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L.A. Requiem Hardcover – June 1, 1999

4.5 out of 5 stars 495 customer reviews
Book 8 of 11 in the An Elvis Cole Novel Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

More than 10 years ago, I was shocked to learn that some puerile piece of fluff had won the Edgar for Best Paperback Original, when it was so obvious to me and virtually everyone else in the Western Hemisphere that the award should have gone to The Monkey's Raincoat, the book that introduced Elvis Cole, private eye, and is to this day one of the funniest books I've ever read.

The terrific Elvis Cole series has grown through the years, each book better than the last, but nothing prepared me for the quantum leap (yes, it's a cliché, but it belongs here) that Crais has made with L.A. Requiem. It's not as funny as the other books in the series, but it's a beautifully plotted detective story, rich with police procedure, and it will keep even the most sophisticated reader at sea right until the end. And that's what elevates this book to the level of literature.

This one is more about Joe Pike, Elvis's silent sidekick, than it is about Elvis. We learn, through Pike's own eyes, how his childhood made him the way he is today. It's also about a friendship so strong that it threatens Elvis's relationship with his beloved Lucy. It is a tender but dark book--a serial killer book--but it doesn't attempt to outgross the other serial killer books on the shelf. It is funny at times and chilling at other times, making it one of the rare books that can't help but linger in the memory long after it's been read and put away. --Otto Penzler

From Publishers Weekly

In his eighth book about wise-cracking Los Angeles private detective Elvis Cole, Crais has expanded his narrative reach and broadened his characters' horizons to produce a mature work that deserves to move him up a notch or twoAinto Parker or Connelly country. He's done this by focusing on Joe Pike, Cole's tough and hitherto totally enigmatic partner. It's Pike who breaks in on Cole's reunion with Lucy Chenier, his lawyer/broadcaster lover who has just moved from New Orleans, to ask for Elvis's help in tracking down the missing daughter of a rich and powerful Hispanic businessman. When the girl turns up murdered in Griffith Park, it's Pike who gives a nerdy medical examiner valuable assistance; and when it turns out that the girl's death is linked to several other murders, it's Pike who is charged with killing the chief suspect. Through flashbacks to Joe's past life as an abused child, a highly motivated teenage soldier and an L.A. cop fighting to keep a corrupt partner from destroying his family, we learn more about Pike than we did in the seven previous Cole books. This new focus also allows Crais to keep Elvis's often annoying throwaway lines to a minimumAalthough more pruning could have been done with no loss of flavor. The book's scope is wide enough to include many other memorable characters, especially a rough-edged, vulnerable police officer named Samantha Dolan, plus a choice of plausible villains. There may be one too many metaphoric descriptions attempting to link aspects of the L.A. landscape with the moods and deeds of its inhabitants, but overall Crais seems to have successfully stretched himself the way another Southern California writerARoss MacdonaldAalways tried to do, to write a mystery novel with a solid literary base.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1st edition (June 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 2702845495
  • ISBN-13: 978-2702845493
  • ASIN: 0385495838
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (495 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #557,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
As with most of the reviewers, I've followed Robert Crais from the beginning and this is his best book yet.
It starts with Joe Pike's ex-girlfriend, Karen Garcia, being gunned down by the Hollywood Reservoir as she's out jogging. Karen's father, an Hispanic with huge political clout, doesn't trust the police to work the case so he asks Joe to act as an overseer to the case, and Joe involves Elvis Cole. As more evidence surfaces it looks like a serial killer may be at work and when the prime suspect is himself murdered, Joe Pike is arrested for the killing.
First, the plot is very well done. It has the requisite twists and turns and I don't think many people will figure this one out before the author wants you to.
Secondly, the writing is superb. Crais has always been a good writer in a mild breezy way, but with this book he shows us he can handle deeper emotions. This is a darker, more serious, book than his others and he handles it with aplomb. I, at first considered this series as a Spenser wannabee, but his writing has now pushed him beyond that. He is a very good writer.
Third, his characterization is rich. Joe Pike, who up until now has been Elvis Cole's spear carrier, emerges as the complex human being we've always felt he might be. Far from being the emotionless killer, we find that Joe's emotions are there but well hidden. The book does a wonderful job of explaining what made Joe the way he is. Some others have remarked that Joe is a little too unbelievable, but I don't think so. There really are men like this in the world.
I can't recommend this book highly enough. I gave it five stars and I don't give out that rating lightly. You won't be disappointed.
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Format: Hardcover
Fans of Robert Crais have seen his writing style progress with each of his Elvis Cole novels. All are entertaining, but L.A. Requiem suddenly vaults way ahead of anyone else this year and propels Crais to the top of the heap of detective writers. In fact, list Crais as one of the best writers of any fiction.
This, by far, is the best book I've read this year. And I read a lot--I own a used bookstore.
L.A. Requiem has its funny stuff, but it's darker than the rest. The book deals more with Joe Pike and his background. At times I felt like I was eavesdropping on Pike, knowing things about him he probably doesn't want us to know. Crais' portrayal of L.A. is a character of itself. The fires in the hills act as a metaphor for the conflict/tension building. The plot is great; they're searching for a killer. But Crais' use of language, thought, description really supercedes the plot.
I've always been a big fan of Crais and grab as much of him as I can. I recommend him all the time at our store. L.A. Requiem is outstanding and more readers will take notice. I can't wait for his next book.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I have all of Crais's books except the newest one, The Forgotten Man.

