The Two Minute Rule

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Overview

Two minutes can be a lifetime.

Ask anyone on the wrong side of the law about the two-minute rule and they'll tell you that's as long as you can hope for at a robbery before the cops show up. Break the two-minute rule and it's a lifetime in jail. But not everyone plays by the rules. . .

When ex-con Max Holman finally gets out of jail, freedom doesn't taste too sweet. The only thing on his mind is reconciliation with his estranged son, who is, ...

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2006 Hardcover Book Club Edition New in New dust jacket 0743281616. 1.26 x 8.50 x 5.75; 336 pages; Max Holman came out of jail with one oal, to rekindle a relationship with his ... son who is a cop. But when he hears the devastating news that his son and three other police officers are gunned down in what is thought to be revenge killing in a cloud of police corruption, Max vows to find the killers and clear his son's reputation. Read more Show Less

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2006 Hardcover 1st Edition New in New jacket Signed by Author(s) 0743281616 First print. Signed in person by the author directly on the full title page not inscribed, clipped or ... otherwise marked. Brand new and unread. Read more Show Less

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SIGNED in person, tiny faint speck front panel, otherwise a fine, new book and dustjacket in Brodart. This is the story of Max Holman, an ex-bank robber who has just spent ten ... years in prison. As the story opens he is being released and wants above all to connect with his estranged son, who is now a police officer. That hope is soon shattered when he finds out that his son and three other police officers were just shot in Los Angele's warehouse district. Evidence seems to point to a certain Alejandro Juarez, a gang biggie. But Holman isn't satisfied with this explanation and goes out on his own to find answers, soon enlists the help of the ex-FBI agent who put him away, and tries to stay out of danger. A good story that moves along suspensefully. Read more Show Less

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The Two Minute Rule

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Overview

Two minutes can be a lifetime.

Ask anyone on the wrong side of the law about the two-minute rule and they'll tell you that's as long as you can hope for at a robbery before the cops show up. Break the two-minute rule and it's a lifetime in jail. But not everyone plays by the rules. . .

When ex-con Max Holman finally gets out of jail, freedom doesn't taste too sweet. The only thing on his mind is reconciliation with his estranged son, who is, ironically, a cop. But then he hears the devastating news: His son and three other uniformed cops were gunned down in cold blood in Los Angeles the night before Holman's release. When the hit is exposed as a revenge killing and the question of police corruption is raised, it becomes a father's last duty to clear his son's name and catch the killer. With all the elements that have made Robert Crais one of the very best crime writers today, The Two Minute Rule is gripping, edgy suspense from the author who sets the standard when it comes to surprising plot twists and powerful characters.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Murderers know they can take their time, but bank robbers live by an inviolable rule: Don't tarry in the bank longer than two minutes or you'll wind up in the clinker. When career criminal Max Holman broke the guideline, he paid ten years for his mistake. On the day of his eagerly anticipated release, he learns that his son, an LAPD officer, has been gunned down. Investigators assure him that the killer acted alone and then committed suicide, but for cynical Max, the explanation just doesn't cut the mustard. With the help of the only woman he trusts, he turns his hard-knocks schooling to a good purpose. A gritty, plausible noir thriller.
Publishers Weekly
If Bruce Willis's face keeps coming to mind whenever former bank robber Max Holman speaks in this sharp and touching audio version of Crais's latest bestseller, it's not surprising. Willis starred in the movie of Crais's Hostage and would be perfect as Holman. But Graybill does a good job of making Max more than just an imitation. His Holman quickly comes to life as a bruised, repentant man seeking revenge against those who shot and killed his 23-year-old LAPD rookie son, just a day before Holman's release from prison. Graybill is also skilled at making the lesser roles real and different: the cops who worked with his son cover a range of voices and attitudes, as do the petty criminals, gang members and assorted villains Max encounters. Graybill is especially good at catching the combination of weariness, frustration and basic decency of Katherine Pollard, the former FBI agent who arrested Holman 10 years ago and is now an unemployed single mother and the only person who will help him search for his son's killers. It's one of the author's best books, and audio listeners should quickly be caught up in its subtle, ironic excitement. Simultaneous release with the S&S hardcover (Reviews, Jan. 9). (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
As Max Holman is being released from jail following a term for bank robbery, his estranged son, a Los Angeles police officer, is murdered along with three other cops in the dry bed of the Los Angeles River. The two on-duty and two off-duty officers were apparently killed by someone they knew while sharing a couple of early morning beers. Max wants the killer; he wants revenge at the risk of his job, his parole, even his life-it's personal. This fast-paced, intense murder mystery is very much about impressions and assumptions: the chasms among various cultures (criminal, law enforcement, ex-con), relationships (societal, family, cultural), and economic categories that conspire to dictate how our pasts prejudice our understanding of the world and also prejudice how the world understands us. Crais offers some very interesting characters, a very solid story with fascinating plot twists, and lots of interesting information about bank robberies, law enforcement, and the Los Angeles area. Well produced and well read with feeling and expertise by Christopher Graybill. Very highly recommended for adult collections.-Cliff Glaviano, Bowling Green State Univ. Libs., OH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A bank robber turns detective to avenge the son who's always hated him, in this turbocharged suspenser from Crais (The Forgotten Man, 2005, etc.). The day Max Holman finally jumps through the last hoop and goes free after ten years as a guest of the state, he learns that his son Richard has been gunned down, along with three LAPD colleagues. The four cops were executed while drinking under the Fourth Street bridge, he's told; the shooter was Warren Juarez, who had a grudge against the sergeant who'd arrested his brother, and the case is closed when Juarez obligingly commits suicide. Max doesn't buy a word of it. He doesn't think Juarez killed three cops more than he needed to, and he doesn't think anybody could've gotten the drop on the four officers unless they knew and trusted him. With no family or friends to turn to, Max calls Katherine Pollard, the FBI agent who considered him a hero of sorts when she sent him up ten years ago, not knowing she's left the Agency and feels as much an outsider as he does. For such an awkward pair-he's determined to prove that Richie wasn't the dirty cop he seemed to be; she feels she owes him something even though she's warned by everyone around her just how toxic their association is-they click surprisingly well as a team, and soon they've learned enough about a missing $15 million jackpot to get themselves into serious trouble. Dead cops, dirty cops, an unlikely romance between a law enforcement officer and a tarnished character in the City of Angels-it all sounds like L.A. Confidential, and you can be sure that Crais is aiming for the same big-ticket movie sale with a fast-moving case that reads like a 300-page treatment. First printing of 200,000
From the Publisher
Robert Crais's shattering New York Times bestseller is "irresistible...up there with Michael Connelly and Dennis Lehane." — The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

