The other day, I was telling a friend that Robert Crais had evolved from writing novels that reminded me of Jeffrey MacDonald’s Fletch to writing novels that reminded me of Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch. After reading Chasing Darkness, I may be little off with the Connelly comparison. This was another real good book, but there were some plot twists that left me shaking my head, something I never do with Connelly. Without giving things away, the book features detective Elvis Cole, an awesome character, like Bosch. Cole becomes involved in the investigation of an old murder and things progress nicely. Toward the end of the book, Cole does something that could land him in prison, but the aftermath of the incident just doesn’t work for me.
Archive for category Robert Crais
After taking a break with a standalone novel, Robert Crais returns to his signature Elvis Cole-Joe Pike duo in The Watchman. While previous books in the series focus on private eye Cole and his Fletch-like one-liners, this one features the enigmatic Pike. From the 10 previous books in the series, we know Pike is a tough ex-cop who owns a gun store and skirts the law as he helps Cole solve cases. In this book, we learn why Pike left the LAPD and became a mercenary. We also find out Pike has a soft spot beneath his rugged exterior, something that comes to light while Pike serves as the bodyguard for a young woman, which is the premise of the book. As Pike uses his training to keep the woman alive, Cole uses his investigation skills to find out why she is being targeted by assassins and who is responsible. (Pike also enlists the help of LAPD forensic criminalist John Chen, whose hilarious, scene-stealing character reminds me a lot of Vince Masuka, the sex-crazed forensic technician in Showtime’s outstanding series, Dexter.) The result is a book that is enjoyable, although things don’t add up for me. I raved about Crais’ last book, The Two Minute Rule, which I really liked. But an abrupt plot turn near the end of the book followed by an unlikely, unexplained coincidence puts this book in the very good but not great category, despite the awards it has won.
The early works of Robert Crais featured wise-cracking detective Elvis Cole, who reminded me a lot of Gregory Mcdonald‘s hilarious book and movie character Fletch, and Cole’s bad ass sidekick Joe Pike. After eight novels of smooth sailing featuring the duo, Crais shifted into another gear with a couple of standalone novels, including Hostage, which was made into a movie starring Bruce Willis, and Demolition Angel, which was probably too gritty and realistic to become a movie, even though it should have been. The Two Minute Rule is the third novel without Cole and it may be Crais’ best work to date. The story centers around Max Holman, a bank robber just out of prison who joins forces with Katherine Pollard, the FBI agent who put him away. That idea may sound far-fetched but don’t let that scare you. Everything about this novel works, from the characters which could be in a George Pelecanos novel to the story, which brilliantly unfolds and beautifully comes together. The book made me laugh and it also brought tears to my eyes, it was that good. I know Crais goes back to the awesome Cole and Pike duo, but I really hope he brings back Holman and Pollard for a future novel — even if it’s only for a cameo appearance.