"Joe Pike is a conscious representative of our righteous rage at injustice.
A longtime fan favourite, JOE PIKE is the strong silent partner of Robert Crais' Elvis Cole. In 2007, Pike finally took center stage in The Watchman, a novel that coincidentally marked the twentieth anniversary of The Monkey's Raincoat, the novel which introduced both Cole and Pike.
Rumor has it that originally Crais had no intention of creating a sidekick and had intended to kill Pike off in that first outing. Pike, however, turned out to be extremely hard to kill off -- which should come as absolutely no surprise to most readers. After all, if the early Cole drew comparisons to the early Spenser, Pike was clearly an ex-cop version of Hawk -- and just as cryptic and just as indestructible.
And a funny thing happened over the course of the next two decades: At first the stone-faced Pike may indeed have been somewhat one-dimensional and a little too cartoonish (carrying weapons in guitar cases, listing his occupation as "mercenary," and characterized mostly by his trademark scowl, the red arrow tattoos on his delts and his 24/7 shades). However, Pike (like Cole) soon evolved, emerging as a surprisingly complicated man, scarred in childhood, decorated in war, and intent upon hiding his pain behind a "mask."
In The Watchman, Elvis is still on the mend from wounds sustained in The Forgotten Man (2005), takes a back seat, allowing Pike to take centre stage. And Pike's certainly up to the task. To honor a debt from the past (as related in the Elvis 2002 novel The Last Detective), Joe agrees to protect a spoiled, pampered 22-year old debutante who's become the target of an army of professional killers.
Joe still doesn't say much, though. In a flasback in The Watchman, he introduces himself on his first day on the job in Rampart Division:
BIG NOTE OF WHOA
AIN'T IT A SMALL WORLD?
Report respectfully submitted by "Sgt." H. Kelly Levendor.
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