L.A. Requiem (Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Series #8)

L.A. Requiem (Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Series #8)

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by Robert Crais
     
 

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The day starts like any other in L.A. The sun burns hot as the Santa Ana winds blow ash from mountain fires to coat the glittering city. But for private investigator Joe Pike, the city will never be the same again. His ex-lover, Karen Garcia, is dead, brutally murdered with a gun shot to the head.

Now Karen's powerful father calls on Pike (a former cop) and his…  See more details below

Overview

The day starts like any other in L.A. The sun burns hot as the Santa Ana winds blow ash from mountain fires to coat the glittering city. But for private investigator Joe Pike, the city will never be the same again. His ex-lover, Karen Garcia, is dead, brutally murdered with a gun shot to the head.

Now Karen's powerful father calls on Pike (a former cop) and his partner, Elvis Cole, to keep an eye on the LAPD as they search for his daughter's killer--because in the luminous City of Angels, everyone has secrets, and even the mighty blue have something to hide. But what starts as a little procedural hand-holding turns into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse. For a dark web of conspiracy threatens to destroy Pike and Cole's twelve-year friendship--if not their lives. And L.A. just might be singing their dirge.


From the Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
For some time now, Robert Crais has been threatening to step beyond the confines of the genre audience and into the consciousness of a wider, more mainstream readership, the same readership that has recently embraced such diverse figures as Walter Mosley, James Ellroy, Lawrence Block, and Michael Connelly. Crais's latest novel, L.A. Requiem— a big, complex, involving novel of revenge and murder in modern-day Los Angeles — might just be the book that elevates him to that same level of popularity.

L.A. Requiem is the eighth novel in a series that features Elvis Cole, a wisecracking private detective in the grand tradition, and his tough, terse, hard-bitten partner, Joe Pike. More than any of the previous seven entries, this one takes us deeply into the complex personal lives of its two protagonists.

As the story begins, Elvis is facing a major, but not unwelcome, lifestyle change: His girlfriend, Lucy Chenier, has just relocated to Los Angeles with her nine-year-old son Ben, drawn by both a lucrative job offer and the chance to live in closer proximity to Elvis. Trouble begins on moving day, which is rudely interrupted by a phone call from Joe Pike. An old girlfriend of Pike's named Karen Garcia — a figure from out of his enigmatic past — has just gone missing. Pike, contacted by her panic-stricken father, has volunteered to search for Karen, and asks Elvis to help. From this point forward, events take on an unexpected life of their own.

What looks like a routine missing-person case begins, almost immediately, to undergo a sinister seriesofmetamorphoses. Just hours after Elvis and Pike begin their investigation, Karen's body is located. She has been shot to death by an unknown assailant. The case shifts direction again when police sources reveal that Karen is the fifth such victim in 19 months. When word leaks out that a serial killer is loose in Los Angeles, the inevitable media circus ensues. Desperate for results, police concentrate their attention on a single, unlikely suspect who happens to resemble the psychological profile provided by the FBI. When that suspect is murdered by a man falsely identified as Joe Pike, Pike finds himself in jail, and Elvis finds himself forced, once again, to reexamine his most fundamental notions about the nature of this case.

Galvanized by the arrest of his partner, Elvis begins to question the supposedly random nature of the series of murders that culminated with Karen Garcia's death. Searching for connections, he focuses on the period, some 12 years before, when Joe Pike and Karen first came together. In the classic tradition of a Ross MacDonald novel, past events prove inextricably connected to the dramas of the present day. Incidents from Pike's former life as a Los Angeles policeman — incidents such as an unresolved Internal Affairs investigation, the arrest and conviction of a roving pedophile, and the violent death of Pike's partner, Abel Wozniak — are among the threads that Elvis follows as he struggles to uncover the truth behind a seemingly disparate series of killings, and to identify the damaged, dimly glimpsed figure responsible for them.

En route to that discovery, and to the violent and visceral events that follow in its wake, L.A. REQUIEM pushes at the boundaries of the traditional detective novel, moving easily between the primary, present-day narrative and a deliberately disconnected series of flashbacks that illuminate Pike's traumatic formative years and his brief, violent career with the LAPD. The result is a novel that functions on at least three levels: as an effective, tightly plotted mystery; as a moving examination of the growth and development of an individual soul; and as a complex presentation of the sometimes noble, sometimes demented things people do in the name of love.

L.A. Requiem has all the earmarks of a breakout book. It is painful and exhilarating, ambitious and exciting, shrewdly constructed and deeply felt. It is the best and biggest work to date from a writer who understands the inner workings of his chosen form, and who has something useful to tell us about love, loyalty, and the underlying causes of violence.

Bill Sheehan

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307567857
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/22/2009
Series:
Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Series , #8
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
10,789
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt

Uniformed LAPD Officer Joe Pike could hear the banda music even with the engine idling, the a.c. jacked to meat locker, and the two-way crackling callout codes to other units.

