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Two Minute Rule - Robert Crais

I don't think I am alone in feeling that the last handful of books from Bob Crais have definitely lacked a spark that drove the early Elvis Cole books to be among the most read, most successful crime fiction novels of the 90's. Charm to burn coupled with some pretty tough plot lines have elevated Crais to the front ranks of the genre.

But for me, Bob's books of late have had a distinct 'what have you done for me lately' feel. Now that sounds worse than I mean it too. If any other author had written DEMOLITION ANGEL or THE LAST DETECTIVE I would have been very impressed with the promise that the author showed. But Bob's promise was proven in books like VOODOO RIVER and SUNSET EXPRESS.

Now for the good....

In some books, not all, I will read a passage that will stop me dead in my tracks, and break me down. The author in a few short words will whisper a secret in my ear that reveals a truth about the characters of their story that ultimately applies to my life. These moments are magic. Near the end of THE TWO MINUTE RULE, Bob wrote one of those moments... and he was home.

Max Holman is an ex-con bank robber, and on the eve of his release from prison his Cop son is murdered. Max has served time for his crime, but what ultimately drives him is his true debt to the wife and son he left to fend for themselves. Max is a 'bad' guy who is trying to become a good man. It will be his salvation even if it is the last thing he does.

Along for this journey is former FBI agent, Katherine Pollard. Tough and vulnerable. Sweet and bitter. Katherine is a great character. Did I mention she was the agent who arrested Max? I would love to see both these characters continue.

As a setting Crais employs L.A. to a much different effect. The Los Angeles of Michael Connelly has a mystical quality where naive illusions can still be fostered. Crais's LA is not like that. Crais's Los Angeles is much tougher, crueler place.

The meek should not enter.

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