|Chasing Darkness: An Elvis Cole Novel (Elvis Cole Novels)
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Elvis Cole is Back--In a Desperate Fight to Clear his Name...
It's fire season, and the hills of Los Angeles are burning. When police and fire department personnel rush door to door in a frenzied evacuation effort, they discover the week-old corpse of an apparent suicide. But the gunshot victim is less gruesome than what they find in his lap: a photo album of seven brutally murdered young women -- one per year, for seven years. And when the suicide victim is identified as a former suspect in one of the murders, the news turns Elvis Cole's world upside down.
Three years earlier Lionel Byrd was brought to trial for the murder of a female prostitute named Yvonne Bennett. A taped confession coerced by the police inspired a prominent defense attorney to take Byrd's case, and Elvis Cole was hired to investigate. It was Cole's eleventh-hour discovery of an exculpatory videotape that allowed Lionel Byrd to walk free. Elvis was hailed as a hero.
But the discovery of the death album in Byrd's lap now brands Elvis as an unwitting accomplice to murder. Captured in photographs that could only have been taken by the murderer, Yvonne Bennett was the fifth of the seven victims -- two more young women were murdered after Lionel Byrd walked free. So Elvis can't help but wonder -- did he, Elvis Cole, cost two more young women their lives?
Shut out of the investigation by a special LAPD task force determined to close the case, Elvis Cole and Joe Pike desperately fight to uncover the truth about Lionel Byrd and his nightmare album of death -- a truth hidden by lies, politics, and corruption in a world where nothing is what it seems to be.
Chasing Darkness is a blistering thriller from the bestselling author who sets the standard for intense, powerful crime writing.
- Not up to the usual level
I like most of the Cole novels, but this one has a fairly predictable plot (albeit with a bit of a twist) and very little action. Joe Pike gets some play, but not enough. The plot is more plodding than page-turner. I'd wait for the paperback and buy it at the grocery store.
And ... I hate to say it, but what's with Crais's photos these days? Is he serious? The sunglasses and stern expression remind me of Tom Clancy at his most pretentious. I mean, c'mon, these are fairly lightweight, albeit entertaining, detective novels. There's no cause for him to take himself so seriously....more info
- Crais' worst still better than most other's best
Robert Crais needs a vacation. Or a book deal that requires him to put out fewer books over a period of time. He is one of the best of the trade. His hallmark is some tongue and cheek fun with terrific character development. Joe Pike and Elvis Cole, self proclaimed "World's Best Detective" have made for some fun and worthwhile reading. In Chasing Darkness, he falls back to plot, plot and then more plot. A lot of it preposterous. Mr. Crais, take a vacation. We will be buying your books when you come back. For Crais fans this book should be read, but don't expect what he has spoiled us with in the past. And, hopefully, in the future....more info
- Enjoyable - but not up to his own standard
Very enjoyable book - why then a two star? Because this book does not compare to any of Crais' past writing - the characters do not have the depth of previous books - there is nothing really puzzling to try to unravel.
Robert Crais is one of the best writers ever - hope he keeps writing. This novel just does not meet up to the high standard Crais has formerly written at....more info
- Typical Robert Crais Good Book
My wife and I have read all of Robert Crais's books, and were delighted to see this one come out. It is a typical book by this author-----dramatic, suspenseful, stretches credibility a little, but still a good, engrossing read....more info
- Robert Crais does not disappoint!
My spouse and I are avid readers of both the Elvis Cole and Stephanie Plum (by Janet Evanovich) series. Both are plagued by longtime fans who have grown so close to these characters that they think they can dictate their demeanor and mood, as well as critiquing the freshness of the plot. Between the two series, the Elvis Cole books are definitely more plot-driven, but it is still the characters who draw me in and don't let go. I can't imagine NOT reading an Elvis Cole book in a single sitting. As to the freshness of the plot, I read a LOT of mysteries and still found this story to be full of insights into the process of crime-solving. I hardly ever guess whodunnit, and this book was no exception.
