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.
Elvis Cole is not just another studly, hunky, macho, hard-boiled private detective. A very important part of what Elvis deals with in this book is about how men and women view the effect of their behavior on a partner very differently. I liked the way Crais handled that subject through Elvis and Lucy. It's what makes this book different from the typical detective story, and it's what gives Elvis Cole more depth than most of his competition.
Now I'm going to go get the rest of the Elvis Cole books. I know I'm in for a treat!
"L.A. Requiem" is a tight, well-constructed novel with flashbacks that tie directly to the action. Read more