"Turbocharged suspense...in the City of Angels." — Kirkus Reviews

"Crais just keeps getting better." — People

"Crais is a master of suspense." — The New York Sun

"Heart-Pounding." — Los Angeles Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743281614
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 2/21/2006
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Crais
Robert Crais is the 2006 recipient of the Ross Macdonald Literary Award. He is the author of numerous New York Times bestsellers, including The Two Minute Rule, The Forgotten Man, and L.A. Requiem.

Biography

Los Angeles is known as the city of dreams, largely because so many Americans dream of breaking into the Hollywood film and television industry. In 1976, Robert Crais went west from Louisiana to pursue that very dream. As it turned out, he became one of the lucky few to break into the industry in a big way. Crais has since written for such hugely popular TV shows as Quincy, Cagney and Lacey, Miami Vice, Hill Street Blues, and L.A. Law, just to name a few. However, after achieving such success (which included a prestigious Emmy nomination) in a business that so many would give everything to break into, Robert Crais decided to step away and pursue his true dream. Frustrated by the collaborative process that comes with screenwriting, and inspired by pulp-pioneers such as Raymond Chandler, Crais became a mystery novelist. With his massively popular Elvis Cole/Joe Pike mysteries series, it seems as though success has a funny way of following Crais no matter what he decides to do.

Crais published his very first novel in 1987. The Monkey's Raincoat introduced mystery fans to Elvis Cole and Joe Pike, a pair of L.A. private investigators who would become his most-beloved recurring characters. Crais's transition from screenwriting to novel-writing was an astoundingly smooth one. The Monkey's Raincoat earned him nominations for the Edgar, Anthony, Shamus, and Macavity awards, winning both the Anthony and Macavity for "Best Novel of the Year." Crais's publisher was so overjoyed by the novel's success that he encouraged Crais to keep the Cole/Pike team going. "I started writing these books to get away from writing other people's concepts, like TV and movies," Crais told Barnes&Noble.com. "I never expected to write these guys as a series...but the book proved to be so popular and the characters were so popular that my publisher wanted more." What followed was a series of bestselling mysteries, including Stalking the Angel (1989), Free Fall (1993), L.A. Requiem (1999), and last year's The Forgotten Man.