The covey of Latina street kids clumped outside the arcade giggled at him, whispering things to each other that made them flush. Squat brown men come up through the fence from Zacatecas milled on the sidewalk, shielding their eyes from the sun as veteranos told them about Sawtelle over on the Westside where they could find day labor jobs, thirty dollars cash, no papers required. Here in Rampart Division south of Sunset, Guatemalans and Nicaraguans simmered with Salvadorans and Mexican nationals in a sidewalk machaca that left the air flavored with epizote, even here within the sour cage of the radio car.

Pike watched the street kids part like water when his partner hurried out of the arcade. Abel Wozniak was a thick man with a square head and cloudy, slate eyes. Wozniak was twenty years older than Pike and had been on the street twenty years longer. Once the best cop that Pike had then met,Wozniak's eyes were now strained. They'd been riding together for two years, and the eyes hadn't always been that way. Pike regretted that, but there wasn't anything he could do about it.

Especially now when they were looking for Ramona Ann Escobar.

Wozniak lurched in behind the wheel, adjusting his gun for the seat, anxious to roll even with the tension between them as thick as clotted blood. His informant had come through.

"DeVille's staying at the Islander Palms Motel."

"Does DeVille have the girl?"

"My guy eyeballed a little girl, but he can't say if she's still with him."

Wozniak snapped the car into gear and rocked away from the curb. They didn't roll Code Three. No lights, no siren. The Islander Palms was less than five blocks away, here on Alvarado Boulevard just south of Sunset. Why send an announcement?

"Woz? Would DeVille hurt her?"

"I told you, a fuckin' perv like this would be better off with a bullet in his head."

It was eleven-forty on a Tuesday morning. At nine-twenty, a five-year-old girl named Ramona Ann Escobar had been playing near the paddleboatconcession in Echo Park when her mother, a legal emigre from Guatemala, had turned away to chat with friends. Witnesses last saw Ramona in the company of a man believed to be one Leonard DeVille, a known pedophilewho'd been sighted working both Echo and MacArthur parks for the past three months. When the dispatch call had come about the missing girl, Wozniak had begun working his street informants. Wozniak, having beenon the street forever, knew everyone and how to find them. He wasatreasure trove of information that Pike valued and respected, anddidn'twant to lose. But Pike couldn't do anything about that,either.

Pike stared at Wozniak until Wozniak couldn't handle the weight any longer and glanced over. They were forty seconds away from the Islander Palms. "Oh, for Christ's sake, what?"

"It isn't too late, Woz."

Wozniak's eyes went back to the street, and his face tightened. "I'm telling you, Joe. Back off with this. I'm not going to talk about it anymore."

"I meant what I said."

Wozniak wet his lips.

"You've got Paulette and Evelyn to think about."

Wozniak's wife and daughter.

The cloudy eyes flicked to Pike, as bottomless and as dangerous as a thunderhead.

"I've been thinking about them, Pike. You bet your ass."

For just an instant, Pike thought Wozniak's eyes filled. Then Wozniak gave a shudder as if he were shaking out his feelings, and pointed.

"There it is. Now shut the fuck up and play like a cop."

The Islander Palms was a white stucco dump: two stories of frayed carpets, stained beds, and neon palms that looked tacky even in Los Angeles, all of it shaped into an L around a narrow parking lot. The typical customers were whores renting by the hour, wannabe pornographers shooting "amateur" videos, and rent jumpers needing a place to stay while they found a new landlord to stiff.

Pike followed Wozniak into the manager's office, a skinny Hindu with watery eyes. First thing he said was, "I do not wan' trouble, please."

Wozniak had the lead.

"We're looking for a man with a little girl. His name is Leonard DeVille, but he might've used another name."

The Hindu didn't know the name, or about a little girl, but he told them that a man matching the description Woz provided could be found on the second floor in the third room from the top of the L.

Pike said, "You want me to call it in?"

Wozniack went out the door and up the stairs without answering. Pike thought then that he should go back to the car and call, but you don't let your partner go up alone. Pike followed.

They found the third door, listened, but heard nothing. The drapes were pulled. Standing on the exposed balcony, Pike felt as if they were being watched.

Wozniak took the knob side of the door, Pike the hinges. Wozniak rapped on the door, identifying himself as a Los Angeles police officer. Everything about Joe made him want to be the first one inside, but they had settled that two years ago. Wozniak drove, Wozniak went in first, Wozniak called how they made the play. Twenty-two years on the job against Pike's three bought you that. They had done it this way two hundred times.

When DeVille opened the door, they pushed him backward, Wozniak going first and pushing hard.

DeVille said, "Hey, what is this?" Like he'd never been rousted before.

