Byline: Tom and Enid Schantz
Readers have waited a long time for Robert Crais' new Elvis Cole novel,
delayed because of a switch in publishers, and we're happy to report that
"L.A. Requiem" (Doubleday, $ 23.95) is well worth the wait.
The previous books in the series were all entertaining affairs, slick
in which private-eye Elvis displayed lots of attitude and his taciturn, enigmatic
partner, Joe Pike, was an intriguing but ultimately faceless foil for his wise-
cracks. But the new book fleshes Joe out, and for the first time Crais uses the
novelist's complete bag of tricks to tell a story that's darker, denser, deeper
and more satisfying than anything he's written before.
Crais uses multiple viewpoints and flashbacks to build Joe's history,
the abused child of a sadistic father to a youthful Marine recruit to a model
cop with the L.A. Police Department. We learn that Joe had a girlfriend,
named Karen Garcia, and when she's killed years later while jogging, her
influential father asks Joe and Elvis to keep tabs on the LAPD investigation
of the murder.
Since Joe left the force under a cloud of suspicion over the death of
partner, you can imagine how thrilled the cops are to have him back in
their midst and how little they're willing to cooperate with either him or
Elvis. When it begins to appear that Karen wasn't the only victim on the
killer's agenda, however, the investigation changes focus. Is there a serial
killer, or is the case even more complicated?
As it proceeds, Elvis finds his relationship with Louisiana lawyer Lucy
Chenier, who has moved to Los Angeles with her son to be near him, is
becoming increasingly strained by his involvement in the case and by his
conflicted feelings for Samantha Dolan, an intensely ambitious cop who is
falling for him in a big way.
As the complicated plot unfolds, there are surprises and setbacks for
characters, as well as many moving moments as the friendship between Joe
and Elvis is put to the ultimate test. And behind it all stands the city of Los
Angeles, populated with the best and worst humanity has to offer and served
and protected by a police force that also mirrors the best and worst in human
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