Although the series was not part of Crais's original plan, he still seems to hold the Cole and Pike team closer to his heart than anything he has previously written. He explained, "The characters have deepened, and I think they kind of reflect what's going on with me and the world as I see it." When asked about whether or not we can expect to see the crime-solving buddies on the big screen anytime soon, he said, "I think I would have a difficult time in the collaborative process when other people suddenly put their fingerprints on Elvis and Joe," further illustrating his personal feelings for his P.I. team.

As much as Crais loves his series, he does occasionally write novels outside of the Cole/Pike world. His latest, The Two-Minute Rule, tells the story of career criminal Max Holman, a recently released-from-prison bank robber who finds himself hunting an entirely different kind of criminal after his son is gunned down. The book has since raked in positive reviews from such publications as Booklist, Publisher's Weekly, and The Library Journal. While The Two-Minute Rule does not feature Cole and Pike, Crais fans will notice one significant similarity between his latest novel and his famous series -- the Los Angeles setting. "I can't think of a better place to set crime novels because of what Los Angeles is. Los Angeles is the main where the nation goes to make its dreams come true. When you have a place like that where so many people are risking their very identities, not just money and cash, but they're risking who they are because it's their hopes and dreams, when you have that kind of tension and that kind of friction, you can't help but have crime."

Fortunately, Crais will never have to succumb to such friction and tension since, for a success story such as he, Los Angeles completely lived up to its promise of being the city of dreams.

Good To Know

Some fun and fascinating outtakes from our interview with Crais:

"My first job was cleaning dog kennels. It was especially, ah, aromatic during those hot, humid Louisiana summers, but it prepared me for Hollywood."

"My fiction is almost always inspired by a character's need or desire to rise above him-or herself. No one is perfect and some of us have much adversity in our lives; it is those people who struggle to rise above their nature or background that I find the most interesting and heroic."

"Fun details? Like Elvis Cole, I have a dry sense of humor. Sometimes I am so dry that people don't know I'm kidding and think I'm being serious. I enjoy this because their reactions are often funny. Also, I wear beautifully colored shirts like Elvis Cole, only I was wearing them before him. People will say, ‘Look, RC dresses just like Elvis Cole,' and I'll say, 'No, Elvis Cole dresses like me!' I also wear sunglasses like Joe Pike, but not indoors and not at night."

"Elvis Cole wrote two episodes of television. No lie. It happened like this: I had written episodes of Miami Vice and Jag that were rewritten by person or persons unknown -- changed so badly that I didn't want my name on them, so I used Elvis Cole's name as a pen name."

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    1. Hometown:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 20, 1953
    2. Place of Birth:
      Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    1. Education:
      B.S., Louisiana State University, 1976; Clarion Writers Workshop at Michigan State University
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

The Two Minute Rule


By Robert Crais

Simon & Schuster

Copyright © 2006 Robert Crais
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0743281616

Chapter One

"You're not too old. Forty-six isn't old, these days. You got a world of time to make a life for yourself."

Holman didn't answer. He was trying to decide how best to pack. Everything he owned was spread out on the bed, all neatly folded: four white T-shirts, three Hanes briefs, four pairs of white socks, two short-sleeved shirts (one beige, one plaid), one pair of khaki pants, plus the clothes he had been wearing when he was arrested for bank robbery ten years, three months, and four days ago.

"Max, you listening?"

"I gotta get this stuff packed. Lemme ask you something -- you think I should keep my old stuff, from before? I don't know as I'll ever get into those pants."

Wally Figg, who ran the Community Correctional Center, which was kind of a halfway house for federal prisoners, stepped forward to eye the pants. He picked them up and held them next to Holman. The cream-colored slacks still bore scuff marks from when the police had wrestled Holman to the floor in the First United California Bank ten years plus three months ago. Wally admired the material.

"That's a nice cut, man. What is it, Italian?"

"Armani."

Wally nodded, impressed.

"I'd keep'm, I was you. Be a shame to lose something this nice."

"I got four inches more in the waist now than back then."

In the day, Holman had lived large. He stole cars, hijacked trucks, and robbed banks. Fat with fast cash, he hoovered up crystal meth for breakfast and Maker's Mark for lunch, so jittery from dope and hung over from booze he rarely bothered to eat. He had gained weight in prison.

Wally refolded the pants.

"Was me, I'd keep'm. You'll get yourself in shape again. Give yourself something to shoot for, gettin' back in these pants."

Holman tossed them to Wally. Wally was smaller.

"Better to leave the past behind."

Wally admired the slacks, then looked sadly at Holman.

"You know I can't. We can't accept anything from the residents. I'll pass'm along to one of the other guys, you want. Or give'm to Goodwill."

"Whatever."