The room was tattered and cheesy, with a closet and bath off the rear. A rumpled double bed rested against the wall like some kind of ugly altar, its dark red bedspread stained and threadbare, one of the stains looking like Mickey Mouse. The room's only other piece of furniture was a cheap dresser edged with cigarette burns and notches cut by a sharp knife. Wozniak held DeVille as Pike cleared the bathroom and the closet, looking for Ramona.

"She's not here."

"Anything else? Clothes, suitcase, toothbrush?"

"Nothing." Indicating that DeVille hadn't been living here, and didn't intend to. He had other uses for the room.

Wozniak, who had busted DeVille twice in the past, said, "Where is she, Lennie?"

"Who? Hey, I don't do that anymore. C'mon, Officer."

"Where's the camera?"

DeVille spread his hands, flashing a nervous smile. "I got no camera. I'm telling you, I'm off that."

Leonard DeVille was five-eight, with a fleshy body, dyed blond hair, and skin like a pineapple. The hair was slicked straight back, and held with a rubber band. Pike knew that DeVille was lying, but waited to see how Woz would play it. Even with only three years on the job, Pike knew that pedophiles were always pedophiles. You could bust them, treat them, counsel them, whatever, but when you released them back into the world, they were still child molesters and it was only a matter of time.

Wozniak hooked a hand under the foot of the bed and heaved the bed over. DeVille jumped back and stumbled into Pike, who caught and held him. A rumpled overnight bag was nesting in about a million dust bunnies where the bed had been.

Wozniak said, "Lennie, you are about as dumb as they get."

"Hey, that ain't mine. I got nothing to do with that bag." DeVille was so scared that he sprouted sweat like a rainstorm.

Wozniak opened the bag and dumped out a Polaroid camera, better than a dozen film packs, and at least a hundred pictures of children in various stages of undress. That's how a guy like DeVille made his living, snapping pictures and selling them to other perverts.

Wozniak toed through the pictures, his face growing darker and more contained. Pike couldn't see the pictures from where he stood, but he could see the vein pulsing in Wozniak's temple. He thought that Wozniak must be thinking about his own daughter, but maybe not. Maybe Wozniak was still thinking about the other thing.

Pike squeezed DeVille's arm. "Where's the little girl? Where's Ramona Escobar?"

DeVille's voice went higher. "That stuff isn't mine. I never saw it before."

Wozniak squatted, fingering through the pictures without expression. He lifted one, and held it to his nose.

"I can still smell the developing chemicals. You didn't take this more than an hour ago."

"They're not mine!"

Wozniak stared at the picture. Pike still couldn't see it.

"She looks about five. She matches the physical description they gave us. Pretty little girl. Innocent. Now she's not innocent anymore."

Abel Wozniak stood and drew his gun. It was the new Beretta 9-millimeter that LAPD had just mandated.

"If you hurt that child, I'll fucking kill you."

Joe said, "Woz, we've got to call in. Put your gun away."

Wozniak stepped past Pike and snapped the Beretta backhand, slamming DeVille in the side of the head and dropping him like a bag of garbage.

Pike jumped between them, grabbing Wozniak by the arms and pushing him back. "That doesn't help get the girl."

Then Wozniak's eyes came to Pike; hard, ugly little rivets with something behind the clouds.

When the two police officers went up the stairs, Fahreed Abouti, the manager, watched until they pushed the blond man back into his room. The police often came to his motel to bust the prostitutes and johns and drug dealers, and Fahreed never passed up a chance to watch. Once, he had seen a prostitute servicing the officers who had come to arrest her, and another time he watched as three officers beat a rapist until all the man's teeth were gone. There was always something wonderful to see. It was better than Wheel of Fortune.

You had to be careful, though.

As soon as the upstairs door closed, Fahreed crept up the stairs. If you got too close, or if they caught you, the police grew angry. Once, a SWAT officer in the armor and the helmet and with the big gun had grown so angry that he'd knocked Fahreed's turban into a puddle of transmission fluid. The cleaning cost had been horrendous.

The shouting started when Fahreed was still on the stairs. He couldn't understand what was being said, only that the words were angry. He eased along the second-floor balcony, trying to get closer, but just as he reached the room, the shouting stopped. He cursed the fates, thinking he'd missed all the fun, when suddenly there was a single loud shout from inside, then a thunderous, deafening explosion.

People on the street stopped in their tracks and looked. People pointed, and a man across the parking lot ran.

Fahreed's heart pounded, because even a Hindu knew a gunshot. He thought the blond man might be dead. Or perhaps he had killed the officers.

Fahreed heard nothing within the room.

"Hallu?"

Nothing.

"Is everyone all right?"

Nothing.

Perhaps they had jumped from the bathroom window into the alley behind.

Fahreed's palms were damp, and all his swirling fears demanded that he race back to his office and pretend to have heard nothing, but instead he threw open the door.