Personally I like my protagonists to show some development over the course of several books. Elvis has been through a lot and, though still feisty, does not always go for the zinger just to tick people off. Still in love with Joe Pike, even if this installment didn't feature him so prominently. The other characters are elegantly drawn and I look forward to seeing more of them.
As to the jacket photo, I met Robert Crais at a book signing quite a few years ago, and he definitely seemed to be more than a little in love with himself. He probably thinks the photo is hot, and he's right....more info
- A story this good from someone else would get four stars, but I know Bob can do so much better....
I was really disappointed in this book. I agree with the other reviewers that the book felt flat, obligatory, and prematurely released.
While the basic story was OK (a few unlikely plot twists, but I can live with that), there was nothing of the metastory that I love. Joe Pike was an improbable plastic cut-out figure of devotion. Starkey had none of her usual pathos and punch. Even Elvis seemed to be a perfunctory character sketch and the "cameo" from Lucy was just sad.
I DETESTED the Watchman and felt that was an highly unsuccessful foray into making Pike the hero (talk about unlikely plot twists--yeesh). I pre-ordered this one months ago hoping Bob would be back on track. He certainly writes Elvis more compellingly as the lead, but for this book, overall, he seems to have been just phoning it in.
Wonder if he can ever get back to the power of LA Requiem, one of my favorite books ever? THAT one was a five star book. This one, not so much.
I am still glad I bought it though. LA Requiem earns Bob 10 years of hardback purchases before I re-evaluate. I have faith that we'll get something better eventually....And thanks for the awesome stories that have come before the last two, Bob....more info
- A riveting murder mystery excels under audio treatment.
Robert Crais' CHASING DARKNESS receives James Daniel's smooth voice and is especially timely considering California's latest fire season. Set in a L.A. summer, it tells of evacuation, murder, and an unsolved case that comes back to light three years later. A riveting murder mystery excels under audio treatment. ...more info
- Crais does it again! Excellent story, excellent writing. Again.
If Robert Crais is not THE best mystery fiction writer today, he certainly is among the top 10! This book focuses almost exclusively on his chief protagonist, PI Elvis Cole, but Crais has him carry the story quite well. There is a little bit of his sidekick, Joe Pike, but for the most part he stays pretty much in the background in this novel.
The story revolves around an apparent suicide discovered while police are evacuating an area in Southern California because of wild fires. The victim is a man Elvis once helped to exonerate in a string of murders involving a variety of young women. Now, because of evidence found on the dead man, it appears that Cole erred. Maybe the man was guilty after all. Elvis sets out to discover the truth, whatever it turns out to be.
If you've read any of Crais's thrillers before, then you'll find this book as exciting and well-written as his previous books. If you aren't familiar with Crais, this book will get you hooked on him and his books!
Michael Garee...more info
- 5 * again from me
I listen to these Robert Crais books as audible books and they are great that way. Strongly recommend....more info
- Fast paced murder mystery
The irreverent private detective Elvis Cole takes the lead in trying to solve multiple murders in this fast paced novel after being accused of faciliating two of the later murders by helping a defense lawyer acquit the alleged murderer. As always with Crais, things are never what they seem, and this novel is no exception.
Unlike other Elvis Cole novels, his best friend Joe Pike has only a peripheral role, as is also true of another friend Carol Starkey. There is also no romantic interest for Cole. Instead the action--and there is plenty of it--all centers on Cole as he relentlessly follows the leads that result in a truly surprise ending as to the actual murderer's identity.
This is a page turner that I found hard to put down. I disagree with another review that Crais did not put everything he had into this novel, and that it is not as good as some of his earlier novels, all of which I have read. If you like Elvis Cole, you will really enjoy this novel, and if you have never read Crais before, this is as good a novel as any to start with. The dialogue is crisp and clever, and Cole's detective skills are at his peak, all of which makes for an exciting murder mystery.
