Stalking the Angel


Robert Crais


Mystery / Thriller


Date Reviewed:

December 23, 2006

talking the Angel is the second novel about Elvis Cole, private detective in Los Angeles. It is the second book I have read (after The Monkey’s Raincoat). After just two books, this already seems like a predictable series. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The book is short (just 260 paperback pages) and quite readable, so you will breeze through it in just two or three sittings. Elvis is a wisecracking guy, and a lot of his remarks are amusing – the book is not laugh-out-loud funny, but the Elvis character is clever and the plot moves briskly along with lots of violent encounters.

Elvis is hired to find an ancient Japanese book that has been stolen from the home of wealthy business man Bradley Warren. The rare book is an original copy of the Hagakure, worth over 3 million dollars, but it has additional significance because it is the warrior code of the Bushido. Who ever stole the book may be trying to embarrass Warren, who is a real estate developer with lots of Japanese connections.

Detective work seems ridiculously easy as described by Crais. Mostly, Elvis confronts some bad guys, threatens them, which then leads to more bad guys. A couple of stakeouts, some violence, and pretty soon Elvis and his buddy Pike are right in the thick of the yakuza (Japanese mafia.) There isn’t a lot of clues or detective work – his style is pounding information out of bad guys.

Whoever stole the book tries to threaten the Warren’s family, threatening phone calls are made. But Elvis stays on the case. Things get much worse when someone kidnaps Mimi, the daughter of Bradley Warren.

The ending of this book reminded me a lot of the ending of Monkey’s Raincoat. Vulnerable youngster is held in a compound full of vicious bad guys. Rather than calling the cops, Elvis and Pike decide to take on the entire building. Violence ensues. Elvis and Pike kick serious butt.

Maybe I will get tired of this series, I don’t read the Spenser-for-hire books any more. But for now Elvis and company are still interesting enough that I will probably pick up the third book in the series if I see it.