Demolition Angel Mass Market Paperback – Jul 3 2001
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Penzler Pick, May 2000: Like many authors with ongoing characters, Robert Crais has taken a break from his famous private eye. After eight novels featuring Elvis Cole and his loyal sidekick Joe Pike, Crais has created Carol Starkey, a bomb squad veteran now doing time as a Detective-2 with LAPD's Criminal Conspiracy Section. Three years have passed since the detonation that killed Carol's partner and lover, but she is still severely scarred both mentally and physically. She can't bear to look in the mirror, and she hasn't been with another man since David Boudreaux left her bed that last morning he went to work. She gets through the day with the help of Tagamet and alcohol.
When a bomb call takes the life of another colleague, Carol begins to investigate a series of explosions that seem to be designed to exterminate bomb technicians. She soon realizes that she's "the one that got away." With the help of an FBI agent whom she loathes professionally for interfering with her job but finds attractive anyway, Carol must track down one of the most frighteningly brilliant killers of the modern age.
This edgy thriller's protagonist is one that the reader at first may have difficulty liking, but she's got a background and history that make her truly three-dimensional. One hopes that Crais, one of the handful of young crime writers capable of writing consistently luminous prose, will continue to give us characters like Carol Starkey to star in his always powerful portraits of modern-day Los Angeles. --Otto Penzler --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Acclaimed for his Elvis Cole mystery series (L.A. Requiem, etc.), Crais deserves further garlands for this stand-alone crime novel. The book features one of the most complex heroines to grace a thriller since Clarice Starling locked eyes with Hannibal Lecter, a deliciously spooky villain in the person of a mad bomber known as Mr. Red, and an aggressively involving plot. Carol Starkey was a rising light in the LAPD Bomb Squad until, two years back, a bomb blew up in her face, maiming her and killing her lover/partner. Now Carol's a bitter, chain-smoking alcoholic with the LAPD's Criminal Conspiracy Section, who gets drawn into a literally explosive conspiracy when a bomb kills Charlie Riggio, one of her former bomb squad colleagues. Forensic evidence points toward the bomb being the work of John Michael Fowles, aka Mr. Red, a coldhearted young bomber-assassin-for-hire and master of disguise. Much of the narrative concerns Carol's pursuit of him, most excitingly on the Net through a secret mad-bombers' site, aided by a saturnine federal (ATF) agent, Jack Pell. Intercut are scenes of Mr. Red's various mad plottings, which take a hairpin turn when he learns that the cops think he killed Riggio: for in fact he didn't. That murder pans out as a copycat crime for personal gain, and now Carol must pursue both Riggio's killer and Mr. Red, who in turn has taken an intimate interest in this bomb-savvy female cop. The subsequent pas de deux between Carol and Mr. Red is too reminiscent of the dance between Starling and Lecter, but otherwise this novel gets high marks for originality, and even higher ones for suspense and, above all, for multidimensional, wounded characters who give all the excitement a rare depth. BOMC and Literary Guild featured selection; Mystery Guild main selection; author tour; film rights sold to Columbia/Tri-Star. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The main characters are an expert from the LA bomb squad, our Demolition Angel, Carol Starkey, a weird psychotic bomb maniac, Mr. Red, and an ex-ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives) agent, Jack Pell. Thanks to Google for helping me with ATF.
Carol is an alcoholic still carrying physical scars from a bomb explosion 3 years earlier and mental ones from the loss of her lover to the same bomb. Jack too was badly injured by another bomb explosion some years before. Carol slugs back the gin with a vengeance, on the job or off, to satisfy her addiction. She smokes heavily. Every chapter she devours Tagemets by the handful. Thanks again to Google - these are proprietary heartburn and antacid tablets not known in Australia.
Mr. Red is your ultimate weirdo, adopting multiple disguises, skin tones, spoken lingoes and travelling around the country like a ghost leaving only a trail of bombs and not necessarily innocent victims. He is skilled, insecure, evil and extremely dangerous.
Carol and Jack's paths cross early in the story and whilst Mr. Red is ever present and often closer to Carol & Jack than anyone would like to admit, his path inevitably crosses with theirs towards the end of the story.
The finale is much as anyone would expect - no surprises at all - so after a disappointing start there's a disappointing ending too.Read more ›
Carol Starkey is the disenfranchised heroine of the book. Starkey is one of a rare breed of "bomb squad" cops who treat bombs like sophisticated puzzles. We join Starkey (now off the bomb squad) several years after her lover had died in a freak accident; a minor earthquake set off a bomb that Starkey and Sugar are trying to assess and defuse. Starkey died that day, as well, but they somehow revived her. She's not sure that was a good thing. Since the accident, Starkey's been a walking disaster area; subsisting on Tagamet, coffee and cigarettes, her failures at therapy and her unwillingness to form any meaningful relationships are destroying her energy, in the same way that liquor is destroying her career. Starkey is a drunk.
Another squad technician, Charles Riggio, is fatally blown up by an explosive device as the novel opens.Read more ›
died. Since then she has been burying her survivor's guilt with alcohol and Tagamet. While assigned to LAPD's Criminal
Conspiracy section, Carols lands a case in which a seemingly easy bomb to diffuse kills another technician. She soon finds
herself investigating a series of bombings in which the bombs were deliberately designed to kill the technicians.
Robert Crais has written a fast pace novel with twists and turns that will keep you turning the pages until you are done. He
has successfully created a complex multi-dimensional wounded character in Carol Starkey while at the same time immersing
you in the authentic world of bomb making and the dangerous world of the bomb technicians.
This is the first book I have read by Robert Crais and I now have a new author to add to my To Be Found (TBF) and To
Be Read (TBR) piles. I highly recommend this book. Review by: Lillian Porter
In our story we have a police heroine who leads the charge in finding a serial bomber ('Mr Red'). The story has *plausible* twists and turns, with an unexpected and thrilling ending. And the author has seemingly done a fine job researching this bizarre world of bombers and bomb disposal experts; I found it educational.
However 'Demolition Angel' isn't perfect. Robert Crais is a great storyteller, but he isn't a great writer. His characterizations are somewhat shallow, and he expends no effort in giving the reader the *feeling* of the setting. It is as if he wrote the book in haste. But these are mere quibbles.
Bottom line: terrific (and frightening) story. Job well done.
Most recent customer reviews
An excellent thriller featuring Carol Starkey, a homicide detective who started out as a bomb tech. She's on the trail of a serial bomber but there are a lot of twists and turns in... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Jenifer Mohammed, Author of Resurrecting Cybele
I have always been a big fan of Crais. However, if I had read this first, I would never have read another. Plot is weak. Characters are two-dimensional. Read morePublished on July 21 2013 by AdamV
Unfortunately, Elvis Cole is not in this novel. Instead we get a new character-former demolition expect and cop, who was so traumatized by the explosion three years ago that she... Read morePublished on July 18 2004 by Victoria
This was the fifth Crais book I'd read. It's a departure from his Elvis Cole series. Overall, pretty good. Read morePublished on Jan. 13 2004 by J H Murphy
I like Robert Crais. I'm one of many. People often have, at least I do, ambivalent feelings about our favorite writers exploring uncharted territory. Read morePublished on Feb. 8 2003 by Larry Scantlebury
You can rate a book up to 6 stars when:
1) No matter where you are: a stadium, at work, at the movies, etc. Read more
This was a great book. I had not read any Robert Crais books prior to reading Demolition Angel. I liked the book well enough to explore other books by Crais and am in the process... Read morePublished on Nov. 6 2002 by Debs