"You got a preference, who I should give'm to?"

"No, whoever."

"Okay. Sure."

Holman went back to staring at his clothes. His suitcase was an Albertsons grocery bag. Technically, Max Holman was still incarcerated, but in another hour he would be a free man. You finish a federal stretch, they don't just cross off the last X and cut you loose; being released from federal custody happened in stages. They started you off with six months in an Intensive Confinement Center where you got field trips into the outside world, behavioral counseling, additional drug counseling if you needed it, that kind of thing, after which you graduated to a Community Correctional Center where they let you live and work in a community with real live civilians. In the final stages of his release program, Holman had spent the past three months at the CCC in Venice, California, a beach community sandwiched between Santa Monica and Marina del Rey, preparing himself for his release. As of today, Holman would be released from full-time federal custody into what was known as supervised release -- he would be a free man for the first time in ten years.

Wally said, "Well, okay, I'm gonna go get the papers together. I'm proud of you, Max. This is a big day. I'm really happy for you."

Holman layered his clothes in the bag. With the help of his Bureau of Prisons release supervisor, Gail Manelli, he had secured a room in a resident motel and a job; the room would cost sixty dollars a week, the job would pay a hundred seventy-two fifty after taxes. A big day.

Wally clapped him on the back.

"I'll be in the office whenever you're ready to go. Hey, you know what I did, kind of a going-away present?"

Holman glanced at him.

"What?"

Wally slipped a business card from his pocket and gave it to Holman. The card showed a picture of an antique timepiece. Salvadore Jimenez, repairs, fine watches bought and sold, Culver City, California. Wally explained as Holman read the card.

"My wife's cousin has this little place. He fixes watches. I figured maybe you havin' a job and all, you'd want to get your old man's watch fixed. You want to see Sally, you lemme know, I'll make sure he gives you a price."

Holman slipped the card into his pocket. He wore a cheap Timex with an expandable band that hadn't worked in twenty years. In the day, Holman had worn an eighteen-thousand-dollar Patek Philippe he stole from a car fence named Oscar Reyes. Reyes had tried to short him on a stolen Carrera, so Holman had choked the sonofabitch until he passed out. But that was then. Now, Holman wore the Timex even though its hands were frozen. The Timex had belonged to his father.

"Thanks, Wally, thanks a lot. I was going to do that."

"A watch that don't keep time ain't much good to you."

"I have something in mind for it, so this will help."

"You let me know. I'll make sure he gives you a price."

"Sure. Thanks. Let me get packed up here, okay?"

Wally left as Holman returned to his packing. He had the clothes, three hundred twelve dollars that he had earned during his incarceration, and his father's watch. He did not have a car or a driver's license or friends or family to pick him up upon his release. Wally was going to give him a ride to his motel. After that, Holman would be on his own with the Los Angeles public transportation system and a watch that didn't work.

Holman went to his bureau for the picture of his son. Richie's picture was the first thing he had put in the room here at the CCC, and it would be the last thing he packed when he left. It showed his son at the age of eight, a gap-toothed kid with a buzz cut, dark skin, and serious eyes; his child's body already thickening with Holman's neck and shoulders. The last time Holman actually saw the boy was his son's twelfth birthday, Holman flush with cash from flipping two stolen Corvettes in San Diego, showing up blind drunk a day too late, the boy's mother, Donna, taking the two thousand he offered too little too late by way of the child support he never paid and on which he was always behind. Donna had sent him the old picture during his second year of incarceration, a guilty spasm because she wouldn't bring the boy to visit Holman in prison, wouldn't let the boy speak to Holman on the phone, and wouldn't pass on Holman's letters, such as they were, however few and far between, keeping the boy out of Holman's life. Holman no longer blamed her for that. She had done all right by the boy with no help from him. His son had made something of himself, and Holman was goddamned proud of that.

Holman placed the picture flat into the bag, then covered it with the remaining clothes to keep it safe. He glanced around the room. It didn't look so very different than it had an hour ago before he started.

He said, "Well, I guess that's it."

He told himself to leave, but didn't. He sat on the side of the bed instead. It was a big day, but the weight of it left him feeling heavy. He was going to get settled in his new room, check in with his release supervisor, then try to find Donna. It had been two years since her last note, not that she had ever written all that much anyway, but the five letters he had written to her since had all been returned, no longer at this address. Holman figured she had gotten married, and the new guy probably didn't want her convicted-felon boyfriend messing in their life. Holman didn't blame her for that, either. They had never married, but they did have the boy together and that had to be worth something even if she hated him. Holman wanted to apologize and let her know he had changed. If she had a new life, he wanted to wish her well with it, then get on with his. Eight or nine years ago when he thought about this day he saw himself running out the goddamned door, but now he just sat on the bed. Holman was still sitting when Wally came back.