And this is the best of a very good lot.

The Elvis Cole books are better than the non-Cole books (Demolition Angel and Hostage--now a major crummy motion picture).

And one reason is Joe Pike.

Pike is a mythic creation: sort of like the Eastwoodian Strong Silent Type on steroids.

This book tells how Pike got that way.

It also has a very nice turn with Who Dun It.

Read all the Elvis Cole books, but if you can only read one, read this.
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Format: Hardcover
If you've read any of the Elvis Cole books, that header will have you clicking the "buy" button right away.
If not, well, listen up. Over the course of the Elvis Cole series, there have been a number of constants. One: Quality. All of the books are excellent. Two: likeable protagonist. You'll love Elvis Cole. Three: the strong, silent, enigmatic Joe Pike. Not just a sidekick. Pike has been Cole's guardian angel throughout the series. And now in L.A. REQUIEM we get to find out how Joe Pike became Joe Pike!
On top of that, you've got a locomotive of a suspense novel roaring down the tracks. The book is inventive in form and style, but always accessible. It's a crime novel, a mystery novel, a literary novel. It's about childhood and the love between man and woman and between friends. It's about everything that's important in life and if you only read one book this year, it should be this one.
L.A. REQUIEM transcends genres and achieves greatness. Don't miss it.
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By A Customer on August 18, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I like Elvis & Joe and always enjoy reading about them, but I had a lot of problems with this book. It told me more than I wanted to know about Joe, and now what I feel most strongly for him is pity. The cops were cliches, right down to the climactic scene, and never became well-rounded characters to me. I'm getting tired of Lucy Chenier and want to see her go back to Louisiana for good. Whenever she appeared, I started skimming and evenskipping pages. I also disliked the shifts from first to third person and found them distracting, especially when the viewpoint was neither Elivis's nor Joe's.
A good book in many ways, but not the best in the series.
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Format: Hardcover
I've been a fan since Lullaby Town, when a fellow Spenser-o-phile recommended Crais to me. At first I thought (naturally) that it was a Spenser ripoff. That changed after 50 pages.
Now comes LA Requiem, and if any other book didn't convince readers that this is no Spenser rip, this should clear all doubts. I have been waiting since day 1 for a peek inside Joe Pike's skull, and now I almost wish I hadn't looked.
This was an absolutely fantastic novel. Crais just gets better and better with each Cole episode, and this one goes right over the top. I can't wait for the next one. Hopefully Elvis & Lucy will patch things up (sorry, Lucy haters, but she's a lot better than Spenser's Susan...)
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