"The Wanted" by Robert Crais (G.P. Putnam & Sons, 2018)


I liked this book the minute I looked inside: 307 pages, with large leading between the lines; short chapters and U.S. names – a comfort read.  I’m interviewing Crais, one of the U.S.’s bestselling mystery authors at the Tucson Festival of Books.  He has twenty books in his bibliography and is going strong--The Wanted is his new bestseller.

Crais handles the many elements of his mystery with ease.  He introduces characters that most readers know intimately; his protagonists, Elvis Cole and Joe Pike are featured in 16 of his books.  I've not read any of them, but  Elvis and Joe were immediately familiar to me.  I never felt like the backstory was missing.  His new characters, a devoted single mom, her teenage, spineless son and his wacky girlfriend, become embroiled with major crime due to the teens’ burglary spree.  There is a unique criminal team, who may be lovers, that provides a taste of comic relief—reminded me the radio comedians Bob and Ray (RIP), professional and droll. 

Crais’s writing style flows, carrying the reader in a bubble of good writing and thoughtful character development.  The tag lines that appear at the end of chapters bring characters further into the reader’s confidence. You are reading their minds.  It’s an elegant device and paces the plot. 

I enjoyed The Wanted.  It’s a great plane read (5 to 6 hours).  If Robert Crais is even a bit like Elvis Cole, I’ll be the privileged interviewer.