- EXCELLENT READ
Reading some of the already submitted reviews, it seems Crais fans and detracters alike expect a certain continous style of writing and storyline. I started reading Crais in the middle sequence of his books, went back to the start of the Elvis Cole novels, and have now read the latest. To be sure, Crais has grown in his writing style with more emphasis on enhancing prose than character personalization, which at times had become rather tedious. I was impressed with every aspect of this novel. Each time I thought I had it all figured out, a previously dismissed clue surfaced and propelled the book along. The old Elvis and Pike are now developing deeper personalities, a must for continuing characters in a series and I'm glad to see it. If I were to compare Elvis to a tv character, it would be Michael on Burn Notice - fun, kind-hearted, smart and up to the minute on the latest in detection methods which are shared with the reader in an amusing manner. How any detectives spell out the tricks of the trade? This series can, in my opinion, only continue to get better, but there's really no rush to improve. Crais is now at a most enjoyable level!...more info
- Crais is back!
Crais is back, in my humble opinion. I will say that I gave up on his work a while back. The stories and their touchy-feely relationships (I have enough of those with Robert B. Parker) with unintersting plots lost my interest...then on a whim at the library I picked up and read the first pages of THE WATCHMAN and was sucked right in and enjoyed it immensley.
I wondered if he would carry this on, and Crais does. In a mirror image of his last book, Pike is a mere guest character and that is fine with me as this allows Crais to flesh out Elvis and does so in a way that does not get mired down in romantic relationships. CHASING DARKNESS opens up well well with enough mystery, suspense, surpirse, etc. to keep the reader going. This was one of those thankful reads with which I slowed down near the conclusion as I did not want it to end. Frankly I had all but given up on this series, and the author after a few unsatisfying books, but after Pike in The Watcman and Cole here in CHASING DARKNESS...I am happy to repeat - Crais is back to form!...more info
- His best in years
I've read all of Robert Crais' books, I think. I have enjoyed most of them, more or less. The Watchman was alright, The Two Minute Rule interesting, if a bit of a formulaic premise. Some of his other books have been good, but the Elvis Cole stuff, lately, hasn't been that good. I might go all the way back to L.A. Requiem. Chasing Darkness is Crais' best Elvis Cole novel in years, really, truly.
The book starts with Elvis being confronted by a pair of homicide detectives he doesn't know. They are asking about an old case of his, one where he proved that a murder suspect couldn't have committed the crime: he was across town, sitting at a bar drinking, right in front of a security camera. Now the exonerated suspect has been found, an apparent suicide, with a picture album sitting on his lap. The album contains pictures of seven different women, all dead and all apparently killed by the guy holding them, and now dead. Since Cole exonerated him, the cops are somewhat upset about Cole getting the guy off, and after a bit so is Cole.
The story takes off from there, going in interesting, odd directions, and surprising you with its twists and turns. Carol Starkey, from Demolition Angel, makes a cameo, and of course Joe Pike lurks in the background. I really enjoyed this book, read it essentially in an afternoon and an evening, and would recommend it....more info
- Not your best, Mr. Crais
I do agree with 'Savvy Spender'; this latest from one of my favorite authors is disappointing. I kept waiting for the story to take off, Elvis-fashion, and it never did.
After the latest sorry offering from Lee Child, I too wonder if we're asking too much of authors to crank out annual books. Nevertheless, I'd rather read a mediocre Robert Crais than most of the new books out right now.
To the author- please take a long break and come back to us refreshed, sassy, inventive, and sharp-witted. Elvis and Joe deserve only the best!
Your loyal fan...more info
- Quick Hit: BUY IT! Read it! Enjoy it!
I'm not one for wordy reviews - so I will keep this brief. Elvis is BACK! Yea! Great book, very fun read! I think I powered through it in 2 days - and I wish I had another 273 pages. Really good story that keeps you guessing, and all of the characters stay within themselves. Pike is Pike, Starkey is Starkey. And, most importantly, Elvis is Elvis - human, quirky, interesting, relentless, and very good at what he does. I really enjoyed the book, one of the best of the summer! Crais is a consistent hit & I can't wait for the next one! Greg Isles could learn something from Robert Crais!...more info
- Formula writing works for Crais
Many authors are plugged into an editorial formula writing style. For Crais he usually pulls it off without problems. An interesting story line that is somewhat telegraphed along the way. His discussions with the "bad guy" were obvious and yet I still enjoyed the book.
