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Stalking the Angel Mass Market Paperback – Mar 1 1992


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Stalking the Angel + The Monkey's Raincoat + Lullaby Town
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Crimeline; Reprint edition (March 1 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553286447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553286441
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 1.9 x 17.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #96,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Undoubtedly prompted by the success of recent Crais bestsellers (Demolition Angel; Hostage), his audio publishers have gone back to the second book in his increasingly popular Elvis Cole series, originally published in 1989, for a lively and colorful outing that manages to capture much of the author's early innocence and freshness. Stuart brings the quirky Cole to life quickly, combining his strengths (tenacity, incorruptibility, frequent flashes of humor) with his oddities (his love of the Disney artifacts that litter his office) to make a credible whole person. Other characters emerge with equal vocal skill: the enigmatic Joe Pike, Cole's muscular sidekick; a glowering Los Angeles property developer, his alcohol-impaired wife and their fragile adolescent daughter, who winds up being kidnapped by Japanese gangsters. Cole, hired to find a rare Japanese manuscript, discovers that the teenager's fate is very important to him personally forging a bond between the detective and children in peril that has become a hallmark of the series. For those who have been fans of Elvis since book one, The Monkey's Raincoat, it's good to have his early adventures around to listen to. For more recent Crais converts, this could prove an eye-opening revelation of how Cole got to be who he is. Based on the Bantam mass market.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Hard-nosed private detective Elvis Cole returns ( The Monkey's Raincoat ) to do battle for a teenaged girl kidnapped as part of a scheme involving the theft of a priceless Japanese manuscript outlining samurai behavior. While Cole's wry sarcasm and attempts at "cute" often fall flat, his humanity and integrity carry him through an apparently convoluted but mostly transparent plot. Los Angeles settings, Japanese heavies, wild action, and businesslike prose, however, make this better than many.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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3.9 out of 5 stars

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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on May 15 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A Hard-Boiled Walk on the Seamy Side with Wisecracking Humor
If you have yet to begin the marvelous Elvis Cole series by Robert Crais, you've got a great treat ahead of you! Few series get off to a stronger start than Mr. Crais did with The Monkey's Raincoat, which won both the Anthony and Macavity awards for best novel while being nominated for the Edgar and Shamus awards as well. And the books just keep getting better from there in their characterizations, action, story-telling and excitement.
Elvis Cole is the star attraction, the co-owner of The Elvis Cole Detective Agency. He's 35ish, ex-Army, served in Vietnam, ex-security guard, has two years of college, learned to be a detective by working under George Feider, a licensed P.I. for over 40 years, does martial arts as enthusiastically as most people do lunch, and is fearless but not foolish. He's out to right the wrongs of the world as much as he is to earn a living. Elvis has a thing for Disney characters (including a Pinocchio clock), kids, cats, scared clients and rapid fire repartee. He drives a Jamaica yellow 1966 Corvette Stingray convertible, and usually carries a .38 Special Dan Wesson.
His main foil is partner, Joe Pike, an ex-Marine, ex-cop who moves quietly and mysteriously wearing shades even in the dark . . . when he's not scaring the bad guys with the red arrows tattooed on his deltoids, which are usually bare in sleeveless shirts. Although he's got an office with Elvis, Pike spends all of his time at his gun shop when not routing the bad guys with martial arts while carrying and often using enough firepower to stop a tank. Pike rarely speaks . . . and never smiles. A standing gag is trying to catch Pike with a little twitch of his lips indicating he might possibly be amused.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Elvis Cole is a wisecracking private investigator who likes Falstaff beer, Mickey Mouse, and can tell you exactly which designer made the clothes and accessories the villains wear. A Viet Nam vet who came back determined to preserve what was left of his childhood, a man with a strong hero complex, and, when need be, a stone killer. Now he is working a case for financier Bradley Warren, trying to find a stolen copy of the Hagakure, the ancient Japanese code of behavior for the Samurai.
