2007. Robert Crais is a master craftsman who delivers on his promise.
There are alot of variations on the LA private eye story. And lots of good practitioners of the genre. Crais is among the best. His two characters Elvis Cole and Joe Pike, in my book, belong among the best LA literary sleuths.
This is Joe Pike’s novel, but Elvis Cole is his buddy and of course he makes more than a cameo. Pike relies on Cole to provide key backup.
Pike is a damaged soul from childhood, but he’s a tough survivor who has beaten back his demons in a way that makes him stronger than anyone else. He lives by a code that prizes loyalty above all else. He protects and serves whether as a member of LAPD or as an independent. He hates bullies in any shape, and he never walks out on a friend.
You can read elsewhere for plot summary. I’m only going to tell you that Pike and his buddy Cole are worth spending time with. Their relationship lifts this story above the standard gumshoe narrative, as do the relationships these men develop with other key people they meet over the course of their cases. The bonds of family and friendship are tested through secondary characters that provide further depth.
Crais knows his police procedural stuff, his ballistics, his forensics, his terrain, and police groupthink. But he knows his characters even better, and that’s why I’ll keep coming back for more.