Well, probably. But that’s not it. One’s appreciation for this novel has everything to do with what you think of the clients. If you like them, see something in them that teaches us something about Elvis — you’ll probably like this book. If not, well, this’ll likely be a tougher read for you. Now, me? I liked the kids, especially Teri, the Fifteen year-old eldest sister, and substitute mom. Little sister Winona’s clearly adorable, Charles is a punk clearly in need of a strong male authority figure. Either individually, or considered as a group, I liked the kids — and therefore, when they ask the World’s Greatest Detective to find their absentee dad – I cared.
If it was almost anyone else looking for their dad, Clark, I can’t imagine caring. Once Elvis found him, I quickly reached the point where I didn’t care if Elvis was able to help him, as long as the kids would be alright.
Towards the end of the book, both Elvis and Joe make a major blunder that almost gets all of them killed. And sure, I don’t necessarily expect the two to have everything worked out before they take action — but there was evidence enough that they could’ve been on their toes security-wise and not almost got killed in the process. Not only do they miss the pretty obvious conclusion, they don’t even see that there’s a conclusion to be found. I’ve read Indigo four times now, and it distracts and detracts each time.
What makes Elvis’ (and, to be fair, Joe’s) blunder so egregious, was that it was hot on the heels of Elvis’ latest cunning plan. Some of these plans he comes up with to get his clients/clients’ families out of hot water stretch credulity, this one takes the cake. As Blackadder would say, it’s “a plan so cunning, you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel!” I can’t believe that anyone would go along with it — beyond the desperate family, that is — but not only do a group of criminals/revolutionaries, but Elvis gets multiple federal agencies to sign off. And it works. Mostly.
But somehow the book works. For two independent reasons: 1. As I stated previously, because of the clients — I bought into them. And 2., Because of the Lucy Story.
There was just something I liked about these kids and their plight — I believed it, I could see it. I enjoyed watching Elvis and Joe interact with them (really sick of Joe as baby sitter, let him do a little more, Elvis!)
There’s a little bit of a Lucy story, not as big as in the last two novels, but it’s there, and it’s an important development of what started in Sunset Express. But more than that, it’s a chance for Elvis to demonstrate the sensitive, caring male that he is. For Lucy to be an independent woman. And for the reader to see that this isn’t going to be a relationship that’s only wine and roses. Yes, Elvis is still the giddy, goofy guy in love making kissy sounds over the phone. But he’s also an adult who respects his partner.
Not a whole lot (other than Joe and Lucy) to tie this one to earlier novels — Elvis continues to use Lou Poitras and Eddie Ditko as his own personal (anachronistic) Google. And Elvis’ actions in Free Fall end up paying off for him, which was nice to see.
In the end, this was pretty blah. There were some nice character moments, a few chuckles, a nice firefight or two..but that’s really it. Not much going for it at all, which is a shame. Not the way that Phase 1 for Elvis Cole should end — but the parts that are a prequel for Phase 2 were strong enough (you’ll have to read L. A. Requiem to better understand that).