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Extended Audio Sample The First Rule Audiobook, by Robert Crais Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (6,032 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robert Crais Narrator: Robert Crais Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Elvis Cole / Joe Pike Novels Release Date: January 2010 ISBN: 9781423375524
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Not a word is wasted in this suspenseful, hair-raising page-turner that also reveals the humanity of Pike, generally a stolid and silent character, as he mourns his friend's death. Crime master Crais is at his best here.”

    Library Journal

  • “Pike emerges as an enigmatically appealing hero, whose lethal skills never overshadow his unflappable sense of morality.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “It’s a good plot, and Crais keeps it spinning with his accustomed skill. He’s a stylist; his action scenes are not so much written as choreographed.”

    Washington Post

  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • Selected for the January 2010 Indie Next List
  • A 2011 Shamus Award Nominee for Best Hardcover PI Novel
  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cynda | 2/18/2014

    " Excellent mystrey by one of the best authors today. I'm looking forward to more Joe Pike Mysteries. He's the kind of character you would like to have on your side when the times get tough. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judy | 2/15/2014

    " I am a big fan of Elvis Cole, the detective usually featured in the Robert Crais books but this one features his partner, Joe Pike. A story with lots of shady characters and lots of suspense. The ending was just right. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Yeva | 2/11/2014

    " I thought The Sentry was really good, but this book is even better. Friendship, loyalty, bravery,,,it's all bound together in this story. One of Joe's men is killed along with his family, and Joe;s mission becomes proving his man's innocence and finding the killer. The female FBI agent in this story, though, is lame. I'm not sure a guy like Pike would bow to such a hard-nosed bitch. She really bugged me, but HEY that's good writing when you want to take out a character on your own. Not just erase her--Take Her Out! The other characters were great, and Cole was on top of his game. I heartily recommend this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Terry Curtis | 1/17/2014

    " Crais at his best. Very, very dark. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joanne | 1/16/2014

    " Joe Pike has the lead in this book - and Elvis Cole is in it as well. I'd give it a 3.5 - lots of twists and turns. And Joe Pike has a soft side...go figure "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eric Bernstein | 1/9/2014

    " Got a bit sloppy towards the end. I think Crais likes to write action and sometimes it feels like he forces more giant battle scenes than are really necessary. The battle at the end here really didn't seem necessary - could have been cleaner. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 LoganErin | 1/9/2014

    " Good, but slightly confusing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cheryl A. | 12/22/2013

    " First read of any book by Crais. This one was really good. Now moving into older books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patt | 12/20/2013

    " Joe Pike is a great character. This book is about friendship and loyalty-wherever they may take you. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robert | 12/19/2013

    " My first Crais. Good airplane read of an interesting partnership in crime detection laced with some philosophical humor "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janice Reisman | 10/12/2013

    " This is the first time I've read anything by Robert Crais, and I have to say that I'll be back for more. I love the character Joe Pike, and enjoyed reading a book in which he is the main character. I do find some of the situations somewhat unbelieveable, but I did enjoy the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tom | 10/8/2013

    " would have gotten 4 starts if he had gotten any girl. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Denise | 9/23/2013

    " Taut, gripping, engaging, but kind of drags the last 90 pages or so. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erick Souliere | 12/17/2012

    " was my first book by Robert Crais, was awesome, lots of suspense and intensity. won't be my last one "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patti | 6/30/2012

    " Wow! This second book in the Joe Pike series is just as good, if not better than the first one. I am wondering how I missed this author and why I have never read him before. I am going to order all of the Elvis Cole books from the library. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peter Rodrigues | 6/27/2012

    " I prefer Elvis Cole to Joe Pike. Team Cole? Very well paced. I particularly enjoy Crais' focus on the investigation as well as the constant action; it gives the action meaning. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sonia | 5/31/2012

    " Read the condensed version. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Wilma | 5/27/2012

    " I little violent for my taste. I loved Pike with Peter. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cecilie Lee | 4/16/2012

    " It was pretty good but not my favorite. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aynge | 3/1/2012

    " Another solid read from Crais. Okay, I miss Elvis' narration, but he has 4 LOL lines and appears quite a bit. Fast paced and action packed! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathleen Brunnett | 1/23/2012

    " Looking for an author somewhat similar to Harlan Coben, Robert Crais was recommended to me. I enjoyed the partnership of Joe Pike and Elvis Cole in this novel. Fast paced thriller with some dry wit thrown in. Will definitely read more from this author about these two characters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marsie | 12/2/2011

    " FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC!!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeanine | 11/21/2011

    " Just have to say, I love this one. Joe Pike is great! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Doctorwu51 | 11/11/2011

    " Not my favorite Crais book, this one seems pretty formulaic in my opinion and reads like a plot for an action/adventure movie. The author writes reliably entertaining crime novels, but this one lacks the depth of some of his other offerings, give me L.A Requiem anytime. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Irene | 5/23/2011

    " Audio -- the book may have gotten a 2.5 from me until I got to the scene with the dogs. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara | 5/21/2011

    " I love those strong, silent types with .9mm automatics. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jan | 5/6/2011

    " I enjoy the main character and wouldn't hesitate to read another of his books.
    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael | 4/28/2011

    " Robert Crais does a great with the Cole and Pike series. This is an excellent read nominally plausible but well constructed with engaging characters. Great Beach read or any read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 4/27/2011

    " I enjoyed it, but I hope Pike isn't going to turn into Reacher. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Neil | 4/21/2011

    " A rather complicated story about Eastern European mafia, rather bloody details of gory torture, not too sure if I would read another book by him "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marcie | 4/15/2011

    " This was the first Joe Pike novel I have read. I don't usually read about organized gangs but once I got past the first few pages I was hooked. I couldn't put it down. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 April | 4/1/2011

    "
    I didn't care for this Elvis Cole novel, but will keep an open mind while I
    read others. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joseph | 3/31/2011

    " Meh. It is typical by the number comic book thriller. The bad guys are all swarthy fat guys. The good guys always win the fight - a bit too easily. The gov't people are mostly fools and in the way. I dont read a lot of this. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shannon | 3/31/2011

    " Fast paced, gory and somewhat sad all around. Another one where Pike avenges things. Pike doesn't have much depth and what little bit of empathy he has is shown in just a small window in this book. However, Pike's not about empathy but settling scores and he does so in fine style again. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sonia | 3/31/2011

    " Read the condensed version. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Craig | 3/30/2011

    " I almost gave this four stars just because there is not a single rogue CIA agent in it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mike | 3/30/2011

    " Crais needs to realize that Joe Pike is no Elvis Cole. Elvis has all the personality of his name sake, and so does Pike. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anna | 3/29/2011

    " It was okay. Glad I was finished with it. "

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About the Author
Author Robert Crais

Robert Crais is an American author of numerous New York Times bestsellers, including Taken, which debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. He received the Ross Macdonald Literary Award in 2006, The Eye—Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010, and the Mystery Writers of America’s Grand Master Award in 2014. He has written for such acclaimed television shows as L.A. Law, Cagney and Lacey, Miami Vice, and Hill Street Blues. A film adaptation of his novel Hostage was released in 2005, starring Bruce Willis as ex-LAPD SWAT negotiator Jeff Talley.