A little something different today. As all 2.5 people that read this blog know, I am more of a horror fan. I guess it’s because in horror stories, anything can happen. Ghosts, zombies, werewolves, Vampires, Witches, Mitt Romney could actually tell the truth. Anything and everything is possible. Detective novels and crime novels and so on, you are limited to rules of reality.
However, this doesn’t mean I don’t read Crime Novels, Detective stories and so on. There are a few authors that I just can’t resist. David Rosenfelt and his Lawyer character Andy Carpenter. Then there’s Michael Connelly’s, Harry Bosch LAPD Detective. But today it’s about Robert Crais’s Elvis Cole and Joe Pike.
I first read The Monkey’s Raincoat 13 or 14 years ago? Maybe a little longer ago? It started as a stereo typical detective novel should start. A detective alone, in his office when a beautiful woman walks in. Well in this novel, it was two beautiful women that walk in. One of them won’t stop talking, the quiet one appears uncomfortable and can’t get a word in with her friend doing all the talking. I don’t recall if the two ladies were sisters or just friends.
I remember getting annoyed at the talkative one. Every time Elvis tried to ask the quiet one a question, the talkative one would interrupt again. At just two pages in to the book, Elvis says to the talkative almost rude women, “Look, as much as I’d love to lick chocolate off your naked body, I’d really need you to shut up now.”
Did he just say what I think he said? Stop, go back, reread the last sentence, OMG, he just said that! I literally laughed out loud. I knew at this moment, I was going to love the book.
Elvis Cole is a Los Angeles Private Detective. He’s quick witted, always in a Hawaiian shirt, does yoga on his back patio in the Hollywood Hills and has cat or rather the cat has him. His best friend and co-owner of the Elvis Cole Detective Agency is Joe Pike. Elvis is pretty bad ass, though he downplays it. Joe Pike, is bad ass. I personally don’t a female that has read any of these novels that doesn’t have a crush on Joe Pike. He’s got a bad boy image but he’s really, a good person. Doesn’t talk much though.
I would love to review each book interdependently. However, first 6 or 7 of his books I read close to 15 years ago. The last 7 or 8 I listened to on audio over the past several months. Most of them just blur together and that’s a good thing. These are characters you can count on. The situations they investigate are never easy as they seem and sometimes end up becoming too personal for the characters. I loved every single book except his last one, “Taken”.
This one I will give a quick review on since it’s the last one listened to and it’s still fresh in my mind. Now, just because I didn’t love it, didn’t mean it wasn’t good. It was good. But, it written in a different style. It would jump from time to time. Present day, a week or so in the past. Back and fourth and at first it got a little confusing.
Elvis Cole is hired by a Latino mother to find her daughter. The daughter at first a complete moron and through her obvious stupidity gets her and her boyfriend taken and held for ransom. Suddenly, the moment she is captured she’s an expert at being held for ransom and is no longer a complete idiot. I mean she’s a literal idiot one minute and the next she’s smarter than the bad guys. I don’t know what the hell happened in that minute that she went from total idiot to likable heroine.
Elvis and Joe team up with the help of some of Joe’s ex military friends to find the girl. Elvis is double crossed by someone and is taken by the bad guys. Right beneath Joe and his military buddies noses. Totally believable. No problems here.
What I did have a small problem was Joe’s reactions. Joe doesn’t react externally to much. As Elvis often says after making a joke in front of Joe, if he can see Joe’s lip just twitch a little. Most people would never even notice. But, if Elvis can see it, he knows, Joe, is cracking up on the inside. Joe would do anything for Elvis. Their friendship is beyond words. In an early book Elvis had been shot. Joe ran over to him. Taken off his shirt to help stop the bleeding. It was bad. Though Joe’s demeanor was calm, a female detective with them at the time had noticed Joe’s hands were shaking.
Joe can take pain. Nothing gets to Joe. But, holding that shirt to his friends chest trying to keep him from bleeding out, Joe was a wreck. If you didn’t know him he would have appeared calm and cool and in charge. But, knowing him as the reader does. It was heart breaking to see him like this. It was a really emotional scene.
Now, in Taken Elvis is taken from beneath Joe’s nose and he’s obviously upset. But, I just didn’t get that sense of quiet rage that Joe should have had for losing his friend. Joe pissed off, something you never want to be on the receiving end of and I just didn’t get that feeling in Taken from. It kept the book from being an A+. My grade, B-.
If you don’t love Robert Crais’s Elvis Cole series of books, there’s really something wrong with you. These books have heavy action, tense drama and great stories. But, it’s Elvis’s wit that makes these novels stand out. Joe’s stoic man of few words bad assness. (Yes I know I just made up the word bad assness.) These books aren’t comedies, its serious situations, people get hurt, shot, stabbed, killed and raped. But, it’s his humor and outlook that keeps these novels from being like every other detective novel out there. Elvis becomes a real person to you, as well as Joe Pike. The more you get to know Joe, the more you want to know the big quiet man. Even Elvis’s cat is a real character you will grow to love. Just don’t get too close, he bites.