I may have missed something crucial, and I'll feel really dumb if I did, but I'm not sure why this novel is called 'The Monkey's Raincoat.' That mystery aside, its time to focus on the one at hand....
Ellen Lang is a housewife that has lived a sheltered life. Then one day, her aspiring Hollywood producer husband goes missing. Their son goes missing with him. On the advice and insistence of her pushy friend, Mrs. Lang goes to see Elvis Cole, the detective that never wants to grow up.
Cole is a wise-cracking detective with a thing for Disney characters. His experiences in Viet Nam, to sound redundant, lead to his decision to never grow up. Nevertheless, Cole engages in Yoga, in psychotic fashion, enjoys a good beer, and hangs out with an unnamed cat, and occassionally, his partner Joe Pike, who is a bit on the extreme side of things.
Cole takes the case and sets out to find Mort Lang. It doesn't take long for Lang to turn up dead. Not long after that, Mrs. Lang goes missing. Cole, and the reader, smells a rat. Deciding not to give up on his client, Cole doggedly pursues this case.
This is definitely crime/noir fiction. It is also very, very dark. Despite, and sometimes because of, Cole's wisecracks, there is a fair amount of violence. When Pike finally gets around to making an appearance in the novel to help Cole out, the violence only escalates. This isn't a complaint, but more of a warning of what to expect.
Crais writing reminds me of Dennis Lehane. Both authors seem to favor a protagonist with a quick wit thrown into a dark setting. I'd highly recommend both. I plan on picking up the next novel in the Elvis Cole series. We'll see if it is as dark, or darker than the first.