Joe Pike has had his partner's back in 11 of Crais's 13 Elvis Cole novels. Yet in 2007's The Watchman and in 2010's The First Rule, Crais spotlighted Pike rather than Los Angeles PI Cole. Fans will celebrate as Pike is once again the alpha male. Stuff happens early on as the ex-marine, ex-cop, and ex-mercenary stamps out an armed robbery attempt. Pike's gallantry impresses Dru Rayne, and her lively eyes chip away at his hardened armor. During a second break-in, Dru is kidnapped, and Pike pushes hard to rescue her. This warrior bent on restoring order is cool in battle, but Crais avoids overloading his yarn with cinematic action. A creepy serial killer, Latino gangbangers, and nasty cops crank up the suspense. Lies and betrayal conceal the real bad guys, prompting Pike to enlist Elvis Cole's help. Crais's buddy system is alive and well. VERDICT Steve McQueen in The Magnificent Seven, Jack Reacher, and now Joe Pike: three cheers for testosterone! Stock up with multiple copies. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 8/10.]-Rollie Welch, Cleveland P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.