by Robert Crais
Series: Elvis Cole, #15Hardcover, 322 pg.
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2017
Read: December 27 – 28, 2017
A single mom has worries about the way that her teen-aged son is behaving — and when you add in flashy clothes, a Rolex, and more money in his pocket than most book bloggers have in their checking account. So, she hires Elvis to figure out what the bad news is.
It takes The World’s Fastest Detective just a couple of hours to figure out what Tyson has been up to, and it’s not good: Tyson and a couple of friends have been breaking into empty homes and making off with all sorts of high-end merchandise. Think The Bling Ring, but without anything for Emma Watson to do. Multiple security companies, insurance investigators as well as the police have been hunting for them, and Elvis has stumbled onto the trail.
Of all those on the hunt for this crew, one team is closer to finding them than Elvis is — and these two seem to be leaving a lot of bodies in their wake. They’re identified right from the get-go, so I don’t mind talking about them too much. They’ve clearly been partners for a long time — the give and take between the pair is enough to almost make you forget they’re horrible people. At one point, the two get into a discussion about the appropriateness of the word “retard” in conversation, another conversation is about the depiction of women in moves/fiction, and they get into a big argument about annoying ringtones that one of them is using. If they weren’t going around killing people for mysterious, yet clearly nefarious, reasons, I could really like them (or, if Crais was going for a Tarantino/Leonard thing with them).
The pacing on this is relentless — well, it’s obvious to the reader right off that the clock is ticking, but once Elvis catches up to what we know, things are almost non-stop. It’s similar to Taken, but without the jumping around in time, Crais knows how to handle the tension and momentum just right so the suspense is genuine. It also reminded me of The Watchman, in that you have Elvis and Cole trying to protect a self-involved teen (or two) on the run from some very determined killers.
In so many ways this is classic Elvis Cole: Joe Pike doesn’t do much — it’s almost like the early books, he shows up does his Batman kind of thing, and vanishes. It was a nice way to deal with him — we don’t want to get too chummy with Pike, he looses a bit of the mystique that way. When he does act — we get our money’s worth. John Chen is very John Chen-y, which is always fun (as long as we don’t get too much of him). We get some quick visits with some other old friends, too. Elvis cooks like hosts on Food Network aspire to. All the mainstays are there.
Slipping in every now and then between the adrenaline from the chase and the fan service is a solid emotional grounding that was as effective as it was unexpected.
Time with a couple of old favorites, an almost perfectly constructed thriller, and some solid emotional moments — who could ask for more? From the hitting-the-ground-running beginning through to the very touching ending, this is a heckuva read that should please fans new and old.