"Max?"

Wally stood in the door like he was scared to come in. His face was pale and he kept wetting his lips.

Holman said, "What's wrong? Wally, you having a heart attack, what?"

Wally closed the door. He glanced at a little notepad like something was on it he didn't have right. He was visibly shaken.

"Wally, what?"

"You have a son, right? Richie?"

"Yeah, that's right."

"What's his full name?"

"Richard Dale Holman."

Holman stood. He didn't like the way Wally was fidgeting and licking his lips.

"You know I have a boy. You've seen his picture."

"He's a kid."

"He'd be twenty-three now. He's twenty-three. Why you want to know about this?"

"Max, listen, is he a police officer? Here in L.A.?"

"That's right."

Wally came over and touched Holman's arm with fingers as light as a breath.

"It's bad, Max. I have some bad news now and I want you to get ready for it."

Wally searched Holman's eyes as if he wanted a sign, so Holman nodded.

"Okay, Wally. What?"

"He was killed last night. I'm sorry, man. I'm really, really sorry."

Holman heard the words; he saw the pain in Wally's eyes and felt the concern in Wally's touch, but Wally and the room and the world left Holman behind like one car pulling away from another on a flat desert highway, Holman hitting the brakes, Wally hitting the gas, Holman watching the world race away.

Then he caught up and fought down an empty, terrible ache.

"What happened?"

"I don't know, Max. There was a call from the Bureau of Prisons when I went for your papers. They didn't have much to say. They wasn't even sure it was you or if you were still here."

Holman sat down again and this time Wally sat beside him. Holman had wanted to look up his son after he spoke with Donna. That last time he saw the boy, just two months before Holman was pinched in the bank gig, the boy had told him to fuck off, running alongside the car as Holman drove away, eyes wet and bulging, screaming that Holman was a loser, screaming fuck off, you loser. Holman still dreamed about it. Now here they were and Holman was left with the empty sense that everything he had been moving to for the past ten years had come to a drifting stop like a ship that had lost its way.

Wally said, "You want to cry, it's okay."

Holman didn't cry. He wanted to know who did it.

* * *

Dear Max,

I am writing because I want you to know that Richard has made something of himself despite your bad blood. Richard has joined the police department. This past Sunday he graduated at the police academy by Dodger stadium and it was really something. The mayor spoke and helicopters flew so low. Richard is now a police officer. He is strong and good and not like you. I am so proud of him. He looked so handsome. I think this is his way of proving there is no truth to that old saying "like father like son."

Donna

* * *

This was the last letter Holman received, back when he was still at Lompoc. Holman remembered getting to the part where she wrote there was no truth about being like father like son, and what he felt when he read those words wasn't embarrassment or shame; he felt relief. He remembered thinking, thank God, thank God.

He wrote back, but the letters were returned. He wrote to his son care of the Los Angeles Police Department, just a short note to congratulate the boy, but never received an answer. He didn't know if Richie received the letter or not. He didn't want to force himself on the boy. He had not written again.

Copyright ©2006 by Robert Crais

Continues...


Excerpted from The Two Minute Rule by Robert Crais Copyright © 2006 by Robert Crais. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Introduction

The Two Minute Rule

By Robert Crais

Introduction

Max Holman was convicted of armed robbery and served his ten-year sentence. He's clean and sober, his debt to society has been paid. The day he gets out of the pen, the only thing on his mind is reconciliation with his estranged son, who is, ironically, a cop. Then the devastating news: his son and three other uniformed cops were gunned down in cold blood in the LA warehouse district the night before Holman's release. The evidence points to an area gangbanger, Warren Juarez, who was once arrested by two of the officers.

Max's one rule was no violence. Throughout his career as a bank robber, during nine years in the pen, he never crossed that line. But now, shut out from any information on the case (the LAPD isn't interested in keeping ex-cons informed), and the only thing worth living for taken from him, Max decides there is only one thing to do: Avenge his son's death. Kill Juarez.

So begins The Two Minute Rule. As Holman launches his renegade investigation, he realizes there's no way Juarez could have killed his son — he was across the city, with a valid alibi. Why, then, is the LAPD rushing to arrest? As Max develops his own theories, he unearths evidence of his son's corruption — devastating news that the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree. It is this that finally moves him to reach out to the woman who put him behind bars — Katherine Pollard. Soon they find themselves working together to root out the truth, a truth that puts both of their lives very much at risk.

