5.0 out of 5 stars Eminently Fun
Robert Crais does it again. Elvis Cole does it again. Joe Pike: ditto. It's difficult not to get hooked by this series. Elvis is funnier than Fletch and Pike is basically what Dale Gribble from "King of the Hill" would be if he wasn't a complete [baby]. Sure, the plot is similar: woman in jeopardy, child in jeopardy. But the chapters fly by. It's LA, and things can...
Published on Sept. 2 2003
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite as Good
I didn't like this book quite as much as the other Elvis Cole books I have read, Monkey's Raincoat, Freefall, and LA Requiem. It's a good book, it just seemed slower, with less action. This is an absorbing series, and shouldn't be missed. I have to force myself not to buy them all at once or else I'll have them read in a week.
Published on March 19 2002 by Jason K. Terry
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced fun!,
This review is from: Lullaby Town (Paperback)The comparisons to Spencer are obvious. Even the storyline here is familiar. But despite all that, the book is a fun, fast-paced, enjoyable crime novel. Cole is an easy-to-like wisecracking hero with a heart of gold. Pike is the cold, matter of fact, partner that you can always rely on. In this novel, Cole and Pike are hired by an egotistical and pompous movie director to locate his ex-wife and son. Finding her isn't much trouble, but then Cole decides to help her and learns that she is in a terrible predicament. Cole and Pike eventually run into the NY mob, and from there the story blisters towards a satisfying (and very violent) conclusion. I highly recommend this for fans of the hard-boiled PI genre.
5.0 out of 5 stars Eminently Fun,
By A Customer
This review is from: Lullaby Town (Paperback)Robert Crais does it again. Elvis Cole does it again. Joe Pike: ditto. It's difficult not to get hooked by this series. Elvis is funnier than Fletch and Pike is basically what Dale Gribble from "King of the Hill" would be if he wasn't a complete [baby]. Sure, the plot is similar: woman in jeopardy, child in jeopardy. But the chapters fly by. It's LA, and things can get rough, and, heck, Cole even lives near Connelly's Bosch (look on a map)... but this is an LA where Peter Pan still has a chance and everbody is kung-fu fighting.
5.0 out of 5 stars Hollywood Meets the Real World,
This review is from: Lullaby Town (Paperback)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. Stalking the Angel followed powerfully with classic noir style of the 1930s hard-boiled detective up against evil, but moderated with wise cracks. 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 now 38, 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. But he's there when you need him. He drives a red Jeep.
Robert Parker's Spenser is the obvious character parallel for Elvis, but Spenser and Elvis are different in some ways. Cole is more solitary, usually being alone when he's not working. Cole is very much L.A. and Spenser is ultra blue collar Boston. Cole is martial arts while Spenser boxes and jogs. What they have in common is that they're both out to do the right thing, with money being unimportant. They both love to crack wise as they take on the bad guys. The bad guys hate the "humor" in both cases, and can't do much about it. The dialogue written for each is intensely rich.
Mr. Crais has a special talent for making you care about his characters, especially the clients and their kids. You'll want to know what happens to them. With a lot of experience in script writing, Mr. Crais also knows how to set the scene physically and make you feel it. He may be out finest fiction writer about physical movement. He gives you all the clues to picture what's going on . . . but draws back from giving so much detail that you can't use your own imagination to make things better.
I grew up near Los Angeles, and get a special pleasure out of reading his descriptions of the differences in cities, neighborhoods, and buildings in the area. He gets in right . . . and in detail. It's a nice touch!
On to Lullaby Town, the third book in the series. The title refers to the peddler who sells dreams in Lullaby Town. In our case, it's Hollywood.
The peddler in the story is Peter Alan Nelson, a motion picture director dubbed as the King of Adventure by Time magazine (think Steven Spielberg and George Lucas wrapped up into one hyper personality), which also called him "arrogant, brilliant, demanding." In real life, he has the maturity of a male 2 year old, and has worse habits. Elvis is hired to find Nelson's ex-wife and child so Nelson can form a relationship with his son, whom he's ignored virtually from birth. The studio doesn't want Nelson distracted by all this yearning for his son because he's due to start a new movie in three weeks.
Elvis has no trouble finding the ex and the son. They've left a trail a mile wide across the country to Connecticut where Nelson's mousy young wife has turned herself into a successful banker who doesn't want to hear anything from Nelson. At this point, Elvis's job would amount to bringing them all together gently . . . except that the ex, who now calls herself Karen Lloyd, has a little problem with the biggest crime family in the East. Elvis and Joe set out to eliminate the little problem and are tested to the limits of their talents.
The story develops rapidly in small segments from quite different perspectives, usually in chapters of 4-5 pages in length, like a scene in a drama. Each change adds to a mosaic portrait of the characters and the overall situation. So the story moves fast . . . but without leaving you behind. There is enough material in this book to make two novels.
Pay particular attention to the evolution of characters of Karen Lloyd and Peter Alan Nelson. Mr. Crais does a nice job of helping you realize many sides of their characters over a period of about 10 years. That's one quality that makes this book compelling reading.
After you finish the book, you might find it helpful to think about the potential downside of possessing all that you dream of having.
Can you select better dreams to turn into reality?
4.0 out of 5 stars Elvis Spenser?,
This review is from: Lullaby Town (Paperback)I see from other reviews that I am not the first to notice the similarities between Cole and Spenser. Lullaby Town is the third in the Cole series and the third one I've read, I'm a stickler that way, and it bears the strongest resemblence yet to Parker's Boston PI.
