First Line: I was standing on my head in the middle of my office when the door opened and the best looking woman I'd seen in three weeks walked in.
When Bradley Warren and his assistant, Jillian Becker, try to hire Elvis Cole to find a stolen (and priceless) Japanese manuscript, Cole isn't all that eager to accept the case. Warren rubs his fur completely the wrong way. But when Warren's young daughter is kidnapped, the P.I. puts aside his differences and starts tracking down the bad guys.
When I read the first Elvis Cole mystery, The Monkey's Raincoat, I fell head over heels for Elvis and his partner, Joe Pike. Unfortunately, while reading this second book in the series, the bloom was off the rose. The plot, the pacing, the writing are just as good, and I still love Elvis and Joe, but reading Stalking the Angel made me realize something:
The reason why I don't read many mysteries featuring the hard-boiled types of private investigators is because I have a very low tolerance for the plots.
The plots all seem to be the same. Some drop dead gorgeous broad clacks her way into the P.I.'s seedy office, bats her eyelashes, and persuades the manly investigator to do something he really doesn't want to do. There's usually an obnoxious male cretin on hand as a foil for the P.I. and his wisecracks. At least 30% of the characters are pond scum, and the P.I. hero has to have the crap beaten out of him at least once. Preferably twice.
Unfortunately (for me) the plot and the formula went hand in hand in this book. I still love Elvis and Joe, but I think this love affair just has no room for growth. And before any of you die hard fans gang up on me, let me say once more that these books are well-written and the two main characters are fantastic. Even though the story lines aren't my cup of tea and I seriously doubt that I will read any more books in the series...
...if you give me an ELVIS AND JOE 4EVER!!!! bumper sticker, I'll cherish (and use) it with pride.
Elvis Cole is ask,ed to find the very valuable item which hotel magnate Bradley Warren his lost. It is a rar 13th cenytrual Japanese manuscript called the Hagakure.
His daughter is kidnapped and they suspect the theives who also took the Hagakure.
Undoubtedly prompted by the success of recent Crais bestsellers (Demolition Angel; Hostage), his audio publishers have gone back to the second book in his increasingly popular Elvis Cole series, originally published in 1989, for a lively and colorful outing that manages to capture much of the author's early innocence and freshness. Stuart brings the quirky Cole to life quickly, combining his strengths (tenacity, incorruptibility, frequent flashes of humor) with his oddities (his love of the Disney artifacts that litter his office) to make a credible whole person. Other characters emerge with equal vocal skill: the enigmatic Joe Pike, Cole's muscular sidekick; a glowering Los Angeles property developer, his alcohol-impaired wife and their fragile adolescent daughter, who winds up being kidnapped by Japanese gangsters. Cole, hired to find a rare Japanese manuscript, discovers that the teenager's fate is very important to him personally forging a bond between the detective and children in peril that has become a hallmark of the series. For those who have been fans of Elvis since book one, The Monkey's Raincoat, it's good to have his early adventures around to listen to. For more recent Crais converts, this could prove an eye-opening revelation of how Cole got to be who he is.
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY REVIEW
Elvis and Joe Pike are hired by a businessman to protect his family and recover a stolen rare Japanese manuscript. The search leads him to the Japanese mafia and surprises involving those close to the businessman.
Good characters, witty prose, average story. My 2nd Crais book. I'm starting to like the characters more and I'm enjoying the sarcasm even more, but I did find the plot to be disappointing and very simlar to The Monkey's Raincoat.
Joseph Wambaugh says, " Elvis Cole provides more fun for the reader than any L.A. private eye to come along in years." So meet Mr. Cole who, "quotes Jumminy Cricket and carries a .38. He's a literate, wise-cracking Vietnam vet who is determined never to grow up." states the editor. Author Robert Crais, " is one of the rising young stars of the private eye genre...Devotees of the rock 'em, sock "em schol should find (this novel) tasty." reports the San Diego Union. "Stalking Angel" is by the award-winning author of of "Monkey's Raincoat" & "Voodoo River".