Tuesday, July 14, 2009

L.A. Requiem (by Robert Crais)

Reviewed by Tracy L. Karol

I don't even remember why I picked this book up, but I didn't realize at the time that it was part of a series. I admit that when I did I was a bit disappointed because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to follow along.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, there's nothing better for a reader than to find a great writer and realize that he or she already has a body of work published and you can go back and read it all, rather than waiting a year or two for the next book to be published.

L.A. Requiem introduced me to the wacky, wise-cracking world of Elvis Cole, private investigator ("the best detective in the world" as he calls himself) and his enigmatic partner, Joe Pike. Of the two, it's hard to say which character I like better. Elvis Cole narrates in first person, and he's truly funny, but tough. Joe Pike has a dark side, but he's loyal and in this book you really get to see some backstory of Pike (as I realized later, after reading some earlier Robert Crais books). If I had to date one? I think I'd have a good time with Cole, but be hopelessly attracted to Joe Pike.

I've read every book written by Robert Crais since I picked this one up, and I've never been disappointed -- even with the ones that aren't in the series. My understanding is that Crais has sold the movie rights to his books that don't feature Cole/Pike (such as "The Hostage") but won't sell the Elvis Cole books. Which is fine with me, because I don't know if any movie could live up to my expectations of the great characters Robert Crais has created.

You can pick up the Cole series anywhere, as I did, but do yourself a favor and start near the beginning. Every single one of his books are worth at LEAST one read (I've read most several times). I can't wait for the next installment, and understand it will be another Joe Pike novel.

Five stars -- Highly recommended!