Discussion Questions:

1. What are some of the obstacles that Holman faces as anex-convict? How does he get around them in his search for Richie's killer? Is it fair that he is treated differently because of his criminal history?

2. When Pollard agrees to help Holman, she feels "as if she had been paroled" (113). What sort of "prison" has Pollard been released from? Discuss the reasons for her new feelings of freedom.

3. Holman always wears "his father's watch with its frozen hands" (180). What is the significance of the broken watch? How does the watch's meaning change over the course of the novel?

4. Holman's brief visit to Union Station and Olvera Street stirs up memories of his parents. What do we learn about Holman's mother and father? Based on what we learn on page 185, what kind of childhood do you think Holman had? How do you think Holman's relationship to his parents affects his identity as a father?

5. What happened ten years ago, when Holman "violated the two minute rule by three minutes and forty-six seconds" (219)? What did you learn about Holman's character from the circumstances of his last bank robbery? How does Holman's robbery compare to the Marchenko and Parsons scene in the prologue? Why does the author wait until Chapter 34 to reveal the full story of Holman's arrest?

6. Holman is afraid that "You just couldn't beat bad blood. 'Like son, like father'" (252). What evidence is there that Richie's fate is determined by genes rather than his environment?

7. Revisit Holman's daring escape from Vukovich, Fuentes, and Random, starting on page 257. What makes this scene so thrilling? How does the author create tension in his description of Holman's escape?

8. Who in this book has "gold fever" (301) — a desire for money that has made him or her irrational? Discuss this obsession as opposed to Holman's obsessions. Can Holman also be accused of having gold fever? Do you think that Holman's determined search for Richie's killer resembles a "fever?"

9. Holman and Pollard have different approaches to finding Richie's killer. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each character's style of investigation? How do their approaches complement each other? Do you think their success in solving the case bodes well for them romantically?

10. Holman is haunted by a memory of "Richie running alongside his car, red-faced and crying, calling him a loser" (317). Does Holman come to terms with his role in Richie's life, or do you think this image will continue to haunt him? Has Holman redeemed himself as a father by solving Richie's murder? Why or why not?

Enhance Your Book Club:

1. Do you think two minutes is a short period of time? Test the "two minute rule" with your book club! Set a stopwatch for two minutes. Think of all the things you would buy if you had sixteen million dollars, and write down as many as you can in two minutes. Whoever makes the longest list in two minutes gets to pick the next book club selection!

2. Use a detailed map of Los Angeles to mark some of the places featured in The Two Minute Rule: the Los Angeles River Channel, the Hollywood sign, Union Station, Olvera Street, and the Federal Building. You can map these sites online at www.maps.google.com.

3. Does your town or state have a landmark like the Hollywood sign? Do some research on your favorite area attraction, or ask a local historian to speak about it at your book club meeting.

Robert Crais is the author of many novels, including the New York Times bestsellers The Last Detective, Hostage, and L.A. Requiem. Learn more about his work at www.robertcrais.com.

Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

The Two Minute Rule

By Robert Crais

Introduction

Max Holman was convicted of armed robbery and served his ten-year sentence. He's clean and sober, his debt to society has been paid. The day he gets out of the pen, the only thing on his mind is reconciliation with his estranged son, who is, ironically, a cop. Then the devastating news: his son and three other uniformed cops were gunned down in cold blood in the LA warehouse district the night before Holman's release. The evidence points to an area gangbanger, Warren Juarez, who was once arrested by two of the officers.

Max's one rule was no violence. Throughout his career as a bank robber, during nine years in the pen, he never crossed that line. But now, shut out from any information on the case (the LAPD isn't interested in keeping ex-cons informed), and the only thing worth living for taken from him, Max decides there is only one thing to do: Avenge his son's death. Kill Juarez.

So begins The Two Minute Rule. As Holman launches his renegade investigation, he realizes there's no way Juarez could have killed his son — he was across the city, with a valid alibi. Why, then, is the LAPD rushing to arrest? As Max develops his own theories, he unearths evidence of his son's corruption — devastating news that the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree. It is this that finally moves him to reach out to the woman who put him behind bars — Katherine Pollard. Soon they find themselves working together to root out the truth, a truth that puts both of their lives very much at risk.

Discussion Questions:

1. What are some of the obstacles that Holman faces as an ex-convict? How does he get around them in his search for Richie's killer? Is it fair that he is treated differently because of his criminal history?

