Stephen King's article in Entertainment Weekly "What a Guy Wants" introduced me to Robert Crais. King includes Crais with Lee Child, Michael Connelly, and Richard Stark as the epitomy of escapism and "manfiction" entertainment.
I enjoyed this first book in Crais' series. The characters were fun, the prose was quick, witty, and comedic (reminds me of Nelson Demille's John Corey), and the story was average.
3.5 stars out of 5
I love smart alec detectives! Elvis Cole is a wonderful character and Joe Pike is a great sidekick. This isn't brain surgery but that is why I read............to relax, try to solve the murder and laugh out loud at Elvis' cracks.
Genre: Private Investigator, #1 Elvis Cole mystery
First Line: "I'm sorry, Mr. Cole, this has nothing to do with you."
Several years ago people began mentioning Elvis Cole to me. Hmm...my last name, my mother's favorite singer.... I duly filed away the information. The people doing the mentioning probably thought I'd blown them off, to which I would reply: Just because I don't lay rubber the second you mention an author I might like doesn't mean I'm not paying attention. Sometimes I think part of my brain is an aquifer; it takes time for some of these authors to percolate down to the Do Something Level. I finally reached the Do Something Level with Elvis Cole, and now I've got a big smile on my face knowing what I've got in store for me.
Elvis Cole is a private investigator with a shadowy partner, Joe Pike. Joe isn't around all that much, which suits most people just fine. Let's face it-- the man scares people to death, and according to Elvis, "Pike thinks Clint Eastwood talks too much." Elvis has a life that suits him just fine. A Vietnam vet, his hero is Peter Pan, and he thinks very highly of Jiminy Cricket. (So do I. Jiminy taught me how to spell encyclopedia.) I also have to admit that the Pinocchio clock he has on his office wall fascinates me. Peter Pan...Jiminy Cricket...Pinocchio...when Ellen Lang walked into his office to hire him to find her missing husband and son, I knew that I was about to embark on a rather unusual investigation. I was led to a viper's den of criminals, drugs and sex, but I feared not, for Cole and Pike were with me.
By the time I finished, I had some new friends in Elvis and Joe. (I have a healthy respect for Joe, but he doesn't scare me. Yet.) The investigation itself isn't all that complex or unusual, but it moves quickly and taught me to pay attention to small clues and subtle nuances. The real reason why this book is such a standout rests squarely on the shoulders of Elvis Cole. It's as though, once he made it out of Vietnam in one piece and decided he wanted to be Peter Pan, his decision stripped away several layers of adult apathy and cynicism. This man can eat ice cream, watch an obnoxious customer torment the counter girl...and be incapable of pretending it isn't happening. When Mr. Obnoxious is persuaded to leave, Elvis leaves his business card with the girl. "If anyone ever bothers you...let me know."
And that's the strength of Elvis Cole--he cares. If that's what happens when a person decides to be Peter Pan, I say we should all start flapping our arms and taking flying lessons. In The Monkey's Raincoat, Robert Crais has set his stage with two superb characters in Cole and Pike, and I just happen to have Acts Two (Stalking the Angel) and Three (Lullaby Town) waiting in the wings.
Now if I could only find myself one of those Pinocchio clocks....
[A word of warning: anyone who has a low tolerance of violence may want to pass on this series.]
Really enjoyed this book! Written in gritty guy-type cop talk (very true to form--my husband is a cop), it has many unexpected twists in the plot and the main characters are quite realistic. It's written with a perverted sense of humor (PI's and cops, remember) and a great feeling of Hollywood and LA in general. This book is a keeper for me, and I'm ordering more of the Elvis Cole series.
This was my first Robert Crais book, and after a rocky start, I really enjoyed it. It's a quirky, off-beat sense of humor, but I found myself wishing I wasn't finished with it, which is always a good sign. I've already picked up another book by this author, and am glad to have found another series I like. Great story, loved the characters.