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By Robert Crais
Putnam, 2011 ($26.95)
Reviewed by Rick McMahan
THE SENTRY is the third Joe Pike novel by Robert Crais. By happen chance of being in the right place at the wrong time, Joe sees two thugs enter a sandwich shop bent on no-good. Pike being Pike investigates and intervenes when he sees the two gangbangers giving a beating to the Cajun restaruant's owner, Wilson Smith. Smith and his Dru Rayne are reluctant to talk to police. In fact, it's like they have something to hide, and they do. We (the readers) don't know exactly what they have to hide, but since we were able to see the scene set in the middle of the Katrina hurricane in New Orleans where a true-psycho is "interviewing" (ie-torturing) someone about "the girl" we already know bad news is coming for them. So when Joe meets Dru Rayne and saves her uncle from two gangbangers we know it's just the start of a storm. We don't know why, but we know it's coming. Street gangs, drug cartels and this mysterious psychopath are all circling the New Orleans expatriates, Wilson Smith and Dru Rayne. Having been smitten by Dru Rayne, Joe names himself the pair's personal guardian (or avenging?) angel. As these circling forces close in, the reader isn't nearly as afraid of these violent men as we are of our fear for Joe Pike's heart. Joe Pike has a crush on Dru Rayne, and we fear his heartbreak more than we fear the violence.
With THE SENTRY, Crais has a made another fine addition to the Joe Pike and Elvis Cole saga.
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