The Forgotten Man opens with a powerful flashback -- a mother, father and son have been brutally murdered and a four-year-old girl has been left behind to witness the awful results.
Since Lucy Chenier left town with her son, Elvis Cole hasn't been sleeping all that well. A call from Detective Kelly Diaz of LAPD at 3:58 a.m. finds him not really asleep. A homicide victim has been found in a dangerous alley and with his dying breath has said that he's looking for Elvis, his son. The victim's pockets reveal newspaper clippings about Elvis. With that call, Elvis is thrown back into his childhood trauma of never having met his father and having a mother who wasn't all there.
Riveted by this information, Elvis asks to investigate the case along with the LAPD. Despite occasional friction, "the world's greatest detective" is soon ahead of the police and rapidly tracking down who the John Doe is.
The story alternates narrators between Elvis, Carol Starkey and a villain. In this way, Mr. Crais keeps us ahead of Elvis in knowing what's going on.
For those who like Elvis, the superman, this book will be a disappointment. He's so emotionally under the weather because of losing Lucy and with this new hunt for his father that Elvis is having trouble functioning. You'll think that you are reading about a binging alcoholic (although that's not his problem) rather than Elvis Cole. I suspect that these readers will find this to be a 2 or a 3 star book.
The best parts of this book come in flashbacks to the young Elvis as he repeatedly runs away from home to find his father. I was impressed that Mr. Crais could write such emotionally strong material. It's quite a contrast with his usual action style.
The plot itself is awfully contrived . . . and not very satisfying. With a better plot, this could have been an outstanding book. I hope that Mr. Crais won't give up on developing Elvis Cole as a character. That's what he did best in this book.
Even Superman was vulnerable to kryptonite (and Lois Lane). A more vulnerable Elvis will be a better and more interesting character in books to come.
on March 8, 2005
This novel is about retribution, justice, and ultimately coming to peace with the past. In this novel we learn about the childhood of Crais' serial hero Elvis Cole. We are reunited with characters from previous novels, in particular the Demoltion Angel herself: Carol Starkey.
Crais' writing style is brilliant- if you start this novel be prepared to stay up late at night. The humour of Cole is as sharp as ever, as is Starkey's sardonic temperment.
Do not hesitate to read this book!