Thursday, February 11, 2010

Review: The Monkey's Raincoat

Author: Robert Crais
Format: audio 8 hrs, 237 pgs equivalent 
Narrator: Patrick Lawlor
Characters: Elvis Cole, Joe Pike
Subject: murder, abduction
Setting: Los Angeles area
Series: Elvis Cole detective series
Genre: mystery - private detectives
Source: Overdrive audio download
Challenge: Thrillers and Suspense, Support your local library, Audio books

Robert Crais has published over a dozen Elvis Cole/Joe Pike detetive mysteries.  While this is the first one I've read, it certainly will not be the last.  The Amazon product description catches you right off the bat:
Taking the mystery community by storm, this Elvis Cole novel was nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, Shamus, and Macavity awards and won both the Anthony and Macavity for Best Novel of the Year. Crais, a VP at Paramount, was previously head script writer for Quincy, Hill Street Blues, and Cagney and Lacey.... When quiet Ellen Lang enters Elvis Cole's Disney-Deco office, she's lost something very valuable - her husband and her young son. The case seems simple enough, but Elvis isn't thrilled. Neither is his enigmatic partner and firepower Joe Pike.
Their search down the seamy side of Hollywood's studio lots and sculptured lawns soon leads them deep into a nasty netherworld of drugs and sex - and murder. Now the case is getting interesting, but it's also turned ugly. Because everybody, from cops to starlets to crooks, has declared war on Ellen and Elvis.
As Elvis begins detecting, he finds himself embroiled in a nasty fight over drugs, with the requisite dealers, Hollywood talent scouts,  did I say it was set in Los Angeles? domineering friends, Mexicans, Eskimos, a friendly cop willing to help him, and the stereotypical upper level "special ops" cop pushing him out of the picture.  At one point, all I could think of was Rockie and Dennis in The Rockford Files. The story had a believable plot, with terrific dialogue and characters I could believe. I may have wanted to smack a few of them upside the head, but I could believe them, root for (or against) them, and although I didn't care for some of the tactics used by either side in this undeclared war, I found they read true  This is a series I'm definitely looking forward to getting into.  I want to know more about Elvis and his very puzzling partner Joe Pike.  I want to see if they can keep up this pace.


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