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The Last Detective: A Novel Hardcover – Feb 18 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (Feb. 18 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385504268
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385504263
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 2.7 x 24.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 549 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #562,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

Don't start reading The Last Detective with much on your calendar. This tense, satisfying thriller will glue you to your chair, as private eye Elvis Cole--the star of eight previous Robert Crais novels, prior to the Cole-less Demolition Angel and Hostage--faces his toughest case: the abduction of his girlfriend's son, 10-year-old Ben Chenier, who was staying with Elvis when he was snatched.

Panic at Ben's disappearance turns to terror when the kidnapper phones to reveal his apparent motive, a dark secret from Elvis's past. But the plot thickens and twists, and then twists again, as Elvis and his longtime buddy, tough guy Joe Pike, race the clock against a group of villains as sinister as they are capable. The author mixes Elvis's first-person narration with third-person sections that describe other points of view--a risky technique, but Crais makes it work. He also does a fine job resurrecting the wisecracking Elvis of earlier books while imbuing him with a new depth and darkness.

This dazzlingly plotted, crisply told story is threaded with real detection (what a rarity!) and peopled by characters you can't help but care about--including Carol Starkey, the haunted bomb-squad cop from Demolition Angel, who's now a juvenile-abduction detective. Crais has long been getting better with each book, and The Last Detective continues the pattern. --Nicholas H. Allison

