Cover image for The Wanted An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel.
The Wanted An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel.
Publication Information:
G.P. Putnam's Sons 2019/01
General Note:
[Mass Market]

On Order

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Investigator Elvis Cole and his partner Joe Pike take on the deadliest case of their lives in the new masterpiece of suspense from #1 New York Times -bestselling author Robert Crais.

It seemed like a simple case--before the bodies started piling up . . .

When single mother Devon Connor hires private investigator Elvis Cole, it's because her troubled teenage son, Tyson, is flashing cash and she's afraid he's dealing drugs. But the truth is devastatingly different. With two other partners in crime, he's been responsible for a string of high-end burglaries, a crime spree that takes a deadly turn when one of them is murdered and Tyson and his girlfriend disappear.

They stole the wrong thing from the wrong man. Determined to get it back, he has hired a team that is smart and brutal, and to even the odds, Cole calls in his friend Joe Pike. But even they may be overmatched. The hired killers are leaving a trail of bodies in their wake. A few more won't make any difference.

Author Notes

Robert Crais was born in 1953 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Before becoming a writer, he was a mechanical engineer. In 1976, he began writing scripts for television series including Miami Vice, Cagney and Lacey, and Hill Street Blues. He is the author of the Elvis Cole series and the Joe Pike series. The Monkey's Raincoat won the Anthony and Macavity Awards in 1988. In 2005, his novel Hostage was adapted into a movie starring Bruce Willis. He is the 2006 recipient of the Ross Macdonald Literary Award. In 2017 his title, The First Rule, made the IBook Best Seller List.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

In bestseller Crais's taut 17th thriller to feature L.A. PI Elvis Cole and his cryptic sidekick, Joe Pike (after 2015's The Promise), frantic mom Devin Connor hires Elvis to find out why her teenage son, Tyson, has a mountain of expensive clothing, cash, and a $40,000 Rolex hidden in his bedroom. It turns out that Tyson is part of a trio that has robbed 18 homes. But before Tyson can agree to surrender himself, co-robber Alec turns up dead-a victim of Harvey and Stemms, two eccentric hit men. They know the kids have stolen a laptop coded with valuable information and will joyfully kill to recover it. Panicked, Tyson goes off the grid with his girlfriend and fellow thief, Amber. Now Elvis, aided by the implacable Pike, must find the teens before Harvey and Stemms do. The empathic Elvis takes center stage, with just enough hard-boiled Pike to season the mayhem. The plot isn't Crais's most inventive, but it's still expertly crafted. Agent: Aaron Priest, Aaron M. Priest Literary Agency. (Dec.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

