Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Two-Minute Rule (2006) by Robert Crais

The Two-Minute Rule (2006) by Robert Crais: On the day bank robber Max Holman gets out of jail after a ten-year sentence, his son is murdered. Holman had been estranged from his son for more than a decade. And his son was a police officer. So begins The Two-Minute Rule.

Best known for his Elvis Cole and Joe Pike detective thrillers, writer Robert Crais here builds a compelling and sympathetic character in Holman, dubbed "the Hero Bandit" by the press because he got arrested at his last robbery while performing CPR on one of the bank's customers. As his son's murder looks fishier and fishier, and while the LAPD deems it closed, Holman calls on the help of the former FBI agent who put him away, Katherine Pollard.

Crais makes the nuts-and-bolts of crime, law enforcement, and bank robberies entertaining. More importantly, Holman is his most fully developed character, at least within the pages of one novel rather than a series. Holman is believable even when the plot gets twisty and turny. So too Pollard, retired early to raise a son, left alone when her estranged husband died of a heart attack, and now bored -- and in debt -- in her unwelcome retirement.

Everything builds to the sort of climax that seems ripe for a decent Hollywood director. Crais is an expert choreographer of action sequences, and this is one of his best -- and at points funniest. Recommended.

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