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L.A. Requiem (Elvis Cole Novels)
by Robert Crais

Published: 2000-02-01
Mass Market Paperback : 416 pages
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The day starts like any other in L.A. The sun burns hot as the Santa Ana winds blow ash from mountain fires to coat the glittering city. But for private investigator Joe Pike, the city will never be the same again. His ex-lover, Karen Garcia, is dead, brutally murdered with a gun shot to ...
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Introduction

The day starts like any other in L.A. The sun burns hot as the Santa Ana winds blow ash from mountain fires to coat the glittering city. But for private investigator Joe Pike, the city will never be the same again. His ex-lover, Karen Garcia, is dead, brutally murdered with a gun shot to the head.

Now Karen's powerful father calls on Pike (a former cop) and his partner, Elvis Cole, to keep an eye on the LAPD as they search for his daughter's killer--because in the luminous City of Angels, everyone has secrets, and even the mighty blue have something to hide. But what starts as a little procedural hand-holding turns into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse. For a dark web of conspiracy threatens to destroy Pike and Cole's twelve-year friendship--if not their lives. And L.A. just might be singing their dirge.

More than 10 years ago, I was shocked to learn that some puerile piece of fluff had won the Edgar for Best Paperback Original, when it was so obvious to me and virtually everyone else in the Western Hemisphere that the award should have gone to The Monkey's Raincoat, the book that introduced Elvis Cole, private eye, and is to this day one of the funniest books I've ever read.

The terrific Elvis Cole series has grown through the years, each book better than the last, but nothing prepared me for the quantum leap (yes, it's a cliché, but it belongs here) that Crais has made with L.A. Requiem. It's not as funny as the other books in the series, but it's a beautifully plotted detective story, rich with police procedure, and it will keep even the most sophisticated reader at sea right until the end. And that's what elevates this book to the level of literature.

This one is more about Joe Pike, Elvis's silent sidekick, than it is about Elvis. We learn, through Pike's own eyes, how his childhood made him the way he is today. It's also about a friendship so strong that it threatens Elvis's relationship with his beloved Lucy. It is a tender but dark book--a serial killer book--but it doesn't attempt to outgross the other serial killer books on the shelf. It is funny at times and chilling at other times, making it one of the rare books that can't help but linger in the memory long after it's been read and put away. --Otto Penzler

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