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