One of the blurbs for this book insists that this may be the "deadliest case" that Elvis Cole and Joe Pike have ever taken on. Considering some of the previous cases that they've barely survived, that may be a bit of a stretch, but The Wanted is still a very engrossing thriller and it's a lot of fun to read.
The book opens when Elvis is hired by Devon Connor, a hard-working single mother who's trying to raise a teenage son on her own. Under the best of circumstances, this is not an easy task, but Devon freaks out when she finds her son in possession of a Rolex watch worth several thousand dollars. The kid, Tyson, claims that the watch is a knockoff, that it's not worth anything, and that his mom shouldn't worry.
Devon worries that her kid might be dealing drugs and calls in Elvis to figure out what's actually going on. It turns out that Tyson, previously a shy and withdrawn boy, has fallen under the spell of a sexy new girlfriend. Elvis fairly quickly discovers that the problem is much worse than drugs. Tyson, his new main squeeze, and another boy have been ripping off the houses of wealthy people who are away from their homes. They've converted the things they've stolen into a pile of cash which they are flashing around and spending like crazy at trendy clubs. And when Mom starts asking too many question, Tyson disappears.
Unfortunately, the trio of thieves has inadvertently stolen something particularly meaningful to a very rich man who has no scruples whatsoever. He, in turn, has hired a couple of particularly nasty characters to track down the thieves and recover his property before it falls into the wrong hands. At this point, these kids had better pray that Elvis and his partner, Joe Pike, find them first.
The only problem I had with the book was that, for me at least, it strained credulity to think that these three high school kids could have such a long successful string of ripping off the houses of such wealthy people, virtually all of which have very elaborate security systems, and especially given the way in which the thieves are lavishly spending the proceeds of their burglaries. Realistically, the cops should have had them very early on, and it was hard to believe that they hadn't found these kids long before Cole was even called into action. But setting aside that concern, I really enjoyed the book. Elvis Cole is one of my favorite crime fiction characters and I always enjoy following his adventures.