New York Review of Books Review

INSPECTOR IAN RUTLEDGE haunts Charles Todd's mysteries like an unhappy ghost, wandering among the living but more at home among the dead. In THE GATEKEEPER (Morrow, $26.99), the shellshocked veteran of World War I is investigating a murder in Wolfpit, a village that once served as a holding pen for trapped wolves. But by the winter of 1920 the place has evolved into a comfortable cage for trapped souls, notably the wounded veterans and grieving widows who make up much of its shrunken population. "This wasn't the usual village murder," Rutledge notes when Stephen Wentworth, the proprietor of the town's bookstore, is shot dead by a stranger who accosts him as he's driving along a country road in the dark of night. According to a note left in the inspector's hotel room, "Stephen Wentworth is a murderer. He got what he deserved." Not even his mother has a kind word for him. "He was always a disappointing child," she tells Rutledge, "and he grew into a disappointing man." Every decent detective feels obliged to bring about justice on behalf of a murder victim. Here Rutledge is honor bound to restore the good name of a young man who may not have been guilty of the homicide that, even in death, hangs over his head. And the only way to do that is to find the real killer. As always in this singular series, the mother-and-son team who write as Charles Todd position their mystery within the broader context of a nation frozen in postwar depression. Viewing the world through Rutledge's eyes, we can't help noticing that there are very few able-bodied young men left in the village. Even young women are in scant supply, many having been lured to the cities by the well-paid work offered by factories in need of laborers while the men were off on the battlefield. The melancholy tone that distinguishes the Rutledge series is a reminder that war never ends for the families and friends of lost loved ones. It just retreats into the shadows. ELVIS cole is the kind of private detective a woman would turn to if her teenage son started wearing a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona watch that retails for $40,000. In THE WANTED (Putnam, $28), Robert Crais's superior specimen of tough-guy hero rides to the rescue of a single mother, Devon Connor, who's worried sick about 17-year-old Tyson. Cole quickly determines that the kid is running with some "crash-and-burn children" whose wealthy Los Angeles parents have no idea that their offspring have committed a string of burglaries and are selling the goods at the Venice flea market. Unfortunately, a laptop they've stolen is worth money and human lives to someone who has sent a pair of hired guns to retrieve it. After they murder one of the young thieves, the others become Cole's headache. Crais writes choice dialogue for those hired guns, Harvey and Stemms. In fact, their heated discussion about the shower scene in "Psycho" is so entertaining you wish they didn't have to go the way of all secondary characters in hard-boiled crime novels and, you know, die. PARADISE, ACCORDING to Frank Tallis in MEPHISTO WALTZ (Pegasus, $25.95), is an exact replica of early-20th-century Vienna, "where celestial coffeehouses lined the principal approaches to the Pearly Gates." That would make angels of the psychoanalyst Dr. Max Liebermann and his friend, Detective Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt, the brainy sleuths in Tallis's erudite series of historical mysteries. He seizes on the singular appeal of this period, from the luscious apfelschmarrn and topfenstrudel served in the fashionable cafes to the lively intellectual discourse of their learned patrons. ("The Viennese were so highly strung, so nervous, even symphonies got them agitated.") A disfigured corpse discovered in the workshop of a derelict piano manufacturer leads to revelations about the city's dark side, an underworld of anarchists plotting to assassinate Emperor Franz Josef. A woman who has built a bombmaking factory in her basement makes a memorable appearance, as does Dr. Sigmund Freud, who advances the argument that "a political party is just another form of crowd" and politicians are dangerous because they're "buoyed up by the people who stand behind them, carried forward on waves of feeling." ILKA JENSEN IS nothing if not resourceful. In the first novel in Sara Blaedel's new series, THE UNDERTAKER'S DAUGHTER (Grand Central, $26), Jensen leaves her home in Copenhagen and flies to Racine, Wis., after her estranged father leaves her an undertaking business in his will. On her first day, Jensen must add pet dogs to the plans for a funeral service, pick up a severely mangled body at the morgue ("Bring along some extra plastic. It sounds like it might be a mess") and come up with $60,000 to keep the I.R.S. from freezing her assets. To make this new life complete, the police inform her that one of the bodies in her freezer is probably a murderer. Most amateur sleuths hold down professional jobs to support their unofficial detective work. Blaedel has come up with an especially challenging occupation for Jensen, but this 6-foot-tall Viking goddess is strong enough to carry it all by herself. Marilyn STASIO has covered crime fiction for the Book Review since 1988. Her column appears twice a month.

Library Journal Review

Single mom Devon Connor calls Elvis Cole to investigate why her son, Tyson, has a $40,000 watch and wads of cash. The PI soon discovers Tyson and two friends committed a string of high end-home burglaries and attempts to convince Devon that her son should turn himself in. Meanwhile, two ruthless, highly intelligent, and competent killers named Harvey and Stemms chase Tyson and his pals, leaving a trail of bodies as they seek to recover information believed to be hidden on a laptop stolen by the teens. As the body count rises, Elvis calls in Joe Pike as reinforcement. This follow-up to The Promise adroitly spins a treatise on relations between mothers and sons, fathers and sons, and bonds of friendship, nestled within a hair-raising chase between cold-blooded murderers and naïve adolescents. Crais's trademark humor and thoroughly accurate, genuine depictions of human interactions make this one of his best yet. The mutual respect and "buddy" admiration between Harvey and Stemms mirrors that between Elvis and Joe. A tremendously rewarding climax and touching epilog conclude with the nurturing of another treasured connection. Verdict Crais delivers another highly and deeply satisfying page-turner that will please his many fans.-Jeffrey W. Hunter, Royal Oak, MI © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



