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
--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
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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.
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