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Robert Crais: the man who kicked the tattooed girl

February 4, 2011 |  9:42 am

Robertcrais_sentryRobert Crais' "The Sentry" tops our hardcover fiction bestseller list this week, for the third week in a row. Crais' Los Angeles-centric story interrupts the chokehold Lisbeth Salander has had on the bestseller list; Salander is, of course, the fictional star of the trilogy "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," "The Girl Who Played with Fire" and "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest."

Crais' novel is the third in his Joe Pike series. Reviewer Paula Woods writes:

Being a Joe Pike novel, the action in "The Sentry" is intense and the body count high, but what is more memorable is the manner in which Crais cracks open the door into the enigmatic Pike's emotions and, in the process, explores Pike's experience of love and also the bonds of male friendship. Crais had planned his new book to feature Elvis Cole, but all of that changed, he explained in a recent interview, when he imagined Pike meeting a woman in Venice after he'd saved her uncle from a robbery.

"The way Pike looked at her," Crais told the interviewer, "I knew I had to follow their story."

On the nonfiction list, Amy Chua's "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" holds its position at No. 4, for the second week running. To move up the charts, it will have to beat Keith Richards' memoir "Life," the historical biography "Cleopatra" by Stacy Schiff and "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand. That might be tough: "Unbroken" was just chosen by NPR for its February book club.

What's more, "Unbroken" is the story of Louis Zamperini, a Southern California teen troublemaker turned Olympic runner turned World War II flyer and prisoner of war. Can a Tiger Mother be equally tough?

Preview the L.A. Times bestseller list every week here.

-- Carolyn Kellogg