Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Monkey's Raincoat by Robert Crais

The Monkey’s Raincoat by Robert Crais
Bantam Books; 1987
Mystery; 201 pgs

Started: 06/30/2007
Completed: 06/30/2007
Rating: * (Very Good)

First Sentence: “I’m sorry, Mr. Cole, this has nothing to do with you.”

Reason for Reading: Although I was familiar with the author’s name, it was not until the Los Angeles Festival of Books in 2006 that I became interested in reading anything by author Robert Crais. Sad to say, it’s taken me this long to get around to reading my first novel by the author. This is my third selection for the Summer Mystery Reading Challenge.

From the Publisher: When quiet Ellen Lang enters Elvis Cole's Disney-Deco office, she's lost something very valuable - her husband and young son. The case seems simple enough, but Elvis isn't thrilled. Neither is his enigmatic partner and firepower Joe Pike. Their search down the seamy side of Hollywood's studio lots and sculptured lawns soon leads them deep into a nasty netherworld of drugs and sex - and murder. Now the case is getting interesting, but it's also turned ugly. Because everybody, from cops to starlets to crooks, has declared war on Ellen and Elvis.

Comments: This is one of those moments when I kick myself for not picking up and reading this author sooner. Despite the author’s preference that new readers begin with his later books to gain an appreciation for where he is today with his writing, I had to start at the beginning, especially since I decided to read one of his Elvis Cole mysteries.

Elvis Cole is a private detective in Los Angeles, California. He has a way with the women, a wit that will not quit, and knows just when and where to throw a punch. Elvis also has a heart and has a habit of getting too involved with the cases he takes on. His character is balanced out in this novel by his partner, the quiet but deadly Joe Pike, who may be ruthless, still commands respect. I imagine he is the favorite character for many of Elvis Cole readers.

Robert Crais knows Los Angeles well and takes readers up and down the streets of the city, capturing some of the diversity one can find there. The Monkey’s Raincoat is a suspenseful and gripping mystery that leaves me eager to read more by this author, whether it be an Elvis Cole mystery or one of Robert Crais’ stand alones.

Favorite Part: I love Cole’s beer drinking cat. He’s completely the opposite of my cat who is as friendly as can be (and I would never give my cat beer to drink), but there are days when I feel like growling at all the people around me too.

Visit the author's website for more information about Robert Crais and his books.


  1. Robert Crais is one of my favorite authors...or maybe it's his characters I really like ??? :) I have read most of his books, but I think this may be one that has escaped me. Glad you enjoyed it.

  2. I've read all the Elvis Cole books and the stand-alones (love Joe Pike). And have you seen what Robert Crais looks like? Mmmmmm...

  3. Oh, I loved loved LOVED the Monkey's Raincoat! And Joe Pike. His stand alones lost me a bit and I haven't even read the last two Elvis Cole's but The Monkey's Raincoat is one of my absolute faves.

  4. I'm embarrassed to admit I've never heard of this author, and his books are set in Los Angeles, too--always a draw for me! This sounds like fun--I'll have to put it on my list. Thanks!

  5. Oh boy! Another new series! I love finding them and I also start with the first book. It makes reading an adventure and you can see how the author grows in his/her writing.

    Thanks for the great recommendation. I'll be adding the author to my list... which I really need to start.


  6. Great review! Why does a monkey need a raincoat...interesting. : )

  7. Beer drinking cat? I like it! I've seen Crais' name around here and there, but haven't read him yet.

  8. Oh yeah...I need another series to start like I need another hole in my head!! But you always make them sound so GOOD!

    Man....I've missed reading your reviews. Where have I been?? This is going to sound weird, but every day for the last few weeks, I've clicked on my link to your site, and the last entry was the Spring Reading thing entry! I wondered what happened to you. The next thing I know, I checked today and I missed about 10 reviews! Don't be surprised if I comment on all of your old reviews!

  9. Hey lady, just wanted to let you know that I've got a little something for you on my blog...hop on over and check out the "Rockin" entry, then steal that button for yourself here huh? YOu've earned it!

  10. Joy - I think Rober Crais could easily become one of my favorite mystery writers too. I really enjoyed the time I spent with Joe and Elvis.

    Lazy Cow - I have seen his picture--and met him in person. :-) I noticed on his blog's FAQ he's not giving away any autographed headshots. I guess he gotten a lot of requests for those. LOL

    Carrie - I'm looking forward to reading more books in the series. I haven't yet tried his stand alones. It'll be interesting to see how they compare.

    Gentle Reader - Oh, no embarrassment allowed! Haha There are quite a few authors I've never heard of that I'm sure plenty of others have read, so it's easy to let one or two slip by. ;-)

    CJ - Exactly! By starting at the beginning of a series you can see not only how the characters grow, but the author as well. I hope you enjoy giving this one a try!

    Kelly - Thanks! The author actually had a reason behind the title. He got the idea from Basho haiku which he quotes at the beginning of his novel. The monkey actually represents a person and the raincoat is for protection. He does a better job of explaining it on his blog. :-) It's a catchy title, isn't it?

    Kookie - When I saw him at the book festival last year, he mentioned he's gotten some criticism over his main character feeding the cat beer. I thought the cat was a great character--regardless of his drinking tastes. LOL

    Stephanie - I know what you mean! I don't really need to start any more series either, but here I go anyway! I went on a two week reading blitz and got my reviews up pretty quickly. :-) I'm settling back into my normal habits now and so won't be able to post as much.

    Karina - Thanks so much, Karina! And what you said, that was so sweet of you to say. I'll steal the button and post later in the week when I have a little more time. Thanks again!

  11. This looks like such a fun read! I've been trying not to buy books lately to put a dent in my stacks. But I might have to break down and just buy more. *sigh* What's a bookie to do?

  12. I always enjoyed his books. This too I will pick up soon.

  13. Niki - I try and do the same thing. Sometimes it's hard to resist though, isn't it?

    Gautami - I am glad I finally gave Robert Crais a try. I look forward to reading more by him. :-)

    Kelly - Happy 4th of July to you too!

  14. I've not read anything by Crais, either, but this one sounds good! I love discovering a new series possibility.

  15. I loved this book and really enjoyed the series. And, then Crais started getting serious, writing stand-alone novels instead of the series books - very disappointing. I liked the levity of the Elvis Cole books. Glad you enjoyed this one as much as I did.

  16. Jenclair - I know exactly what you mean. I love discovering a new series that I want to follow. :-)

    Nancy - I have heard that some of his readers were partial to his earlier books. I'm looking forward to reading more in the series. I like Cole's sense of humor. :-) I did tell my husband though that if I had to be around Elvis for two long in person, I'd probably have to kick him. LOL


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