After taking a break with a standalone novel, Robert Crais returns to his signature Elvis Cole-Joe Pike duo in The Watchman. While previous books in the series focus on private eye Cole and his Fletch-like one-liners, this one features the enigmatic Pike. From the 10 previous books in the series, we know Pike is a tough ex-cop who owns a gun store and skirts the law as he helps Cole solve cases. In this book, we learn why Pike left the LAPD and became a mercenary. We also find out Pike has a soft spot beneath his rugged exterior, something that comes to light while Pike serves as the bodyguard for a young woman, which is the premise of the book. As Pike uses his training to keep the woman alive, Cole uses his investigation skills to find out why she is being targeted by assassins and who is responsible. (Pike also enlists the help of LAPD forensic criminalist John Chen, whose hilarious, scene-stealing character reminds me a lot of Vince Masuka, the sex-crazed forensic technician in Showtime’s outstanding series, Dexter.) The result is a book that is enjoyable, although things don’t add up for me. I raved about Crais’ last book, The Two Minute Rule, which I really liked. But an abrupt plot turn near the end of the book followed by an unlikely, unexplained coincidence puts this book in the very good but not great category, despite the awards it has won.