Elvis Cole is back...With his acclaimed bestsellers, Hostage (a New York Times Notable Book) and Demolition Angel, Robert Crais drew raves for his unstoppable pacing, edgy characterizations, and cinematic prose. Now, in The Last Detective, Crais returns to his signature character, Los Angeles private investigator Elvis Cole, in a masterful page-turner that probes the meaning of family and the burdens of the past.
Elvis lives! Elvis Cole that is, Crais's iconoclastic, smart-aleck L.A. PI, last seen in Indigo Slam (1997). Violent and action-packed, this eighth book in the series has less of Cole's usual wisecracking but all the intensity and convoluted plotting of his two recent stand-alone thrillers, Demolition Angel (2000) and Hostage (2001). Cole is babysitting Ben, the 10-year-old son of his lawyer lover, Lucy Chenier, when the boy is kidnapped. As Cole and his super-tough, enigmatic pal, Joe Pike, join the police in the search for Ben, Lucy's obnoxious ex-husband, Richard, arrives from New Orleans with his own investigators. At first, the kidnappers imply they're seeking revenge for atrocities Cole committed in Vietnam. Several powerful, beautifully written flashbacks to Cole's horrendous Nam experiences and his troubled childhood follow. The narrative switches between Cole's vivid first-person point-of-view and a third-person account of a brave, frightened Ben and his savage captors. As the kidnappers' deadline nears and disturbing motives surface, the suspense becomes almost unbearable. The terrible, heartstopping climax is so well written that time seems to stop. Crais combines the thriller and private eye genres into a dazzling novel that is far more accomplished than the sum of its parts. Agent, Aaron Priest. (Feb. 18) Forecast: A 10-city author tour, plus media appearances including The Today Show, should help this one reach the same numbers as those for Demolition Angel and Hostage, both under development as films. At the same time, some fans may be dismayed by Elvis Cole's Hollywoodization. Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 31, 2002
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Excerpt from The Last Detective by Robert Crais
The Church of Pike
The cold Alaskan water pulled at the fishing boats that lined the dock, the boats straining against their moorings to run free with the tide. The water here in the small harbor at Angoon, a fishing village on the western shore of Admiralty Island off southeast Alaska, was steel-black beneath the clouds and dimpled by rain, but was clear even with that, a window beneath the weathered pilings to a world of sunburst starfish as wide as garbage cans, jellyfish the size of basketballs, and barnacles as heavy as a longshoreman's fist. Alaska was like that, so vigorous with life that it could fill a man and lift him and maybe even bring him back from the dead.
A Tlingit Indian named Elliot MacArthur watched as Joe Pike stowed his duffel in a fourteen-foot fiberglass skiff. Pike had rented the skiff from MacArthur, who now nervously toed Pike's rifle case.
"You didn't tell me you were goin' after those bears up there. It ain't so smart goin' in those woods by yourself. I don't wanna lose my boat."
Pike secured his duffel between the skiff's bench seats, then took hold of the gun case. Pike's weapon of choice that day was a stainless-steel Remington Model 700 chambered in .375 Holland & Holland Magnum. It was a powerful gun, built heavy to dampen the .375's hard recoil. Pike lifted the case with his bad arm, but the arm failed with a sharp pain that left his shoulder burning. He shifted its weight to his good arm.
MacArthur didn't like this business with the arm.
"Now you listen. Goin' after that bear with a bad arm ain't the brightest idea, either. You're gonna have my boat, and you're gonna be alone, and that's a big bear up there. Has to be big, what he did to those people."
Pike strapped the rifle case across the duffel, then checked the fuel. It was going to be a long trip, getting from Angoon up to Chaik Bay where the killings had taken place.
"You better be thinkin' about this. Don't matter what kinda bounty the families put up, it ain't worth gettin' killed for."
"I won't lose your boat."
MacArthur wasn't sure if Pike had insulted him or not.
Pike finished with his gear, then stepped back onto the dock. He took ten one-hundred-dollar bills from his wallet and held out the money.
"Here. Now you won't have to worry about it."
MacArthur looked embarrassed and put his hands in his pocket.