Wednesday 24 April 2013



Elvis Cole is just a detective who can't say no, especially to a girl in a terrible fix. And Jennifer Sheridan qualifies. Her fiance, Mark Thurman, is a decorated LA cop with an elite plainclothes unit, but Jennifer is sure he's in trouble - the kind of serious trouble that only Cole can get him out of. Five minutes after his new client leaves the office, Cole and his partner, the enigmatic Joe Pike, are hip-deep in a deadly situation as they plummet into a world of South Central gangs, corrupt cops and conspiracies of silence. And before long, every cop in the LAPD is gunning for a pair of armed and dangerous killers - Cole and Pike.

In this 4th instalment of Crais’s series with Elvis Cole and his enigmatic sidekick Joe Pike, the dynamic duo cross swords with an elite unit of the LAPD who have crossed the line. Engaged by Jennifer Sheridan to find out exactly what is troubling her cop boyfriend, the pair come up against a former colleague of Pike from his police days. After ignoring the warnings to drop the case, Cole’s digging ties the cop unit to a South Central gang-lord and the death of a black suspect during one of the unit’s sting operations in an LA pawn shop.

Violence, gun-play, drugs, gangs, race issues, corrupt cops, broken families, anger management, intimidation and fear all figure in this tale.

Just shy of 300 pages long, I read this in a day over the weekend. I was reminded a bit of Robert B. Parker’s creation Spencer. Cole has the same wise-cracking attitude that thankfully stops just short of irritating. I stuck with Spencer for around 20 books before tiring of him. This series if you include the later books that seem to figure Pike as the protagonist runs to around 15 or 16. There’s nothing yet to suggest that I won’t last the pace. Perhaps if Cole was a little less savvy, a little less understanding, a little less moral and a little more imperfect, I would like him a little more.

Fast-paced and enjoyable, so I’ll be back with the 5th next month.

4 from 5

I bought my copy new many years ago, possibly from the now defunct Murder One bookshop in London, seeing as it was a US paperback.        


  1. Col - Oh, I'm very you thought this was a good 'un. I really like this series and one of the reasons is the wit that runs through it. I also think the relationship between Cole and Pike is terrific. There are a few novels later in the series in which Joe Pike 'takes the lead,' and I'll be honest, I prefer Elvis Cole as the main protagonist. But that's just my view...

    1. Margot, nice to find a fellow Cole/Pike fan.
      I'm going at them 1 a month, not too fast, not too slow,but I'm kind of anxious to find out more about Pike, who thus far is an unknown quantity. I suppose, I'm a wee bit disappointed that of the two you prefer Cole. I suppose part of Pike's attraction is the air of mystery surrounding him, whereas I already feel I know Elvis quite well. It will be interesting to see how I feel when I get there, but we will have to wait about a year to find out!

  2. Another series I want to read more of. I read the first two in the series, and Lullaby Town is next up. Probably won't get to it this year, though. I am glad you are liking the books.

    1. Tracy thanks, I hope you get back into him soon.