A Good Place to Start
I read this book 20 years ago and remembered it fondly enough to pick it up again this year. In fact, I decided to read the Elvis Cole/Joe Pike novels in chronological order this summer.
What I discovered was a real treat. The Monkey's Raincoat is actually only a fair novel. You can tell it was his first with a less polished style and a heavy reliance on dated cultural references that makes reading the novel now a little harder.
But stick with it and then continue on. What you will see is both a real development of a writer and of the characters Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. Somewhere along the way, Crais really develops his skills and by the time I hit L.A. Requiem, I thought, this is a damn fine story and the characters became fully fleshed out and compelling.
Subsequent books are a little uneven, but the writing quality is still high, and with every book, I fall in love with Elvis and Joe a little bit more.
You might, however, skip Crais' stand-alone novels. Demolition Angel was good, but the others seem like a miss after the Cole and Pike books.