Quick & enjoyable read - maybe next time he will make the ending less predictable....more info
- Jump Suit Elvis
This must be what it was like to see Elvis in Vegas in his later years. He's not the Elvis you expected, but you still like him because of his past. But in your heart of hearts you have to admit it was a big fat letdown.
Elvis Cole here has his whole allstar ensemble - Joe Pike, Carol Starkey, Lou Poitras, John Chen, Lucy phones in. The stage is set, but there's no antagonist, no real threat. So, for this Elvis it's just a matter of going through the motions.
So disappointing. Seems that there's a flabbiness, a lack of imagination. There's not a moment in the book when you think, how will he get out of this? Where's Joe, we need him now! Ohmygod, these bad guys really mean business!
Pike has nothing to do but stand around and look menacing. Starkey is all personality but contributes little. Chen isn't even very horny. And, Cole's life is threatened only once - but by amateurs who are just really mad at him.
Propped up by artificial urgency, the book includes a lot of running and driving around but with nothing much at stake. Then it ends with a fairly quiet whimper....more info
- Pure enjoyment
Ever made a mistake and regretted it? Well, Elvis Cole knows he didn't make a mistake and so sets out to prove it. This completely absorbing novel of two of my favorite characters -- Elvis and Joe Pike (I like the cat too) -- sets out with a hard to believe premise. It carries you along through page after page of entertaining and mind-bending questions. How could this happen? How could Elvis have been SO wrong? After all these years, I still find myself writing Robert Crais' name down on slips of paper to give to friends. He's SO good at what he does! Thanks for another thoroughly enjoyable read, Robert!...more info
- What's with the negative reviews?
Chasing Darkness: An Elvis Cole Novel (Elvis Cole) I'm at a loss as to the negative reviews of this latest Elvis Cole novel. I've read all the other books and this fits right in with what we've seen before. I agree some authors tend to lose their freshness and seem to be following an old, worn out formula as the series advances (case in point Jonathan Kellerman's newest Alex Delaware; now there's a disasppointment for you), but I didn't find that to be the case here. Elvis is doing his thing; Pike is doing his; and that's what the fans want and enjoy. Buy the book at Costco and go on another case with Elvis. ...more info
- Not Up to the Crais Standard
This novel is Exhibit A of what happens when an extraordinarily gifted writer feels compelled to publish but lacks the heart to write as well as he can. The book is too densely plotted at the expense of character development, doesn't develop themes adequately, especially the one invoked by the title, and doesn't use Joe Pike enough. "Chasing Darkness" is definitely still worth reading. Crais, after all, is still Crais. I hope he takes the time necessary in writing the next book to re-discover the joy of the characters. ...more info
- must read
This is easily Robert Crais best book to date.
Elvis and Pike are at their best throughout.
I found it near impossible to put down and now eagerly await Robert Crais next book....more info
- Elvis Chases the Darkness
Light? Yes. Quick Read? Yes. Enjoyable? Thoroughly. I found the latest Elvis Cole a satisfying entry in the series. Maybe not so many Elvis wisecracks, but you do have Carol Starkey getting off some dandies. Crais is so comfortable by now with Elvis & Joe & Carol and company that this is this year's adventure and while the earlier books might have been denser, I found this a very nice read. Of course, must I say it? The 4 stars are for fans of the genre and the series....more info
- Not his best Elvis Cole story
I like Robert Crais's Elvis Cole character, his sidekick Joe Pike and most of his other standing characters. The dialog is usually crisp and more than a little reminiscent of the classic noir novels of the 40s. The plots generally have a hole or two, but nothing that Crais's storytelling can't overcome.
In "Chasing Darkness", Crais gets off to a strong start as police clear homes in the path of a Los Angeles wildfire and discover the body of Lionel Byrd, an apparent suicide. His body has been in his house for several days and at his feet is a photo album that ties him to the gruesome murders of seven young women.
