A fantastic Joe Pike and Elvis Cole novel from the bestselling author of CHASING DARKNESS. When quiet Ellen Lang enters Elvis Cole's Disney-deco office, she's lost something very valuable - her husband and young son. The case seems simple enough, but Elvis isn't thrilled. Neither is his enigmatic partner and firepower Joe Pike. Their search down the seamy side of Hollywood's studio lots and sculptured lawns soon leads them deep into a nasty netherworld of drugs and sex - and murder. Now the case is getting interesting, ...
A fantastic Joe Pike and Elvis Cole novel from the bestselling author of CHASING DARKNESS. When quiet Ellen Lang enters Elvis Cole's Disney-deco office, she's lost something very valuable - her husband and young son. The case seems simple enough, but Elvis isn't thrilled. Neither is his enigmatic partner and firepower Joe Pike. Their search down the seamy side of Hollywood's studio lots and sculptured lawns soon leads them deep into a nasty netherworld of drugs and sex - and murder. Now the case is getting interesting, but it's also turned ugly. Because everybody, from cops to starlets to crooks, has declared war on Ellen and Elvis.
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Elvis Cole is original; he' a wise-cracking private eye with a side-kick whose other name should be Rambo. However, it is Joe Pike. This is the first in the series but I've read several of the Elvis and Joe Pike books before.
I have a personal belief that the strength of the author can be seen by just how nice the villain is (versus the totally nonredeemable degenerate that most new writers create for their bad boy). Crais' former matador is charming and interesting -- as well as being a Mexican drug lord.
It was more interesting to see the Elvis - Joe Pike relationship, rather than wading through thousands of words trying to describe a very complex association.
This book is not as good as the later stories but sets up the characters for the future. Elvis is a cross between a sarcastic cynic and a psychologist. Elvis' thoughts carry the plot; he helps Joe Pike navigate a world where Joe seems to be a semi-alien.
1. The Monkey's Raincoat (1987)
2. Stalking the Angel (1988)
3. Lullaby Town (1992)
Aug 28, 2011
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.
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