(The Independent [London] July 9, 2000)

Byline: Mark Timlin

For the past few years, Robert  Crais  has been climbing the bestseller
lists in America with his Elvis Cole novels, featuring the wise-cracking
Los Angeles private eye and his implacable buddy Joe Pike. Now Crais's
career is taking a different turn with his latest novel, Demolition Angel,
starring female bomb-disposal expert Carol Starkey who briefly "dies"
with her lover in an explosion early in the novel, but is brought back to
life after he shields her from the worst of the blast but doesn't survive
himself. The novel has been bought for big bucks by Hollywood and it
is not hard to picture Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts or Meg Ryan in the
lead role as the spiky but likeable, even loveable heroine with a bundle
of personal demons to deal with.

Three years later, another bomb- disposal officer is killed in LA, and
Carol, no longer doing the job she loves but instead working as a detective
with the LAPD Criminal Conspiracy Section, catches the case. Despite
pressure from her superiors to quit, she insists on continuing with the
investigation in order to prove to herself and to them that the scars from
her own recent tragedy have  finally healed. But she's up against a tough
opponent in the shape of Mr Red, who sets bombs for a living, contract-
killing with high explosives for maximum impact.

Crais has done his research on the subject and it shows. But, more
importantly, he drags the reader into the minds of the characters: Mr
Red and his groupies, the sad individuals who build bombs to obtain the
power that their pathetic lives otherwise deny them, Carol's brother and
sister cops, and, more importantly, Carol Starkey herself. Crais is a fine
writer, his talent honed from years of working on US TV shows like Miami
Vice, Hill Street Blues and LA Law, and with this novel he may very well
make his British breakthrough.

    (Note: this is an excerpt from a longer article.)

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