Not to say this is a bad thing. While I am a longtime Spenser fan I'm sorry to say that the series is beginning to lose it's zip. Enter Crais. Although there is strong evidence that he is Parker influenced, he gives Cole and Pike the gusto that Spenser and Hawk used to have.
I highly recommend the Cole series, at least the one's I have read, they make a great addition to any mystery/PI lovers library. I look forward to reading the next one.
Note to Parker fans: Try the Jesse Stone series. Very fresh and very original.
4.0 out of 5 stars "There's a quaint little place...",
This review is from: Lullaby Town (Paperback)Most detectives would give their eyeteeth to be hired by a director as famous as Peter Alan Nelson, the king of the adventure movie. Admittedly, the job was only one of finding Nelson's ex-wife and child who he hasn't seen in eleven years. Suddenly, after dumping them for a film career Nelson feels a gap in his life which he intends to plug with Toby, his son, like it or not. Nelson likes Elvis Cole because the detective is macho and has lots of attitude. You can imagine what Cole actually thought, but sometimes money is money.
Cole finds out that Nelson's wife is far from the loser that the director thought she was. He finds Karen Lloyd in Chelam, Connecticut. The failed actress has become a bank vice-president, raising her son on her own and doing well. Not as well as she should be, though. In the hard days, she did a favor for the mafia and now she's in Charlie DeLuca's back pocket. Since Charlie is the son of the Capo and a complete psychotic, this is not a good place to be. No problem, Elvis Cole and Joe Pike to the rescue.
By now, the reader should know that Pike/Cole solutions inevitably involve a surfeit of chaos and violence. This time is no exception. Cole has to worry about Toby, the mafia (several mafias), Peter Alan Nelson (who never behaves as if he is as old as Toby), and a steady flow of crazies. Something a lot worse than a little money laundering is going on and Cole is stuck right in the middle of it. Being Robert Crais' answer to the tired old archetype of the Los Angeles private investigator, you can trust Cole to smiles, cracks sarcastic jokes, play hero, and wait until you're not looking before he hits you up side of the head with a cast iron two-by-four.
This book, the third in the series, drags just a bit. Or perhaps, it is just a little too predictable. I like the interchanges between Pike and Cole, and the plot twists that it starts with, but the novel settles down into its plot too soon. The inevitable violence comes arrives early and is over played. Still, this is a pretty good read, not one a fan would ever want to miss.
4.0 out of 5 stars Lullaby Town,
By A Customer
This review is from: Lullaby Town (Paperback)Lullaby Town is Chelam, Connecticut, where L.A. shamus Elvis Cole (The Monkey's Raincoat, 1987--not reviewed) goes in search of Karen Shipley, divorced ten years earlier by boyish filmmaker Peter Alan Nelsen, who's since developed deep pockets (courtesy of a string of action hits beginning with Chainsaw) and a conscience of sorts. Just when it looks like Elvis has found Karen and her son, Toby, all too easily, Karen turns out to be laundering money for the Mafia, and the story takes off like a two-stage rocket. It'll take all of Elvis's wise-guy savvy to pry Karen loose from those other wise-guys without condemning her to the witness-protection program or the East River. Elvis is as sharp as a West Coast Spenser, but without Spenser's nasty/noble attitudinizing--and this story is pure pleasure from the very first page.
4.0 out of 5 stars Elvis Does New York,
This review is from: Lullaby Town (Paperback)Foregoing his familiar LA turf, Robert Crais ventures to New York City and the sleepy Connecticut suburb of Chelam in this offbeat and entertaining mystery. Private investigator Elvis Cole is in his best wisecracking form, while Joe Pike's stoic form is always there exactly when needed. The change in venue was a refreshing change of pace, and the east coast-west coast banter was humorous and effective, as Crais succeeds in poking fun at both the shallowness of Hollywood and the brutishness of the east coast crime families. Despite a typically dark and threatening plot, Crais keeps the pace light and the one-liners flowing, building up steam towards an exciting - if not particularly surprising - climax. All in all, a more than satisfying read, and well worth the time invested.
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Terrific Yarn,
This review is from: Lullaby Town (Paperback)Once again Crais weaves a brilliant yarn. This one had fewer wisecracks than others, but it sped along on a good tight story line. If you are not familiar with Mr. Crais, he is similar to Parker's best Spenser novels. His characters have depth and his plots twist just when you thought they were done. Terrific mystery that keeps the pages turning.
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite as Good,
This review is from: Lullaby Town (Paperback)I didn't like this book quite as much as the other Elvis Cole books I have read, Monkey's Raincoat, Freefall, and LA Requiem. It's a good book, it just seemed slower, with less action. This is an absorbing series, and shouldn't be missed. I have to force myself not to buy them all at once or else I'll have them read in a week.
4.0 out of 5 stars Pacy and entertaining,
This review is from: Lullaby Town (Paperback)Private detective Elvis Cole is hired by Peter Alan Nelsen, a brilliant, erratic and arrogant movie producer to find his son whom he hasn't seen since deserting him and his mother 10 years before.Peter's ex-wife,Karen, has become unwillingly involved with the mafia in a money laundering scheme and desperately wishes to be "uninvolved". Elvis and his side-kick Pike, battle the baddies to help them escape the mafia's murderous clutches and, after many shoot-outs and thrilling adventures, they do just that.It's a good quick read, pacy and entertaining.
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Lullaby Town by Robert Crais (Paperback - May 1 1993)
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