1 Elvis Cole James Tyson Connor walked out of his home on a chill fall morning, climbed into a twelve-year-old Volvo, and left for school an hour late. Tyson was a seventeen-year-old junior at an alternative school in the San Fernando Valley. He was thin, nervous, and cursed with soft features and gentle eyes that made him look like a freshman. Nothing about him suggested that Tyson was one of the most wanted felons in Los Angeles. Tyson and his mother lived in a modest, one-story ranch house not far from his school. I was a block away, waiting for Tyson to leave. His mother had warned me he would be late. Tyson suffered from anxiety issues, and hated going to school. Two prior schools had expelled him for absenteeism and failing grades, so his mother enrolled him at the alternative school to keep him from dropping out. This was a decision she regretted. His mother called as Tyson drove away. "Mr. Cole? Are you here?" "I've been here almost two hours, Ms. Connor. The sunrise was lovely." "He's gone. You can come in now." Tyson's mother worked as an office manager for a law firm in Encino. She appeared neat, trim, and ready for work when she opened the door, but carried herself with so much tension she might have been wrapped with duct tape. I walked up the drive, and offered my hand. "Elvis Cole." "Devon Connor. Thanks so much for coming, Mr. Cole. I'm sorry he took so long." I stepped into her living room, and watched her lock the door. The house smelled of pancakes and fish, and something I didn't place. A glowing aquarium bubbled beside a couch. "The new school doesn't mind, him being so late?" "With what they charge, they should send a limo." She stopped herself, and closed her eyes. "Sorry. I sound like a bitch." "He's your son. You're worried." "Beyond worried. I moved mountains to get him into this school, and now I feel like I've fed him to animals." Devon had found money and valuables in Tyson's room. She believed her son had gotten involved with drug dealers and gangsters, and wanted me to find out what he was doing. I wasn't sure I wanted the job. I tried to sound reassuring. "It probably isn't as bad as you think, Ms. Connor. These things usually aren't." She studied me like I was stupid, and abruptly turned away. "Follow me. I'll show you how bad." Tyson's bedroom was small, and looked like a typical middle-class, teenage boy's bedroom. A dresser sat opposite a walk-in closet, an ­unmade bed filled the corner, and his nightstand bristled with soda cans, chip bags, and crumbs. Special Forces operators with glowing green eyes watched us from a recruitment poster above the bed. A desk beneath his window was crowded with a desktop computer, a laptop, three monitors, and an impressive tangle of game controllers. I said, "He must be a serious gamer." "He can't sit still in school, but he can sit in front of these things for hours." She went to the desk, opened the middle side drawer, and took something from the back of it. " This  is how bad it is." She held out a watch with a bright white face, three dials, and three knobs on the rim. The distinctive Rolex crown was obvious. "A Rolex?" "A Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, made with eighteen-carat white gold. A watch like this sells for forty thousand dollars, new. Even used, they sell for more than twenty. He came home wearing it. I said, this is a Rolex, where'd you get a watch like this?" Small nicks marred the rim and crystal, but the watch appeared otherwise perfect. "What did he say?" She rolled her eyes, and looked disgusted. "A flea market, can you imagine? He says it's a knockoff, but I don't believe it. Does this look like a knockoff to you?" She pushed the watch closer, so I took it. The body felt heavy and substantial. The hands showed the correct time, and the second hand swept the face with silent precision, but I wasn't an expert. "Could it be a gift, and he doesn't want you to know?" "Who would give him a gift like this?" "His father? A grandparent?" She frowned again, and gave me the 'you're stupid' eyes. "His father left before Tyson was born, and everyone else is dead. My son should not have this watch. He shouldn't have  anything  this expensive, and we have to stop him before he gets himself killed or arrested." We. I tried to tone down the drama. "Maybe we're getting ahead of ourselves. If the watch is real, then he shouldn't have it, but this is the kind of thing a kid might lift if he saw it at a friend's house. You don't need a detective if Tyson has sticky fingers." The reasonable detective offered a reasonable explanation, but she seemed disappointed. "There's so much more than the watch." She went to the closet, and reached inside. "It started with shirts. He didn't even bother to hide them, like with the watch." I said, "Shirts." She came out with a sleek black sport coat trimmed with velvet lapels. " New  shirts. Then