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The Last Detective: A Novel [Hardcover]

Robert Crais
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb. 18 2003 Crais, Robert
Elvis Cole is back...

With his acclaimed bestsellers, Hostage (a New York Times Notable Book) and Demolition Angel, Robert Crais drew raves for his unstoppable pacing, edgy characterizations, and cinematic prose. Now, in The Last Detective, Crais returns to his signature character, Los Angeles private investigator Elvis Cole, in a masterful page-turner that probes the meaning of family and the burdens of the past.

Elvis Cole's relationship with attorney Lucy Chenier is strained. When she moved from Louisiana to join Elvis in Los Angeles, she never dreamed that violence would so easily touch her life -- but then the unthinkable happens. While Lucy is away on business and her ten-year-old son, Ben, is staying with Elvis, Ben disappears without a trace. Desperate to believe that the boy has run away, evidence soon mounts to suggest a much darker scenario.

Joining forces with his enigmatic partner, Joe Pike, Elvis frantically searches for Ben with the help of LAPD Detective Carol Starkey, as Lucy's wealthy, oil-industry ex-husband attempts to wrest control of the investigation. Amid the maelstrom of personal conflicts, Elvis and Joe are forced to consider a more troubling lead -- one indicating that Ben's disappearance is connected to a terrible, long-held secret from Elvis Cole's past.

Venturing deep inside a complex psyche, Crais explores Elvis's need for family - the military that embraced him during a troubled adolescence, his rock-solid partnership with Pike, and his floundering relationship with Lucy - as they race the clock in their search for Ben. The Last Detective is Robert Crais' richest, most intense tale of suspense yet.

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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

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast action packed May 10 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Makes you read through dinner. A quick easy entertaining book. Always read the pike series but Elvis Cole series just as good
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5.0 out of 5 stars Elvis Cole is Back! March 2 2003
Once again Robert Crais has managed to produce another page turning thriller with the characters he started with, Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. What's so great about Crais is he manages to churn out nail biting suspense while at the same time revealing more of the personalities and personal demons of his characters. For those who have never read him before, you could read this as a stand alone, but the experience is much deeper if you've read all the previous Cole novels. In this one, Lucy Chenier's son Ben is kidnapped by a man who is bent on revenge for something Cole had done in his past. Elvis with the help of a worn and recovering Joe Pike hunts him down. Fast paced with plenty of twists, my only fault with the book, is that it was over too soon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 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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4.0 out of 5 stars A Gripping read! Dec 12 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was a fast paced thriller that is sure to be one of Robert Crais' best books. It grabbed my senses from the very beginning and didn't let up until I finished reading the exciting ending.
I think that it is probably one of the darkest books in the series, and it is fascinating how it explores Elvis' past, and Joe Pike's hidden insecurities. I couldn't put the book down and I read it over a two evening period.

The only disappointment was the solution of the kidnapping...a little bit contrived and unrealistic in my mind. Still, this is a roller coaster read and I highly recommend it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Suspenseful June 4 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Elvis Cole is once again coming to terms with his life as a private eye in the streets of Los Angeles. He loves his girlfriend Lucy Chenier, but their relationship is stretched to the limit when Cole's job brings danger very close her beloved son Ben. When Ben is snatched from Cole's secluded home, the demons from Elvis's past catch up with him. The kidnappers want retribution for an incident that happened twenty years ago in Vietnam. Now Elvis must embark on a journey into his past to protect his future...
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5.0 out of 5 stars A six stars writer April 22 2004
Definitively RC is a six stars writer, the way he explains what are thinking all the characters at the same action in the book is excellent, the way he combine the characters of L.A. Requiem and Demolition Angel and explain them the easiest way so you don't have to read these books to understand this one is also excellent.
The story of the kidnap and the way everybody is related to that won't let you put the book down until you finish it, but when the book is done, you will ask for more.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Cole moves along April 1 2004
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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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Action packed kidnapping tale
One of the things Crais uses to add tension in this excellent book is the use of a running timeline. Read more
Published on March 10 2004 by Paul Skinner
4.0 out of 5 stars A riveting plot
One of the most eagerly awaited novels this year is the latest by Bob Crais. It is another in the Elvis Cole series. Read more
Published on March 2 2004 by Larry
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Crais' best
I have read nearly all of Crais' novels, and found this the least enjoyable. Not only was it very dark and lacking in humor, but the plot was simplistic and the person ultimately... Read more
Published on Jan. 21 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Storytelling Masters
I've read all of Robert Crais' work in the last few months, but had put off reading L. A. Requiem and The Last Detective because I knew the relationship between Lucy and Cole was... Read more
Published on Jan. 19 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars Not one of Crais's best
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. Read more
Published on Jan. 9 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Have to admit he's getting better.
Would I buy this book? Yes. Why? I came in with and admit I struggled through Voodoo River. This one is just a lot better. Read more
Published on Nov. 1 2003 by Charles J. Marr
4.0 out of 5 stars Change is good, most of the time
After reading all the Elvis Cole novels, it is easy to see that in the latest, there is more character development and change for the reader. Read more
Published on Oct. 28 2003 by Michael Pless
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