Elvis Cole has got a problem to solve – and this time it’s personal.
Elvis Cole’s girlfriend, Lucy, is out of town, and she has left her young son Ben in Elvis’s care. Elvis and Lucy have had a few problems lately – not least over his job as a private investigator. But at last things seem to be getting better.
Then Ben disappears. One minute he’s playing his computer game in Elvis’s house; the next he has vanished. Elvis looks everywhere, but he just can’t find Ben; and neither can Lucy when she arrives.
Then Elvis receives a phone call about Ben – and realises that something from his own past has come back to haunt him…
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
Review From Publishers Weekly
After two bestselling stand-alone novels (Demolition Angel and Hostage), Crais has returned to his popular Elvis Cole series with a thrilling action-adventure yarn. The private eye’s eighth and last crusade against evil, L.A. Requiem, explored the events, from childhood on, that turned his sidekick, Joe Pike, into a hardened killing machine (albeit a moral one). Now it’s Elvis’s turn to be analyzed, as he tries to rescue his beloved Lucy Chenier’s son, Ben, whose kidnapping by ruthless mercenaries apparently was prompted by something in the sleuth’s past. With its relentless pacing, large cast, flashbacks to Elvis’s unhappy youth and war experiences and constant shifting from first- to third-person narration, the book poses significant problems for an audio interpreter. Daniels, one of the format’s prime performers, has given voice to Elvis and Joe before, on the less complex Lullaby Town and Free Fall (both Brilliance titles). He takes the present challenge in stride, using his own voice for the Elvis-narrated sections and an appropriate just-the-facts approach to the straightforward sentences in the third person passages. Just as deftly, he distinguishes the cultured Lucy from the rougher-edged policewoman Carole Starkey (the author’s Demolition Angel in a surprise cameo); finds an assortment of Louisiana accents for Lucy’s ex-husband and his bayou crew; and, most stirringly, treats Pike to a hardboiled whisper Clint Eastwood might mistake for his own. Crais is notoriously protective of his Elvis novels, reputedly rejecting the wealth of Hollywood rather than trust others with his creations. He’s got nothing to worry about here.