new shoes turned up, and another new shirt, and this jacket, all from Barneys in Beverly Hills. We can't afford Barneys." Her phone chirped with an incoming text. She checked the message, and slipped the phone back into her pocket. "Sorry. The school. I text when he leaves, they text when he arrives. It's how we keep track." Alternative. I fingered the jacket. The fabric felt soft and creamy, like very fine wool. Expensive. I glanced up, and found her watching me. Waiting. "Did the clothes come from the same flea market?" "No, this time a friend's father runs the wardrobe department at a studio. They get so many free clothes, Tyson can have whatever he wants." I didn't say anything. Devon went on without my prompting. "I called Barneys. This jacket? Tyson bought it. The salesman remembered because Tyson paid cash. Three thousand dollars, and Tyson paid  cash ." She put the jacket back in the closet, and went to his bed. "After I found out about Barneys, I searched his room." She slid a plastic storage container from under the bed. The container was filled with keyboards, Game Boy and Xbox gear, and action figures. She moved a keyboard, took out a box, and opened it. The box contained a thick roll of cash wrapped by a blue rubber band. "Four thousand, two hundred dollars. I counted. The first time, he had twenty-three hundred dollars. I found over seven thousand dollars here once. The amount changes." I sat back and stared at her. Devon was describing an income stream. "Did you ask him about the money?" "If I ask, he'll lie, just like he lied about the clothes and the watch. I want to know what he's doing and who he's doing it with before I confront him." "I can ask him." "If we ask, he'll know I snoop, and he'll still lie. Don't detectives follow people? You could follow him and see what he does." "Following someone is expensive. Asking is cheaper." Her mouth pinched, and she glanced away. Worried. "We should discuss your fee. I have a good job, but I'm not wealthy." "Okay. What would you like to know?" "How much would it cost to follow him?" "Two cars minimum, one op per car, ready to go twenty-four/seven. Call it three thousand a day." "Oh." She wet her lips, and her eyes lost focus. She was trying to figure out how to come up with the money, and all her options were bad. I had met a hundred parents like Devon, and seen the same fearful confusion in their eyes. Like people who didn't know how to swim, watching their children drown. I changed the subject. "How long has this been going on?" "Since the beginning of school." "And whatever he's doing, you believe he's doing it with students from school." Her eyes snapped into hard focus. "Tyson's never been in trouble. Tyson's a sweetheart! He stayed home all the time, he never went out, he was afraid of everything, but then he started changing. He met a girl." "Ah." "I was thrilled. Tyson doesn't meet girls. Tyson's afraid of girls." "Have you met her?" "He wouldn't tell me her name. He made friends with a boy named Alec. They go to the mall. I ask questions, but he's evasive and vague, or makes up more lies. Tyson was never like this. He never used to go to the mall, and now he's never home." Tyson sounded like any other teenage boy, except for the parts about money and watches. "He met Alec at school?" "I think so, but I checked the roster." She took a slim red booklet from Tyson's desk. The cover was emblazoned with a soaring bird and the name of the school. Cal-Matrix Alternative Education.  Where students soar. "I didn't find anyone named Alec or Alexander." We weren't exactly drowning in clues. I jiggled the watch. An authentic Rolex had serial and model numbers cut into the head behind the bracelet, or on the inner rim below the crystal. High-end fakes often had numbers, too, but fake numbers didn't appear in the manufacturer's records. "Tell you what. I have a friend who knows watches. She can tell us if the watch is real. She might even be able to tell us who owns it." "You can't take it. Tyson might notice." I told her about the numbers. "I'll take off the bracelet, and copy the numbers. The watch can stay." "You won't have to follow him?" "We'll start small to keep the costs down, and see what develops. Sound good?" Her face brightened, and split with a smile. "Perfect." I thought about the money and the watch she'd found, and wondered if Tyson had hidden anything else. "You searched his room, but what about his car?" "Only twice. When the car's home, he's home." "If you have a spare key, I'd like it. I'll check his car after I call in the watch." She started away for the key, then hesitated. "I saw on your website, The Elvis Cole Detective Agency. The website says your work is confidential." "That's right." "Meaning, when we find out what Tyson's doing, you won't tell the police?" "It depends." "The website doesn't say anything about depends." "If I find a