My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I love Elvis Cole novels. Crais is a master. He tries a few new techniques in Taken, and I wasn’t a fan of them all, though I did thoroughly enjoy the story.
One such literary technique: Crais flips from first-person point of view with Elvis, the world’s greatest detective, to third-person with every other character in the novel, including my favorite repeat character Joe Pike. You would think this shift in point of view would be jarring, but Crais pulls it off easily.
What didn’t work as well for me was the non-linear story telling. Rather than proceed from start to finish, Crais has us jumping around in time. I listened to the audiobook, and I literally had to stop my iPod and check because I was certain it had inadvertently skipped several chapters. Alas, that was not the case. Crais simply gives us story event #8 right after story event #4 and then comes back later with events 5, 6, and 7. It took some getting used to, and by the time we settled into linear story telling about three fourths of the way through the novel, I was at ease and content.
If there was a reason for this non-linear approach, I didn’t see it. If anything, it hurt the story by revealing events before they happened and robbed us of experiencing them in all their shock and awe. This felt like showing everyone’s hand in a poker game before the betting begins. It took a lot of fun out of the experience.
And yet I still give the thing four stars. Because after all, it is Robert Crais.