Thus it is that two nasty, snarling cops enter Elvis Cole's office while he is engaged in banter with his enigmatic partner, Joe Pike. The cops are hostile to Cole because three years ago, working for prominent criminal attorney Alan Levy who was representing Byrd pro bono, Cole discovered a surveillance tape that proved Byrd couldn't have committed the murder he was accused of. Since the dismissal of those charges, police now believe that Byrd committed two more killings and that Cole, having found the evidence that seemed to exonerate Byrd, is responsible for those deaths.
But things bog down quickly after that. The plot is simply too strained. Even Crais's usually strong storytelling isn't enough to pull the reader over some gaping holes, one of which is simply a massive chasm.
Cops seem to be corrupt, evidence disappears as do mysteries strangers. Cole is attacked (no suprise there), rescued, warned of dire consequences and he labors on, ultimately solving the bit whodunit.
Problem is that by the end of this tale, who cares? I didn't. It doesn't help that Crais telegraphs the conclusion long before he reaches it, making the last several chapters nothing more than a slog.
"Chasing Darkness" is not awful. If it were the first work of someone new on the scene, it would be worth of high praise. But Robert Crais is not only a veteran, his Elvis Cole, Joe Pike and subsidiary characters are well established and Crais is an exceptionally strong storyteller. But he isn't up to the standards he has set in this book.
It's okay and nothing more. You certainly won't question your sanity by reading "Chasing Darkness" all the way through, but you won't be bowled over either.
Hopefully, Crais's next effort will be stronger.
- A Little Tired
It's good, but I find myself missing the earlier Elvis Cole, the one who always had a quip or a comeback. Elvis seems a little weaker, a little slower than in earlier books. I also think that the direction Crais has taken the series, toward a more serious tone, paradoxically seems less believable, maybe because the over the top plots are more apparent. Also, nothing happens to advance Elvis' personal life. There is one conversation with Lucy, nothing happens with Starkey and I'm starting to worry that Elvis is going to turn into a simple vehicle to carry a plot.
Still, I liked the plot, I like the characters and I'm looking forward to the next. I would just like to see some emotional resolution....more info
- Elvis Cole Makes Mistakes?
Could Elvis Cole have made a mistake? Three years before, he had found evidence to clear Lionel Byrd of a murder charge. Now Byrd has committed suicide, leaving at his feet evidence of seven murders. Cole doesn't believe it, but everyone accepts the new evidence, especially the police, from the deputy chief down to various detectives. So what does the redoubtable Elvis do? Conduct his own investigation parallel to an ongoing official inquiry, stepping on everyone's toes.
Of course, being blamed for letting a serial killer go free has its price. The brothers of one of the victims take their frustration out on Elvis--but that doesn't stop him, or his buddy Joe Pike. In the course of his investigation, Elvis trips over all kinds of detours, pointing in various directions and to various suspects. Despite warnings by the police to leave it alone, he plods on, complicating not only the cops' efforts but the plot, which goes off in myriad directions.
This is the eleventh in the series, and is equal to the task. Until the surprising end, the reader (not to mention Elvis himself) is left clueless as to the real perpetrator. But then, that's the nature of a good mystery. As usual, the writing and pace is excellent. Recommended.
- Totally Fun Summer Read
Personally, I was glad to have Elvis back at the center of the story again, and thrilled that Lucy was relegated to nothing more than a single phone call. Joe Pike takes a back door as well, but that didn't bother me this time. I think for any of these mystery writers who have had characters that continue in multiple books it becomes a huge challenge to make the plots fresh while moving the characters forward. I think Crais does it here, and for me this was a page turning fun summer thrill ride. ...more info
- A very pleasant surprise
Chasing Darkness: An Elvis Cole Novel (Elvis Cole Novels)
Although I've read Mr. Crais's work, I hadn't sampled his Elvis Cole books. And, in fact, this one isn't about Cole but about his partner, the intriguing Joe Pike.
If you're tired of the usual run of PIs, you definitely want to make Joe Pike's acquaintance. Just be prepared--he's not a comfortable man to have around. On the other hand, it's that unique and superbly handled difference that makes this book so good. I'm not going to say any more than that, as you need to discover what I mean for yourself. Enjoy the trip--I did. A lot.
Highly recommended....more info