like a guidebook for assholes. The first rule – rule number one – is that their families don’t matter. Mom, dad, the brother, sis – those people do not matter. They are not supposed to have wives or children. – from The First Rule –
Frank Meyer is living an idyllic suburban life with his wife and two young children. But not too far in the past, Meyer existed in a much more dangerous space working as a mercenary with Joe Pike and his men. He has put that behind him. Or has he? When armed men break into Frank’s home and murder him and his family, Joe Pike gets involved, bent on uncovering the perpetrators and bringing them his own unique form of justice. Pike calls in his friends, Elvis Cole and Jon Stone, and they begin to dig deep into the crime. But was Frank somehow involved in running guns? Was his death related to illegal dealings he had with an underworld of cold-hearted criminals?
The First Rule, which is the second book in the Joe Pike series, is a fast-paced, edge of your seat thriller. Joe Pike is a character who is almost supernatural in his abilities to take down criminals. But under his tough guy exterior, is a man with a huge heart…and in this novel, Robert Crais reveals the sensitive side of his adrenaline-fueled super hero.
Like all good thrillers, The First Rule is a page turner – a book I had trouble putting down. Crais spends some time fully developing Pike’s character which I appreciated. In fact, I found this second book in the series much more effective and enjoyable reading than The Watchman (read my review) – although they are both good books for those readers who appreciate this genre.
Robert Crais writes with authority about law enforcement and special ops. He gives readers a strong protagonist in Pike, but one who has some humanity too. Readers who like dark, well-paced, and superbly plotted books, will find much to love in The First Rule.