2. When Pollard agrees to help Holman, she feels "as if she had been paroled" (113). What sort of "prison" has Pollard been released from? Discuss the reasons for her new feelings of freedom.

3. Holman always wears "his father's watch with its frozen hands" (180). What is the significance of the broken watch? How does the watch's meaning change over the course of the novel?

4. Holman's brief visit to Union Station and Olvera Street stirs up memories of his parents. What do we learn about Holman's mother and father? Based on what we learn on page 185, what kind of childhood do you think Holman had? How do you think Holman's relationship to his parents affects his identity as a father?

5. What happened ten years ago, when Holman "violated the two minute rule by three minutes and forty-six seconds" (219)? What did you learn about Holman's character from the circumstances of his last bank robbery? How does Holman's robbery compare to the Marchenko and Parsons scene in the prologue? Why does the author wait until Chapter 34 to reveal the full story of Holman's arrest?

6. Holman is afraid that "You just couldn't beat bad blood. 'Like son, like father'" (252). What evidence is there that Richie's fate is determined by genes rather than his environment?

7. Revisit Holman's daring escape from Vukovich, Fuentes, and Random, starting on page 257. What makes this scene so thrilling? How does the author create tension in his description of Holman's escape?

8. Who in this book has "gold fever" (301) — a desire for money that has made him or her irrational? Discuss this obsession as opposed to Holman's obsessions. Can Holman also be accused of having gold fever? Do you think that Holman's determined search for Richie's killer resembles a "fever?"

9. Holman and Pollard have different approaches to finding Richie's killer. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each character's style of investigation? How do their approaches complement each other? Do you think their success in solving the case bodes well for them romantically?

10. Holman is haunted by a memory of "Richie running alongside his car, red-faced and crying, calling him a loser" (317). Does Holman come to terms with his role in Richie's life, or do you think this image will continue to haunt him? Has Holman redeemed himself as a father by solving Richie's murder? Why or why not?

Enhance Your Book Club:

1. Do you think two minutes is a short period of time? Test the "two minute rule" with your book club! Set a stopwatch for two minutes. Think of all the things you would buy if you had sixteen million dollars, and write down as many as you can in two minutes. Whoever makes the longest list in two minutes gets to pick the next book club selection!

2. Use a detailed map of Los Angeles to mark some of the places featured in The Two Minute Rule: the Los Angeles River Channel, the Hollywood sign, Union Station, Olvera Street, and the Federal Building. You can map these sites online at www.maps.google.com.

3. Does your town or state have a landmark like the Hollywood sign? Do some research on your favorite area attraction, or ask a local historian to speak about it at your book club meeting.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 56 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 56 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2006

    STELLAR READING OF SUSPENSE FILLED TALE

    The relationship between father and son has often been a focus in literature. There have been unbreakable bonds between the two, distrust, hate, reconciliation, love, all manner of emotions. Yet, I expect that few examinations of this relationship result in a scenario as explosive as the one devised by Robert Crais. The author¿s rather catchy title comes from the knowledge that if you¿re going to rob a bank, you have about two minutes to get away with the money before the police arrive. Protagonist Max Holman knew that dictate well but he lingered long enough during a robbery to help a person suffering a heart attack. The result? Sympathetic press for Max and ten years in jail. Like many other prisoners Max thought of what he would do when he was released. Uppermost in his mind was setting things right with his son, a policeman. Tragically Max learns on the very day of his release that his son and three fellow officers have been shot and killed. The official story is that they have been gunned down by a gang leader, Juarez. Max doesn¿t buy that but there¿s no help for him from the LAPD. The only person he can think of who might help is the FBI agent who arrested him - Katharine Pollard. She has retired and living peacefully, comfortably. There are just a few people in this world that she wants to avoid and one of them is Max. Nonetheless, when Juarez becomes an apparent suicide she has to reluctantly agree that the official story doesn¿t make much sense. She and Max join forces and begin to investigate on their own. What they uncover is not only shocking but dangerous. The pleasure in listening to a story by Crais is his ability to intricately plot and surprise with every turn. Christopher Graybill offers a laudable narration, moving from the determined voice of a father who wants to avenge his son¿s death to the longing and sadness in the voice of a man who finds himself drawn to a woman he doesn¿t think he deserves. - Gail Cooke

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Thriller fans will appreciate this terrific tale of revenge

    Ten years ago Max Holman was caught robbing the Studio City Pacific West Bank. He was convicted and went to prison, but today he is being released. All Max wants to do is see his son Ritchie who he has not seen since the kid¿s twelfth birthday. While Max was a guest of the state of California, Ritchie became a cop. However, on this day when he should be rejoicing in his freedom, Max learns ironically that his son and three other cops were killed in Los Angeles. P The LAPD accused gang leader Alejandro Juarez. Stunned and needing to avenge his loss, Max begins his own inquiries and quickly concludes that Juarez may be scum, but neither he nor his associates and employees killed Ritchie or the other cops. Unable to let go, Max digs deeper and begins to uncover police corruption that could easily cost him his life or at a minimum his freedom, but he refuses to back down as he has to do this for Ritchie. P Though the romance with an FBI Agent seems more obligatory than plot needed, action thriller fans will appreciate this terrific tale of revenge. Holman knows he failed his son in life so he fixates on bringing justice to the real killer. Thus Max¿s obsession and his criminal past make him a dangerous adversary, but against who is his problem as the Juarez¿s gang and the cops want him dead. A final plausible twist will shake readers as much as it does Max as Robert Crais hooks readers with THE TWO MINUTE RULE between life and death. P Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2013

    Not His Best

    I'm a Crais fan & I liked this book but it's his weakest book. It was obvious the plot was going to have the same twist on who-done-it as one of the Elvis novels. The attraction between the bank robber & the FBI agent was hard to believe too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2013

    Different

    Well I am definately a fan of R.Crais, I love the way he describes scenes, makes me wanna go to CA. Elvis and Joe will always be my favorite characters but I am glad I read this new book. It was a real change in character portrayal and plot. The book still has all of Crais style and thrill level. I would recommend fans of Crais read this book because it is nice to have a change in the usual things.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2012

    Not Crais Quality

    Doesnt measure up to the lntense quick pace that is Craise. A mediocre read, at best.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 25, 2011

    wonderful read i kept turning the page could not put it down.

    Wonderfu read. a page turner.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Note

    Story included in condensed version of 4 novels<BR/>"Selection Editions" by Readers Digest

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2008

    Super Character! Super Read!

    Fascinating novel and the characters are believable. I've never been disappointed in a Crais novel!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2008

    Ending very good The rest is just so-so

    Holman is a Max Payne type of character, which is good, but just keeps the book floating above water until you reach the ending, which honestly saves the entire read and changed my rating from 'needs help' to 'just ok'. My life wouldn't be better-off or worse if I hadn't read this book. It was just entertaining enough to finish it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2007

    ROBERT CRAIS CAN WRITE!!!!!

    I haven't read a Robert Crais book that I haven't loved. There is nothing he can do wrong!! This one is another page turner - I hated to put it down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2007

    GREAT BOOK!!!

    This is my first Robert Crais book & I loved it. I'll be sure to check out his others.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2007

    Great fun!

    This is my first Crais book, but I will certainly read more. Holman is a great, flawed character, touching in his need to redeem his son's life. The characters and action are written very well. Highly recommended.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2006

    Doesn't stack up to Elvis

    Let me preface this by saying that the Elvis Cole series is one of my absolute all time favorite series. This book just didn't meet that same standard for me. I kept thinking that the time Crais spent writing this could have been better spent on another Elvis installment.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2006

    A Must Read!

    Wow Robert Crais has done it agian. This book is definetly worth going out and buying. I couldnt put it down, it keeps you interested through the whole story. Very well played out and a very mind boggling ending, very good. If you liked hostage and the forgotten man then this book is for you. two thumbs up!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2006

    It's an awesome book

    I give this book two thumbs up. It was so short and interesting. It just makes you go on and on till I realized I was almost at the end of the book. Robert Crais depicted Max Holman as such a great character despite the fact he was a bank robber. Great book I recommend everyone to read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2006

    Two Minute Rule Will Have You Reading For More Than Two Hours

    The is the first book by Robert Crais I have read and I have to say I enjoyed it. It's a nerve-racking tale of redemption and guilt underneath the Hollywood sign wrapped up in the heartbeat that is L.A.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2006

    CRAIS IS THE MASTER!

    Robert Crais has exceeded his own high standards. Needless to say, fans of his Elvis Cole series will NOT be disappointed. Once you begin 'The Two-Minute Rule,' you won't stop reading until the end and it will leave you thirsty for more. This is not a routine story or a predictable plot: it is a tightly written, action packed and complex story line. In this artfully crafted story, Crais draws us right into each scene with his unique, dynamic, and colorful prose. You can actually hear his sentences come alive. As always, his characters have personalities that never cease to entertain with their playful banter and razor-sharp dialogue. He has a knack for creating fully dimensional characters that think, feel and bleed, and the reader hurts with them. Robert Crais is a magician with words.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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