From Publishers Weekly

Elvis lives! Elvis Cole that is, Crais's iconoclastic, smart-aleck L.A. PI, last seen in Indigo Slam (1997). Violent and action-packed, this eighth book in the series has less of Cole's usual wisecracking but all the intensity and convoluted plotting of his two recent stand-alone thrillers, Demolition Angel (2000) and Hostage (2001). Cole is babysitting Ben, the 10-year-old son of his lawyer lover, Lucy Chenier, when the boy is kidnapped. As Cole and his super-tough, enigmatic pal, Joe Pike, join the police in the search for Ben, Lucy's obnoxious ex-husband, Richard, arrives from New Orleans with his own investigators. At first, the kidnappers imply they're seeking revenge for atrocities Cole committed in Vietnam. Several powerful, beautifully written flashbacks to Cole's horrendous Nam experiences and his troubled childhood follow. The narrative switches between Cole's vivid first-person point-of-view and a third-person account of a brave, frightened Ben and his savage captors. As the kidnappers' deadline nears and disturbing motives surface, the suspense becomes almost unbearable. The terrible, heartstopping climax is so well written that time seems to stop. Crais combines the thriller and private eye genres into a dazzling novel that is far more accomplished than the sum of its parts.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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A silence filled the canyon below my house that fall; no hawks floated overhead, the coyotes did not sing, the owl that lived in the tall pine outside my door no longer asked my name. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Minkey on June 21 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
First of all, I've been a huge fan of Elvis Cole and Robert Crais since I read The Monkey's Raincoat. This series has been incredibly enjoyable, to say the least. The turn that Crais took at LA Requiem was probably necessary to breath new life into the series and, in fact, that was my favorite of the bunch. The problem is that I miss the lighthearted banter! The new Elvis too closely resembles the real world, a world I'm trying to escape by reading these books in the first place. The biggest flaw with The Last Detective is the simple fact that I knew who done it the minute I read the story outline prior to actually reading the book. That occured while I was reading Indigo Slam a year ago! This is the first time ever in my experience that I knew who the guilty party in a mystery was before I even read the book. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it sure is incomprehesible to me that Elvis wouldn't have been immediately aware of who done it right away too. This book was written for new readers of the series who never picked up an Elvis Cole book prior to this. I enjoyed alot of the elements of this story but couldn't get past this part. The story would have been every bit as accessable to all potential readers if Elvis would have openly suspected the bad guy right from the start and then worked to prove him culpable. When his character walks around oblivious as to who done it, especially in light of many elements of the last 2 or 3 novels that point directly at the bad guy, this story lost alot for me. It's my least favorite in the franchise.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Robert Crais has had an arc to his career that has been interesting, to say the least. Crais started out writing cute, relatively straightforward, violent private eye novels. He's sort of grown into a more serious novelist, an introspective, careful writer whose characters are deep and interesting. He mad the break some years ago with L.A. Requiem, which gave us a good deal of background on Joe Pike, the partner of the main character and narrator of the books, Elvis Cole. Since, he's written a couple of stand alone novels. This latest book is a return to Pike and Cole, and it's the companion to L.A. Requiem, except this time we learn stuff about Cole rather than Pike.
Several books ago, Cole developed a girlfriend from New Orleans. Lucy has a son, and they moved to L.A. to be with Cole. Elvis is watching the son, Ben, one day, and he goes to do something; when he returns, Ben is nowhere to be seen. When Elvis begins to look for her, he becomes convinced that the people who took Ben are more clever or well-trained than any one else initially suspected.
The one quibble I had with the book was the switching points of view. I don't like this writing technique. I know that it's difficult to write from the first person perspective, and I know this is a stylish choice to make, and a big temptation: it allows you to tell the story with more dimensions to it. It doesn't matter to me: I still hate it.
Other than that, I enjoyed the book immensely, and would recommend it.
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By Larry on March 2 2004
Format: Hardcover
One of the most eagerly awaited novels this year is the latest by Bob Crais. It is another in the Elvis Cole series. Bob has taken a hiatus from the series in which he wrote two stand alones. However, Carol Starkey, the FBI heroine of DEMOLITION ANGEL returns.
Elvis is watching Ben Chenier, the ten year old son of Elvis' girlfriend, Lucy Chenier. While playing in the back of Elvis' house, Ben is kidnapped. The person who abducted Ben calls and blames the kidnapping on revenge for something Elvis did in Vietnam. Working with his partner, the mysterious Joe Pike, as well as, Carol Starkey of the FBI, Cole will stop at nothing to get Ben back safely.
A riveting plot, overall strong characterizations and realistic descriptions make this one of the more gripping reads of the year. There is not much new or original in the ideas used in the story. Kidnappings have a vast representation in the mystery and crime genre. The plot of this book really is nothing special. It is the use of familiar sympathetic characters and the smooth lyrical writing that sets this work apart. THE LAST DETECTIVE should prove hugely popular with the book buying public. It is good to see Elvis Cole and friends back again.
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By A Customer on Jan. 9 2004
Format: Hardcover
I have been a fan of Robert Crais since I was first captured by Crais's unique and enjoyable style in "Freefall" in the early 90's. "Freefall" was my first Elvis Cole novel, and I was immediately hooked. He quickly became one of my favorite authors. I went on to read every other Cole book I could find, and was sad to see "Hostage" and "Demolition Angel" come out in place of another Elvis story. I was, however, NOT disappointed in either book, as for stand alone novels, these were top notch, well done, fast paced stories that kept you on the edge of your seat.
I was beyond thrilled to hear that Crais was working on another Cole story. But when I got the hard copy of "The Last Detective" in my hands after a very long 4 year wait, I am sorry to say I was highly disappointed.
Gone from this book was Elvis's witty one liners, his fun sense of humor and cast of quirky, odd-ball secondary characters. The thing I've always loved about Elvis is that lying underneath his good-natured humor was a man with good morals, who was absolutely dead serious about getting the job done. Every Elvis book in the past has dealt with serious issues, but not once did Elvis loose the light hearted way in which he dealt with these issues. Unfortunately, that is not the case with "The Last Detective".
There is absolutely no humor in this book, and it is full of darkness, moodiness and a lot of military psycho-babble, which is hard to follow at times and a bit dry. The story is a bit slow, and jumps back and forth from being told in first to third person, making the pace of an already choppy book even choppier.
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