The younger officer, the tall one with the dark glasses and the empty face, spun toward him and aimed an enormous revolver. Fahreed thought in that instant that he would surely die.

"Please. No!"

The older officer was without a face, his remains covered in blood. The blond man was dead, too, his face a mask of crimson. The floor and walls and ceiling were sprayed red.

"No!"

The tall officer's gun never wavered. Fahreed stared into his dark bottomless glasses, and saw that they were misted with blood.

"Please!"

The tall officer dropped to his fallen partner, and began CPR.

Without looking up, the tall officer said, "Call 911."

Fahreed Abouti ran for the phone.

From the Paperback edition.

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What People are saying about this

David Baldacci
One of the best crme novels I've ever read.
Dean Koontz
A terrific entertainment and a powerful portrait of Los Angeles in our time: swift, colorful, gripping, a real knockout.

Meet the Author

Robert Crais has written for such award-winning television shows as L.A. Law and Hill Street Blues. His novels Free Fall and The Monkey's Raincoat were nominated for the Edgar Award. He lives in Los Angeles.


From the Paperback edition.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Los Angeles, California
Date of Birth:
June 20, 1953
Place of Birth:
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Education:
B.S., Louisiana State University, 1976; Clarion Writers Workshop at Michigan State University
Website:
http://www.robertcrais.com

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L. A. Requiem (Elvis Cole Series #8) 4.5 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 99 reviews.
Ullysses More than 1 year ago
I was starting to get a little disappointed in the Elvis Cole series, something which I always enjoyed, until this book came out. As noted from a review by another person, this book finally gives some insight into the much liked character Joe Pike. I think its success is what prompted Crais to put out his newer novels in which Elvis takes the background and Pike takes the forefront. Either way, if you like the Elvis Cole novels, which I have always found humorous as well as easy page-turners, this one will not disappoint.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you're a fan of Joe Pike, this is a must read. I really enjoyed this book in that it tells the story of who Joe is and why. Very good book. Could not put it down.
Kmacard More than 1 year ago
I have read several of the Elvis Cole series and enjoyed them all. But, this one was definitely a cut above the rest. After getting only little glimpses into the Joe Pike character, it was especially nice to learn about his background so you can read about what drives him to be the person he is now. You also find out much more about Elvis Cole and his friendship with Joe. This was a book that, when I was not reading it, I could hardly wait to get back to it and see where it would take me next! That is the yardstick that all books should be measured by and this one met and exceeded that mark. It was a great read and I recommend it to any and all who want an interesting, engaging, hate-to-put-it-down kind of book. I will be rereading it one day soon ...... after I finish the rest of the series, that is.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Robert Crais, with his 'L.A. REQUIEM' has broken through the designation of 'genre writer'. With his serial detective Elvis Cole, and even more, with PI Joe Pike, he has created the true existential detective. We crave to learn more about these two men and what has made them what and who they are. Crais, along with Michael Connolly, has gleaned some real insights into this City of the Angels, which is all the more amazing since neither of these men came from Los Angeles. They nevertheless, paint an unforgettable (and accurate) portrait of the heart and soul of the City of Angels and what makes it and its people unique. 'LA REQUIEM' is Crais' master work and is a great mystery to boot.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Elvis Cole is among the coolest and wisest of all fiction private detectives. In LA Requiem, however, we learn the story of his partner, Joe Pike, who is falsely accused of murder. This is an excellent detective story, but I was captured by the spirit of friendship between the two men. This is perhaps my favorite mystery book of all time.
fabulousgoldfish More than 1 year ago
I recently discovered Robert Crais and I must say he is one of my top 3 favorite authors. LA requiem is my best read so far and the Last detective was equally excellent. I intend to read all of Robert Crais books especially the Elvis Cole and Joe Pike series. This book is full of twists and turns that leaves you guessing till the end. Full of suspense that keeps you glued to the pages. Read all of Robert Crais books, you'll be thoroughly entertained.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
1dachsmom More than 1 year ago
HIGHLY RECOMMEND!! Fantastic read. Another great novel by Robert Crais. Don't miss this one!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the Elvis Cole/Joe Pike books. This one was so good. When is Elvis going to stop pining over Lucy. I get aggravated every time she is written about. She is a snob and not worthy of Cole. I was so hoping Elvis and Samantha were going to get together. Maybe one of these years Crais will write Lucy out and bring in someone fresh for Elvis to be enamored with.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recommend this fast paced page turner
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am new to Robert Crais & Elvis Cole, but now I can't stop reading this great series. Crais writes with humor and empathy, and with each ending leaves me wanting more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like the humor.Great story, but I hope they loose the stupid girl friend, Lucy, in future books. Doland is a much more interesting character for a love interest.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the read. Felt like it came to a climax before the end of the book though. Was my first time reading this author, but won't be my last.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago