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Chasing Darkness: An Elvis Cole Novel (Elvis Cole Novels) Hardcover – July 1, 2008

441 customer reviews
Book 11 of 11 in the An Elvis Cole Novel Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After earning a law degree, James Daniels quit recording audiobooks, but returned to read Crais's newest Elivis Cole and Joe Pike mystery (his previous Crais recordings include The Forgotten Man, Hostage, The Last Detective, Lullaby Town and The Watchman). It's a welcome return and Daniel's no-nonsense reading elevates one of Crais's lesser efforts and turns it into an enjoyable listening experience. Slipping back into these characters, Daniels easily distinguishes Cole's wise-guy banter from Pike's steely resolution, and he gives this outing's enigmatic villain, Lionel Byrd, just the right note of weirdness. A fire unearths evidence that someone Cole helped prove innocent of murdering a prostitute six years ago may actually have been guilty—and may have killed many other women. Cole and Pike dodge bullets as they dig around to find out the truth. A Simon & Schuster hardcover (Reviews, May 19). (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Elvis Cole has been around for more than 20 years, and he has aged like fine wine. Chasing Darkness contains the classic crime elements that have made Crais’s series so popular, but the novel seems, as a few critics commented, more like a straightforward crime thriller this time around. Material Witness felt that the novel was perhaps less psychologically intense than previous installments, but nonetheless still as compelling in its exploration of crime and backroom politics. A tight, plausible plot and a wholly unexpected ending kept critics turning the pages. In sum, “[t]he Cole books are first-rate entertainment. If you don’t know them, this one is a good starting point” (Washington Post).
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Series: Elvis Cole Novels
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (July 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743281640
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743281645
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (441 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #583,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Robert Crais is the author of the best-selling Elvis Cole novels. He was the 2006 recipient of the Ross Macdonald Literary Award.

A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he grew up on the banks of the Mississippi River in a blue collar family of oil refinery workers and four generations of police officers. He purchased a second-hand paperback of Raymond Chandler's The Little Sister when he was fifteen, which inspired his lifelong love of writing, Los Angeles, and the literature of crime fiction.

He journeyed to Hollywood in 1976 where he quickly found work writing scripts for such major television series as Hill Street Blues, Cagney & Lacey, and Miami Vice, as well as scripting numerous series pilots and movies-of-the-week for the major networks.

Feeling constrained by the collaborative working requirements of Hollywood, Crais resigned from a lucrative position as a contract writer and television producer in order to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a novelist. His first efforts proved unsuccessful, but upon the death of his father in 1985, Crais was inspired to create Elvis Cole, using elements of his own life as the basis of the story. The resulting novel, The Monkey's Raincoat, won the Anthony and Macavity Awards and was nominated for the Edgar Award. It has since been selected as one of the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association.

Crais conceived of the novel as a stand-alone, but realized that, in Elvis Cole, he had created an ideal and powerful character through which to comment upon his life and times. Elvis Cole's readership skyrocketed in 1999 upon the publication of L. A. Requiem, which was a New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller and forever changed the way Crais conceived of and structured his novels. Larger and deeper in scope, Publishers Weekly wrote of L. A. Requiem, "Crais has stretched himself the way another Southern California writer, Ross Macdonald, always tried to do, to write a mystery novel with a solid literary base." Booklist added, "This is an extraordinary crime novel that should not be pigeonholed by genre. The best books always land outside preset boundaries. A wonderful experience."

Crais followed with his first non-series novel, Demolition Angel, which was published in 2000 and featured former Los Angeles Police Department Bomb Technician Carol Starkey. In 2001, Crais published his second non-series novel, Hostage, which was named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times and was a world-wide bestseller. The editors of selected Hostage as the #1 thriller of the year. A film adaptation of Hostage was released in 2005, starring Bruce Willis as ex-LAPD SWAT negotiator Jeff Talley.

Robert Crais lives in the Santa Monica mountains with his wife, three cats, and many thousands of books. Additional information can be found at his website,

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

187 of 199 people found the following review helpful By Gary Griffiths VINE VOICE on July 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
So I'm beginning to feel like all of the big names in pop thriller/crime fiction - Lee Childs, James Lee Burke, James Patterson, and now Robert Crais, are getting either bored or lazy, or have somehow managed to misplace the passion and fiery writing that placed them in their well deserved positions (well, except perhaps Patterson) on the big best seller lists. Yes, I'm a Robert Crais fan. The early Elvis Cole was smart, funny, and in your face - definitely an updated, more hip, and slightly more irreverent version of the venerable Raymond Chandler's Phillip Marlowe and today's answer to the hard boiled LA that Chandler invented. And Joe Pike? In Crais' prime, can you think of a supporting cast member more menacing - a more cleverly and intelligently rendered butt-kicker - the hands down candidate for the guy you'd least want to have on the other side of a street fight - or any kind of fight? Leaves me yearning for "LA Requiem", "The Monkey's Raincoat", or Crais' outstanding stand alone effort, "The Hostage".

To be fair, "Chasing Darkness" is by no means a bad read. In fact, it starts out with an intriguing "murder in a locked room-like" premise that is genuinely gripping, and definitely held my attention. And without the distraction and baggage of Cole's annoying girlfriend Lucy hanging around to mush up the action, I was getting ready to declare that "Crais is back" after what a thought were a couple of sub-par installments. But before long it starts feeling a bit tired with crooked cop conspiracy theories and all too familiar themes. And the intimidating Pike is relegated to a near cameo role, emerging with only enough adrenaline to help Elvis beat up some kids.
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91 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Richard B. Schwartz TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Joe PIke is along as well and so is Carol Starkey, but this is Elvis' story. A putative suicide is found as the result of a fire, a man exonerated by Elvis in the past. Now it appears that the man was a serial killer and Elvis was responsible for providing him the freedom to kill others. Elvis goes to work, sorting things out. The result is a classic novel of detection, in which the protagonist knocks on doors, asks people questions, knocks on more doors, asks more questions and does not stop (no matter how many obstacles are placed in his path) until he has the answers he seeks.

While Elvis gets off a few good one-liners this is less the wisecracking Elvis Cole of the early novels and more the serious one of the more recent books. The plot is suitably complex, but the pace is perfect--a driving narrative that hurtles toward a plausible but unexpected conclusion. The ethos is pure Chandler, with apparent villainy in high places and a complete tour of L.A. from the dark booths of the Pacific Dining Car to the gritty, sad cottages of Sylmar and the sunny, but blood-soaked lawns of Santa Monica.

It is hard to say if this is Crais's best book, because he consistently sets and meets a high standard. Suffice to say it is an excellent one, one of the best of the summer. It is exceptionally well-written, with memorable observations and descriptions that are delivered economically and with great skill. The polish on the individual sentences gleams. Highly recommended.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Nora on August 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Where's the spark? Elvis Cole is nothing close to his chirpy, irreverant self, Pike is a pale shadow of his usual formidable presence and Starkey seems like a caricature of herself. Towards the end, the book becomes mildly interesting when Cole finally figures out whodunit, but then Crais cheats his audience with the ending. After a break from Cole in which Crais penned two other novels, I'd a-thunk he'd have brought Elvis back well rested and in fine form, but Elvis Cole seems as bored as I was in this latest addition to the series.
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36 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Savvy Spender on July 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Let me preface this by saying I am a huge Robert Crais fan; I have read all of his previous books, and with the exception of Demolition Angel, I thought they were all five star material. This is not five star material. It is more like a first draft; I felt like I was reading the outline not the book. There was no depth to the characters in this book, which R.C. usually provides in abundance. He tries to surprise us with the true identity of the villain, but I was only half surprised. In this case, I think he could have made the book more interesting by giving us a first person glimpse of the perpetrator(s), even if he wanted to keep the characters anonymous. Elvis' meager observations of the criminal(s) did little to peak my interest, and I think Elvis was frustrated with his lack of ingenuity as well. All in all, the book was as flat as week old ginger ale. I have seen this happen with several of my favorite authors, and perhaps it is because their publishers push too hard for that next book to be released and the next book tour to begin. I say let the book age properly and don't release it too soon.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Brian Baker VINE VOICE on July 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A fire in the hills and canyons above Los Angeles leads to the discovery of the body of a man detective Elvis Cole had, years before, shown to be innocent of the murder accusations leveled against him.

But evidence found with the body seems to indicate that Cole may have made the biggest mistake of his career, and helped set a serial killer free to kill again.

This is a darker and more brooding novel than that which we typically associate with Crais's Elvis Cole character, and given the nature of the issues at stake, that's entirely appropriate and actually welcome. It adds another layer of humanity and complexity to the character, and makes it all too clear that though Elvis is usually the master of the arch wisecrack, he does take his work and life seriously when the bottom line is reached.

The complexities of the case are masterfully addressed; a blend of LA politics thrown into the mix with dogged detective work. The characterizations are richly realized with the deft strokes Crais has mastered so well: the telling movement, the revealing phrase, the details of place and setting. Few do it as well as Crais, and he brings all his skills and talents to bear in this book.

Of course, Joe Pike is there to cover Elvis's "six", as well as former LAPD bomb expert Starkey to lend a much-needed hand.

But the real joy was in seeing this other side of Elvis; as much fun as the character's always been, he's now so much more.

A very strong five stars. Read this book.
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