While Crais's macho California P.I., Elvis Cole, and his silent sidekick, the menacing Joe Pike, have their own action-hero moves down cold…they never coast on procedural protocol. Nor is Crais too tough to neglect a sissy thing like plot. This one's a winner, opening with the artfully staged suicide of a presumed serial killer…and developing into a suspenseful, often surprising morality tale motivated by Cole's determination to prove he didn't slip up in helping to exonerate the dead man of a murder charge.
The New York Times
After earning a law degree, James Daniels quit recording audiobooks, but returned to read Crais's newest Elivis Cole and Joe Pike mystery (his previous Crais recordings include The Forgotten Man, Hostage, The Last Detective, Lullaby Town and The Watchman). It's a welcome return and Daniel's no-nonsense reading elevates one of Crais's lesser efforts and turns it into an enjoyable listening experience. Slipping back into these characters, Daniels easily distinguishes Cole's wise-guy banter from Pike's steely resolution, and he gives this outing's enigmatic villain, Lionel Byrd, just the right note of weirdness. A fire unearths evidence that someone Cole helped prove innocent of murdering a prostitute six years ago may actually have been guilty-and may have killed many other women. Cole and Pike dodge bullets as they dig around to find out the truth. A Simon & Schuster hardcover (Reviews, May 19). (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The shooting of an apparent serial killer allows the LAPD to close the books on seven murders-but private eye Elvis Cole won't have it. Dead suspects don't look any more guilty than Lionel Byrd. In his hand is the gun that fired the fatal shot into his head; at his feet is an album with Polaroids of seven women who've been killed at the rate of one a year, each photo snapped moments after the subject's death. Homicide detective Connie Bastilla is only too happy to write finis to a troublesome case. But Cole, who produced the evidence that allowed Byrd's lawyer to verify an alibi for the fifth murder, isn't convinced. And he comes up with enough evidence to convince the seventh victim's brothers to quit beating him up and help him investigate further. The harder Elvis digs, the more Byrd's suicide looks like a murder whose evidence the cops are deliberately sweeping under the rug. But how far does the cover-up extend, and how high up are its beneficiaries? With some help from Detective Carol Starkey, late of the bomb squad, and his partner Joe Pike, whom nobody's ever accused of being too sensitive, Cole follows the trail through a string of well-placed twists to a satisfying climax. Some of the twists are more convincing than the last one, which leaves a few loose ends. But it's great to see Cole (The Forgotten Man, 2005, etc.) back in action.