2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
My first, and possibly last, Crais,
This review is from: The Monkey's Raincoat (Elvis Cole) (Mass Market Paperback)
I've heard about Crais for years so had high expectations. My mistake. The name got me to finish the book even when I would have stopped long ago.
P.I. Elvis Cole is hired by a wife and her girlfriend to find the wife's missing husband and son.
There's some stuff I really liked about the book: I liked that the characters had distinct and interesting personalities, and that Elvis had an edgy sarcasm and used funny turns of phase.
But I disliked too many things in this book: The opening has the client in the detective's office explaining the problem, a classic but way over done opening (Though the dialog and description read very well here, it wasn't a very creative choice.)
Major characters were physically described as looking like so-and-so celebrity. This is a sloppy shortcut to description, and unfortunately irrelevant to a reader 20 years later who's never seen John Casavettes on TV.
I hated that the two sex scenes didn't alter the plot one iota, and worse didn't change the relationship between the characters. A P.I. boffing both his clients, who happen to be best friends, is a major opportunity for interesting interaction, hurt feelings, professional misgivings, relationship development and a slew of possibilities that Crais missed completely. Unless the author wanted to show us that Elvis was hot and women threw themselves at him, or show us how unprofessional and opportunistic Elvis was, these scenes should have been cut. Every scene in a book should matter, those had the importance of a bowel movement. We know protagonists take dumps, but we don't need to read about it unless it affects the plot or characters.
I also didn't need so much detailed description of place, L.A. street directions, clothing, guns (really? Elvis knew the model and caliber of a gun within two seconds of someone pointing it at him?), and food--every freaking ingredient in every sandwich the protagonist ate was spelled out like a deli chalkboard. It bogged down the story and made it very hard for me to finish.
I realize this book is at the beginning of a writing career, and I'm assuming Crais had to have become more polished and accomplished over time, so maybe I'll give him another shot (but only with a strong recommendation). I would not recommend starting with this book, even if it is the first in a series.
Not recommended. 2.5 stars.