I don't usually go for super-hero types like Joe Pike, but Crais somehow brings his character to life in such a way that he's more believable than most, and his supporting characters, much reminiscent of the ones in the movies "The Magnificent Seven" and "The Professionals" all have their own quirks and traits that draw the reader to them as well.
I was surprised when I read his biography that he did not have first-hand experience with military and para-military tactics and techniques, as they are described in great detail, and from what I can see, with great accuracy in this book. His research must have been very thorough, and he must have a highly experienced consultant to help him out with the action sequences.
I'm not sure I would attempt writing a book like "The First Rule" myself, as I am more for writing about ordinary people doing extraordinary things, but I certainly enjoyed reading this one. If you like John Sandford, Michael Connelly, or Jeffrey Deaver, I think you would like Robert Crais.