Robert Crais






Orion Publishing, March, 2006
Reviewed by Sunnie Gill

Two minutes. Thatís all you have. Just two minutes to be in and out of the bank. Overstay those two minutes and your chances of being caught by the cops increase with every second. Thatís the rule Max Holman used when he was pulling bank jobs. But one day a customer had a heart attack and Holman couldnít walk away. He was caught by the FBI because he stayed to administer CPR. The old man lived, but in many ways Maxís life ended there.

Ten years later on the eve of his release from prison, Holman receives the news that his son, whom he hasnít seen since the boy was 8 years old, is dead. Holmanís fears of ďlike father like sonĒ are awakened when he is told his son, a police officer, was shot with three others in a drainage culvert. There are whispers of police corruption. Holmanís first act of freedom is to attend his sonís funeral.

After being given the brush-off by the detectives investigating the case, Holman decides to try and clear his sonís name. Itís the least he can do for being such a lousy father. Holman contacts Katherine Pollard, the FBI agent who arrested him ten years earlier. Katherineís life has changed too. Her husband died several years previously and sheís been left alone to raise her two sons. Sheís no longer an FBI agent. Pollard reluctantly agrees to help and together the two embark on an investigation that pushes them both to their limits.

TWO MINUTE RULE is a good pacy puzzler with several layers beyond that puzzle. In particular the relationship between Pollard and Holman is nicely complex. They are two people from opposite sides of the fence, with different strengths trying to work together and having to overcome mutual distrust to get to the truth of the murders. Pollard has contacts with the FBI and some access to police information. Holman has friends from his days as a criminal who are able to help in other ways. There is also the added element of Holman trying to adjust to life outside of prison and keeping one step ahead of the authorities in his endeavours to clear his sonís name.

TWO MINUTE RULE is set in Los Angeles and Author Robert Crais has managed to give the reader a strong sense of the city, without overpowering the plot. The layers of the mystery, the relationship between two main protagonists and Holmanís struggle not to return to his old ways, all contribute to a book that easily holds the readerís interest. If there is any quibble about TWO MINUTE RULE itís that a couple of aspects of the final resolution are just a little too comfortable, but itís such a minor thing that it doesnít detract from the overall enjoyment of the book.

June 2006 review first published on Murder and Mayhem


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