human head in his trunk, I might feel the urge to report it." She smiled again, and turned away. "No human heads, Mr. Cole. Not yet." I didn't like the way she said 'yet.' Devon gave me the key and watched me copy the numbers. When the bracelet was back on the watch, she put the watch in the drawer, and we left the house together. Devon Connor drove away first. She had a long drive in bad traffic ahead, and was already late for work. Alternative schools were expensive, and so were detectives. I started my car, but I didn't leave. I pictured the skinny kid with gentle eyes who looked like a freshman. I pictured him sneaking cash into his room, and hiding it under his bed. There were many ways he could have gotten the cash, but none of the ways were good. Devon's pleasant, middle-class street was peaceful. No one was trying to murder her, or Tyson, or me, but this was about to change.   2   Sherri Toyoda and her family owned a watch shop in Santa Monica. The Toyodas sold moderately priced timepieces almost anyone could afford, but their restoration of antique and vintage collectibles had made them legends. Photographs of Sherri's parents with dignitaries, ­politicians, and movie stars covered the walls. Three U.S. presidents, eleven senators, and four Supreme Court justices were among their clients. I checked the numbers from the watch, and called her. "Guess who?" "Yesterday's bad news?" Sherri and I used to date. "I need help with a Rolex." "I'll help if I can, but we're not an authorized dealer." "I'm not shopping. This is a specific Cosmograph Daytona." "Sweet! If you can afford a Cosmo, I might date you again." Everyone thinks they're a riot. "I need to know if it's genuine." "Bring it in. I can tell if it's real in five seconds." "I don't have the watch. I have the serial and model numbers." "Do you have the chronometer certification that came with it?" "If I knew what a chronometer certification was, the answer would be no. All I have are the numbers." She was silent for a moment. "Okay, listen. I can check your numbers with a friend at the corporate office. If your numbers match his numbers, the watch is authentic." "Great." "Not so great if it's stolen. He'll want to know how I have the numbers, and why I'm asking. Is it?" "Could be. How would he know?" "Dude. You buy a watch like this, you're walking around with twenty or thirty thousand dollars on your wrist. Guess what?" "They get stolen." "Or lost, so the company keeps a list of AWOL watches for their clients. If you lose your watch, you give them the numbers. If your watch turns up, they know you're the rightful owner, and give you a shout." "Meaning, you could find out who owns it?" "Not necessarily. People sell watches. They give them as gifts. The company doesn't know." "Oh." "Are you trying to find the owner?" "Maybe." She thought some more. "I still might be able to help. Stores activate the warranty when someone buys a watch like this. The original buyer might be in the warranty files. Want me to check?" "You're the best, Sherri. Thanks." I read off the numbers, and lowered my phone, but I still didn't leave. Devon had searched Tyson's room, but she was his mom, and almost certainly missed something. I was a trained professional, and knew where to look. Or maybe I'd get lucky. I turned off my car, and walked up Devon's drive for the second time that morning. The side gate squealed, I passed Tyson's window, and let myself in through the kitchen. The Connor residence held three bedrooms and two baths. Tyson probably wouldn't hide something in his mother's bedroom or bath, so I skipped them, and started in Tyson's bathroom. Green streaks of toothpaste highlighted the sink, and the counter was forested with deodorant, mouthwash, zit cream, and all the usual bathroom items. A frazzled toothbrush and disposable razor stood sentry in a plastic X-Men cup. Tyson's medications were lined up beneath the mirror. The scripts bore Tyson's name, and were written for medicines commonly used to treat depression, anxiety, and attention deficit disorder. I found nothing out of the ordinary in the cabinets, behind the towels, or in the toilet tank. The third bedroom was set up as an office, but Devon used it as a catch-all room. Mirrored sliders filled a wall opposite a desk, a file cabinet, and a bookcase jammed with law books, paperback thrillers, and titles like  The Unhappy Child ,  Coping with Fear , and  The Single Mother's Rule Book . Cardboard boxes of Christmas decorations were stacked on a treadmill between the desk and a window, and the desk was heavy with bills, unread magazines, and a file devoted to Tyson's school. The file contained promotional brochures, articles, and another copy of the roster. I took a brochure and the roster, and moved on to Tyson's room. Excerpted from The Wanted by Robert Crais All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.