For Robert Crais, Crime Pays
(Maclean's Magazine, March 6, 2000)

BYLINE: Edited by Anthony Wilson-Smith with Shanda Deziel

 Robert  Crais  has found success with his eight mystery novels featuring Los
Angeles private detective Elvis Cole -- but he sees no reason to stand pat.
"It's not like the ghost of Raymond Chandler is standing behind me with a .38,
telling me there is only one way to write an L.A. thriller," says the
46-year-old native of Baton Rouge, La., with a laugh. In his newest book, Demolition
Angel, to be published in May, Crais  abandons Cole for an emotionally and physically
scarred LAPD bomb squad veteran named Carol Starkey. "The cops I always found fascinating," says the writer, who has an uncle and several cousins in Louisiana police
forces, "are those a little bit paranoid, a little bit burned out." That describes Starkey to
a T, and is the main reason Crais  expects fierce competition for Starkey's role now that
he has sold the film rights to producer Laurence Mark.  "I keep hearing George Clooney"
for the male lead, says  Crais,  who used to write for L.A. Law and Hill
Street Blues before turning to novels, "but the field is wide open for Starkey."

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