Posts Tagged ‘Elvis Cole’

Robert Crais

Bonzo Bob Crais: America’s greatest detective writer

Crimezine neighbor Bonzo Bob Crais is without question Mulholland Drive’s favorite crime writer come dog walker. The New York Times best selling author and Olympic level BBQer is a legend, not only in the City of Angels but in Crimezine community at large.

It is with great pleasure therefore that Crimezine can announce that the Crais silent- writer—that marvelous machine that fills the Mulholland night with the mellifluous music of mystery— has fallen quiet once again, heralding the arrival of The Promise, the latest installment of the Elvis Cole Saga.

Times have changed considerably since the original 1987 outing of the wise-cracking private eye, in the gloriously named The Monkey’s Raincoat and in the ensuing years Bonzo Bob has been collecting literary gongs faster than a Hollywood traffic cop can dole out parking violations. As the years zip past, the unfeasibly monikered Elvis has come up against just about every kind of criminal conspirator you could name and a few more besides.

Some things remain reassuringly constant however: the grumpy cat, the A-frame house, Falstaff beer and the glittering backdrop of the city of Los Angeles. No one writes about LA like the Craisy one, apart from Raymond Chandler or Crimezines favorite Floridian, the awesome Conners.

Yes, the characteristic Cole wise cracks have been missing in recent years, but readers can be assured they are back in The Promise; a turn of events that has had Mulholland residents cheering in the street.

So what of the plot we hear you ask? Well, there is the nasty Mr. Rollins, a nice lady whose son has been killed and a terrorist bomb plot of the kind that would have the NCIS crew soiling their jockey shorts.

Then on page 76 Joe Pike turns up. He is wearing sunglasses. His lip coils very slightly, but he says nothing. Cole fans go ballistic. Mulholland neighborhood watchers start howling at the moon. Pike is of course the taciturn Yang to Cole’s ebullient Ying and has been for many a long year—since the Vietnam days in fact.

Vietnam? The calculations swirl. Yes, that is right Crimeziners, Cole and Pike are the same age as legendary Connelly creation Hieronymus Harry Bosch; the LAPD veteran who wheezed and stooped arthritically into retirement some years ago. No doubt Harry has many mysteries yet to solve from the comfort of his bath chair. But so do Cole and Pike, because they are now ably assisted by thirty-something Delta force whipper-snapper Jon Stone.

Jon likes guns and technology. He does the stuff the old timers can’t figure, like program the video machine—[Surely video stream from the internet?—Ed] You get the picture. Pike, Cole and Stone are like the Larry, Moe, and Curly-Joe of Crime fiction—

NYUK—Cole drops gags and gets into terrible trouble.
CLANG—Pike screeches up in the red jeep.
SPROING—Stone pulls open trunk full of military grade weapons.

Carnage ensues.

It is a wonder bad guys bother coming to Los Angeles at all these days—they really don’t stand a chance.

It is entertaining stuff of course. The goofball camaraderie and set-piece histrionics never fail to delight. Crais is a master storyteller, whose ligature tight prose never pulls out of the fast lane. It must also be mentioned that The Promise sees a very welcome guest appearance from LAPD dog handler Scott James and his K9 companion Maggie; stars of the awesome Crais standalone novel Suspect. A book that had Crimezine cocktail wrangler Consuela quite literally sobbing into her Chablis. We are Pack Crimeziners. We are Pack.

Bonzo Bob Crais is without doubt America’s greatest detective writer. Get Craisy, Get The Promise. Tell them Crimezine sent you.

Taken-Robert-Crais-Review

Craisie about Crais

Krista Morales might be an honor student, but she is a bit of a dumbo really. First she heads out into the desert night with her loser boyfriend, then she whips out her camera phone to take pictures of heavily armed human traffickers on a murder rampage. Presto, Krista and the loser get kidnapped and that means TROU-BLE!

Taken, is the latest read by Crimezine neighbor Robert Crais, The keep the noise down king of Mulholland Drive, is currently riding high of the Bestseller Charts and rightly so.

This is Bonzo Bob’s fifteenth Cole and Pike book—that is a lotta sequel’s Crimeziners—can you imagine Pirates of the Caribbean 15—would you want to? Quite. Crais is to be commended for bravely moving the franchise forward, in a variety of innovative ways. The recent Joe Pike books First Rule and The Watchmen are good examples of this steadfast refusal by Crais to stay safe and formulaic.

Kudos too for this well researched commentary on human trafficking on the US/Mexico border, a world that is so relentlessly vile and gruesome it is almost impossible to describe without inducing a protracted bout of nausea.

Crais has noticeably tightened up on his writing style with this book, using shorter snappier sentences, and other devices such as a non-sequential plotline and multi-character viewpoints. Such experimentation is to be commended. Trouble is readers are fickle and possessive—they get upset when a winning formula evolves and the Cole & Pike saga is starting to feel that burn.

Crimezine has commented before that Elvis Cole is losing much of the wisecracking charm that made him so appealing in the classic Cole & Pike novels, this morose trend continues with Taken, a frustration for many regular readers. But Crimezine suspects this is a serious effort by America’s Greatest Detective Writer [© Crimezine] to give  Elvis Cole more gravitas, which is to be commended, as other crime writers, have gone the opposite extreme, and mired their characters with mad-cappery, which can be both tiresome and distracting.

There are always risks with such a forward thinking attitude however. Many readers do not want their favorite characters to evolve—The Craisie faithful are fervently loyal and quickly riled. You better not mess with the Craises Bob—no-siree! Crimezine often has to venture outside our Mulholland Drive HQ with a big stick during Craisy season, a time when busloads of Bob’s adoring fans clog the street for months on end, with gratuitous acts of fandom and brassiere tossing lustiness. Crimezine suspects Craisies will eat this book up—but their appetite is voracious, will Bob be able to feed that hunger indefinitely?

Crimezine loves this book, and you will too. Robert Crais is an awesome writer. We would suggest however that the next Elvis Cole novel is a back to basics classic. Perhaps Bob could hammer out his creative frustrations on some new stand alone novels, like he did with Hostage and Demolition Angel. We would love, love, love that! No doubt Hollyweird would too.

Still, back to the haddock brained Krista Morales. Her mom Nita is thankfully smart enough to send Elvis on a rescue mission, but wouldn’t you know it, our favorite private eye ends up getting kidnapped too, Duh! Thankfully Joe Pike and Delta Force chum Jon Stone are on the case too, so we get a story that is a true fifty-fifty split between Cole and Pike, which leads to the kind of gruesome action we know and love. Get your mirrored shades on Crimeziners! Yayyyyy!