Elvis' clue gathering style is to keep stirring the pot of likely sources and suspects until something floats to the top. This time what comes up is trouble. Warren's family receives several threats, which he chooses to ignore. Suddenly the worst happens and Mimi Warren is kidnapped, leaving no trace. Incensed, Warren fires Cole and the detective decides to continue the case on his own. He promised Mimi he would protect her, and he's not about to let the Yakuza of two countries get in his way.
Robert Crais' tactic is to lure the reader in with Elvis Cole's humorous attitude and hard-boiled attitude, and then follow through with a series of severe hammer blows. Even when you know that there is a nightmare waiting to happen, its onset is a shock. Perhaps this is formula writing, but few authors can shift gears as smoothly as Crais can. One moment you are listening in on some sarcastic dialog between Cole and his partner Joe Pike, the next minute they are dealing out badness - and you are liking it.
In addition, Crais' characters are never one sided. If anything, they defy the common stereotypes. Cole and Pike don't simply hunt villains and right wrongs; they hold intelligent conversations and understand the issues they must deal with. Good plot, great characters and a fine eye for detail makes 'Stalking the Angel' a memorable story. One that will drive you back to the bookshelves looking for more.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I like smart-aleck detectives. People like Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone, Rex Stout's Archie Goodwin, Robert Parker's Spenser, and Robert Crais' Elvis Cole. As you probably can tell from seeing my reading list, I'm pretty much a sucker for humor in any of its manifestations (okay, maybe not puns). Crais' style is close to Parker, yet Crais' competant detective doesn't have the macho baggage that Spenser carries. (To digress, that macho baggage is actually what marks the Spenser books above the crowd, as Parker forces he "independent, macho cowboy" type to interact with the modern, touchy-feely world. You can bet that Spenser is a "sensitive, new age guy.") Cole may not be as macho as Spenser, but he is still fearless--he is a Vietnam vet, after all--but most of the strong, silent type of detective stuff is handled by the secretive partner, Joe Pike, while Cole gets to zing all those one-liners with abandon at anyone who crosses his threshold.
The mystery here is one that Parker would have taken to as well. Cole is hired by a wealthy businessman to retrieve on of the last remaining copies of the Hagakure, the book that defines Japanese feudal culture. Along the way, we get to meet the Yakuza (Japan's version of the mafia), some serious dysfunctional families, a cult, and thow in a bit of true love and a nice look at ethics, and you've got a Spenser novel (if you replaced Cole with Spenser and Pike with Hawk).(...)
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A good rule for writers is, write what you know about. Stalking the Angel is a good example of what can go wrong when you ignore that rule. The author blows hard to convince us that he is a real tough guy who knows all about real tough things like martial arts, and ends up convincing us that he doesn't. (The note About the Author specifies that he lives with an Akita guard dog. What's he afraid of?) It seems that he researched his background by reading "Shogun" and eating in a bunch of Asian restaurants.
I do not expect a detective story writer to be an Orientalist, but the author screws up the background so often that it is distracting. Tang is a Chinese name. Naming your Japanese villain Eddie Tang is like having a Gestapo general named Paddie O'Brian. Maybe to the author, these Orientals all look alike, like waiters in a Chinese restaurant. Thus the sentence in which Elvis performs the "dragon kata from the taekwondo." Dragon is a Chinese martial art element, not a kata, which is a Japanese term; adding a 'the' to Korea's tae kwon do is as annoying an affectation as his "the Nam". Maybe he's trying to show how macho he is, as in the scene -- which drags on for page after page -- in which the hero heroically eats all the pepper the sinister, ungrammatical Oriental cook puts in his food.
During and since the war, I have traveled all over Viet Nam, sometimes the only foreigner to set foot in a vicinity for years, and when I ate with these people, we all used chopsticks. Even in the boonies. Don't they know better? If they learned English and read American detective novels, they would discover the error of their ways. Crais informs us that people in Viet Nam don't use chopsticks. Either my friends were all mixed up, or the author was thinking of Burma, or maybe Indonesia.
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