L.A. Requiem Hardcover – Jun 1 1999
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More than 10 years ago, I was shocked to learn that some puerile piece of fluff had won the Edgar for Best Paperback Original, when it was so obvious to me and virtually everyone else in the Western Hemisphere that the award should have gone to The Monkey's Raincoat, the book that introduced Elvis Cole, private eye, and is to this day one of the funniest books I've ever read.
The terrific Elvis Cole series has grown through the years, each book better than the last, but nothing prepared me for the quantum leap (yes, it's a cliché, but it belongs here) that Crais has made with L.A. Requiem. It's not as funny as the other books in the series, but it's a beautifully plotted detective story, rich with police procedure, and it will keep even the most sophisticated reader at sea right until the end. And that's what elevates this book to the level of literature.
This one is more about Joe Pike, Elvis's silent sidekick, than it is about Elvis. We learn, through Pike's own eyes, how his childhood made him the way he is today. It's also about a friendship so strong that it threatens Elvis's relationship with his beloved Lucy. It is a tender but dark book--a serial killer book--but it doesn't attempt to outgross the other serial killer books on the shelf. It is funny at times and chilling at other times, making it one of the rare books that can't help but linger in the memory long after it's been read and put away. --Otto Penzler
From Publishers Weekly
In his eighth book about wise-cracking Los Angeles private detective Elvis Cole, Crais has expanded his narrative reach and broadened his characters' horizons to produce a mature work that deserves to move him up a notch or twoAinto Parker or Connelly country. He's done this by focusing on Joe Pike, Cole's tough and hitherto totally enigmatic partner. It's Pike who breaks in on Cole's reunion with Lucy Chenier, his lawyer/broadcaster lover who has just moved from New Orleans, to ask for Elvis's help in tracking down the missing daughter of a rich and powerful Hispanic businessman. When the girl turns up murdered in Griffith Park, it's Pike who gives a nerdy medical examiner valuable assistance; and when it turns out that the girl's death is linked to several other murders, it's Pike who is charged with killing the chief suspect. Through flashbacks to Joe's past life as an abused child, a highly motivated teenage soldier and an L.A. cop fighting to keep a corrupt partner from destroying his family, we learn more about Pike than we did in the seven previous Cole books. This new focus also allows Crais to keep Elvis's often annoying throwaway lines to a minimumAalthough more pruning could have been done with no loss of flavor. The book's scope is wide enough to include many other memorable characters, especially a rough-edged, vulnerable police officer named Samantha Dolan, plus a choice of plausible villains. There may be one too many metaphoric descriptions attempting to link aspects of the L.A. landscape with the moods and deeds of its inhabitants, but overall Crais seems to have successfully stretched himself the way another Southern California writerARoss MacdonaldAalways tried to do, to write a mystery novel with a solid literary base.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
It was time in the series to do something more than another fast-paced, wise-crack laden, plot-driven Cole/Pike adventure. Not that the novel is slow and humorless, but here Crais has decided to round out Joe Pike, giving him more background and history to explain some of his mystery. It's a cracking good story at that.
Adding depth to his characters will only add to the future novels, and he does the same for Elvis Cole in The Last Detective. Plus here we get the horny SID criminologist, John Chen, thrown in, and a complex and nasty mystery behind it all.
Well worthwhile for fans of the series. 5 stars for them.
If you have been reading his books, Requiem will be a great payoff for you, since it brings to a head much of what has been building in the previous six Elvis Cole novels. If this is your first Crais book, rest assured you will like this book enough to want to go back and read the rest.
Despite Joe Pike being the character the plot is about, Elvis still remains central. Nearly every page is viewed through his eyes. Tha pages that deviate, when we see and learn about Joe's past, are among the most interesting in the book. Also, without giving too much away, the scenes with the killer are most revealing and in some ways creepy. Elvis remains aloof, but genuine, a much better protaganist than the typical Superman fantasy. Elvis can't beat up fifteen ninjas, pull a gun out of an extremity, shoot a sniper from 300 feet, and then anounce he has, in his head, completed the DNA test and found the real killer.
The one problem I would say I have with this book is it gives up too much. Too many things happen and when it is all said and done, in many ways, Crais has ruined the series. The follow-up, The Last Detective, felt lacking after the carnage of this entry, naked without much of the mystery and buildup. Thankfully, it still tackled a major piece of character development, but left the series with absolutely no steam for the next book. It is possible you could simply read the series and consider "Detective" the final chapter.
Also worth checking out is Crais's Hostage, soon to be made into a movie by Bruce Willis. It is a great stand-alone novel.
quality of writing. Author Crais provides depth to this story
that brings it truly into the realm of great literature.
If the seasoned mystery reader has ever wondered who would take
up where the truly greats have left, look no further. Here, the
story combines the hard-flint noir qualities of Sam Spade with the L.A. depth and sensitivity of Lew Archer; he does it with
two heros, but they work as one operative in the field, and together they have all the qualities of the best possible private detective.
Here, in this story, they start out looking for a missing woman, as a favor to an old man, but very shortly, she turns
up dead; when the police move too slowly to suit the woman's father, he goads these P.I.s to action, and their work surpasses the police, and their interest not only moves toward
finding a killer, but also annoys the police.
So there is plenty of action, with twists and counter-moves, to keep the story moving at a fast, complex pace, and the reader
will truly have difficulty putting the story down before its
We learn a lot about the characters, and, for a change, these
personal revelations add to the story, rather than, as usual
in books, merely adding to its length.
There are multiple conclusions, because the story is so complex,
but they are all good.
One of the best stories in print. A "can't miss" for anyone
interested in this field of writing.
Most recent customer reviews
Another great hard boiled thriller by Crais. Pike and Cole are a well- balanced team and this story does a good job of blending action with background and character development.Published 18 months ago by Jenifer Mohammed, Author of Resurrecting Cybele
I have yet to read a Robert Crais book that I didn't love. I want more!! (no pressure)Published 19 months ago by J.M.Mitchell
This was my first Elvis Cole book. Wow. Others have done a fine job of describing the story line for LA Requiem, and there's nothing more I can add to what's been said that will... Read morePublished on March 3 2004 by Gabby Hayze
There is a lot to like about this book, and it is certainly better than most. But something about Crais' voice occasionally doesn't ring quite true, and keeps him from being one... Read morePublished on March 2 2004
I've read all of Robert Crais' work in the last few months, but had put off reading L. A. Requiem and The Last Detective because I knew the relationship between Lucy and Cole was... Read morePublished on Jan. 19 2004