Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 150121053X, Audio CD)
Three Robert Crais titles together for the first time in one collection
The First Rule
The organized criminal gangs of the former Soviet Union are bound by what they call the thieves’ code. The first rule is this: A thief must forsake his mother, father, brothers, and sisters. He must have no family—no wife, no children—because only other criminals are his family. If any of the rules are broken, it is punishable by death. Frank Meyer had the American dream—a wife and family he adored, a successful business—until the day a professional crew invaded his home and murdered everyone inside. The only thing out of the ordinary about Meyer was that—before the family and the business and the normal life—a younger Frank Meyer worked as a professional military contractor, a mercenary, with a man named Joe Pike. Frank was one of Pike’s guys, and they faced death together in every rotten hellhole around the world. The police think Meyer was hiding something very bad, because previous home invasions by the crew had targeted only criminals with large stashes of cash or drugs. Pike cannot believe it, and with the help of Cole, he sets out on a hunt of his own: to clear his friend, to punish the people who murdered him. A trail that at first seems relatively simple, however, very quickly becomes complicated, as the two of them find themselves entangled in a web of ancient grudges, blood ties, blackmail, vengeance, double crosses, and cutthroat criminality, and at the heart of it all, an act so terrible even Pike and Cole have no way to measure it.
Five years ago, Dru Rayne and her uncle fled from Louisiana to Los Angeles after Hurricane Katrina hit, but now they face a different kind of danger. A neighborhood protection gang savagely beats Dru’s uncle, but Pike witnesses it and offers his own brand of protection. Oddly enough, neither of them seems to want it—and neither do the federal agents mysteriously watching their storefront, men who appear quite willing to let the gang have its way. None of that deters Pike—there’s something about Dru that touches him and he won’t back away, whether she wants his help or not—but as the level of violence escalates, and Pike himself becomes a target, he and Elvis Cole begin to discover some things. Dru and her uncle are not who they seem, and everything Pike thought he knew about them, their relationship to the gang, and the reasons they fled New Orleans—it’s all been lies. A vengeful and murderous force is catching up to them...and it’s perfectly happy to sweep Pike and Cole up in its wake.
Crais has never written a book with the power and intensity of Taken. When Nita Morales hires Elvis Cole to find her missing adult daughter, she isn’t afraid, even though she’s gotten a phone call asking for ransom. She knows it’s a fake, that her daughter is off with the guy Nita will call only “that boy,” and that they need money: “Even smart girls do stupid things when they think a boy loves them.” But she is wrong. The girl and her boyfriend have been taken by bajadores—bandits who prey on other bandits, border professionals who prey not only on innocent victims, but on one another. They steal drugs, guns, and people—buying and selling victims like commodities, and killing the ones they can’t get a price for. Cole and Pike find the spot where the couple were taken. There are tire tracks, bullet casings, and bloodstains. They know things look as bad as possible. But they are wrong, too. It is about to get much worse. Going undercover to find the couple and buy them back, Cole himself is taken, and disappears. Now it is up to Joe Pike to retrace Cole’s steps, burning through the hard and murderous world of human traffickers to find his friend. But he may already be too late.