Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Monkey’s Raincoat by Robert Crais

Elvis Cole #1

            This is not the kind of book I generally like Elvis Cole is not the kind of character that usually appeals to me. So what is it about this series that delights me?

            I like Elvis Cole. His sense of humor is a lot like mine. He's quirky and proud of it. He'll sleep with any woman he runs into, but mostly because he's trying to make both of them feel better. And he has great taste in friends. His business partner, friend and muscle, Joe Pike is great. A genuinely tough guy with a sense of other people's psyches, an OCD-like compulsion about clean cars, and not a lot to say. Elvis describes him as thinking that "Clint Eastwood talks too much."

            This is the first book in this series, published in 1987. I added it to my TBR list after reading Taken, the 13th in the series [
Taken], and I'll be adding Stalking the Angel, the third in the series.

            Elvis Cole is a private investigator in Hollywood. This story starts with two women arriving in his office to hire him, a quiet doormat of a wife and her pushy, overbearing best friend. Mrs. Doormat's husband has disappeared with their son. She fears he has left her and their daughters. Elvis agrees to look into the situation for her. He agrees to meet her at her house to collect his retainer and look through her husband’s papers. When Elvis arrives he finds the place has been systematically and thoroughly tossed. His client refuses to call the police, not wanting to embarrass her husband when he returns as she believes he did the tossing.

            Elvis starts his investigation, first uncovering evidence of an affair. Further investigation reveals that hubby and side piece attended a party at the home of a wealthy drug dealer. As it turns out, two kilos of nearly pure cocaine were stolen during the party. Drug dealer assumes hubby took it.

            Elvis finally insists that the police be called in, and they quickly find hubby shot dead in his car. The boy is missing. The drug dealer has snatched him to use as an exchange for the drugs. There's just one problem. Hubby didn't take the dope. Now Elvis must find out who did take it, and be prepared to swap it for the boy without everyone getting killed.

            I really enjoyed this book. Although I'm still not sure why it is titled the way it is. Apparently it has to do with a haiku quoted at the beginning of the book. I recommend both the book and the series highly.

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