Summary and book reviews of The Last Detective by Robert Crais

The Last Detective

by Robert Crais

The Last Detective
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2003, 302 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2004, 352 pages

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Book Summary

Venturing deep inside a complex psyche, Crais explores Elvis's need for family and his floundering relationship with Lucy, as they race the clock in their search to find their kidnapped son. This is Crais' richest and most intense tale of suspense yet.

Elvis Cole is back...

With his acclaimed bestsellers, Hostage (a New York Times Notable Book) and Demolition Angel, Robert Crais drew raves for his unstoppable pacing, edgy characterizations, and cinematic prose. Now, in The Last Detective, Crais returns to his signature character, Los Angeles private investigator Elvis Cole, in a masterful page-turner that probes the meaning of family and the burdens of the past.

Elvis Cole's relationship with attorney Lucy Chenier is strained. When she moved from Louisiana to join Elvis in Los Angeles, she never dreamed that violence would so easily touch her life -- but then the unthinkable happens. While Lucy is away on business and her ten-year-old son, Ben, is staying with Elvis, Ben disappears without a trace. Desperate to believe that the boy has run away, evidence soon mounts to suggest a much darker scenario.

Joining forces with his enigmatic partner, Joe Pike, Elvis frantically searches for Ben with the help of LAPD Detective Carol Starkey, as Lucy's wealthy, oil-industry ex-husband attempts to wrest control of the investigation. Amid the maelstrom of personal conflicts, Elvis and Joe are forced to consider a more troubling lead -- one indicating that Ben's disappearance is connected to a terrible, long-held secret from Elvis Cole's past.

Venturing deep inside a complex psyche, Crais explores Elvis's need for family - the military that embraced him during a troubled adolescence, his rock-solid partnership with Pike, and his floundering relationship with Lucy - as they race the clock in their search for Ben. The Last Detective is Robert Crais' richest, most intense tale of suspense yet.

Chapter 1

A silence filled the canyon below my house that fall; no hawks floated overhead, the coyotes did not sing, the owl that lived in the tall pine outside my door no longer asked my name. A smarter person would have taken these things as a warning, but the air was chill and clear in that magnified way it can be in the winter, letting me see beyond the houses sprinkled on the hillsides below and out into the great basin city of Los Angeles. On days like those when you can see so far, you often forget to look at what is right in front of you, what is next to you, what is so close that it is part of you. I should have seen the silence as a warning, but I did not.

"How many people has she killed?"

Grunts, curses, and the snap of punches came from the next room.

Ben Chenier shouted, "What?"

"How many people has she killed?"

We were twenty feet apart, me in the kitchen and Ben in the living room, shouting at the tops of our lungs; Ben Chenier, also known as my ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Booklist - Wes Lukowsky

Kidnapping provides the backdrop, but this is really a novel about what constitutes real family. The answer isn't necessarily genetic lineage or marriage; it's love, devotion, sacrifice, and often, shared pain--even for a couple of hard cases like Cole and Pike.

Kirkus Reviews

Before he hit the big time with Hostage (2001), Crais made his name with seven novels about wisecracking but ever tougher L.A. shamus Elvis Cole. Now his old hero's overheated return suggests that somebody can't go home again....The detective work, when Elvis has a chance for it, is sound and the plot twisty enough, but that's no longer enough for Crais, who ups the ante with flashbacks to Elvis's neglected childhood and Vietnam service, gives his villains the world-class bad-guy credentials you'd expect from an Austin Powers movie....

Publishers Weekly

As the kidnappers' deadline nears and disturbing motives surface, the suspense becomes almost unbearable. The terrible, heartstopping climax is so well written that time seems to stop. Crais combines the thriller and private eye genres into a dazzling novel that is far more accomplished than the sum of its parts.

Reader Reviews

jpj

It's kind of a macho man's view of LA book, a little bang bang shoot 'um up, but I like how the plot unravelled. And every once in awhile I like these army-guy-becomes-PI books. Sure Elvis is now a detective, but you get the sense he's only 2 weeks ...   Read More

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