July 4, 2008
REVIEW: CHASING DARKNESS by Robert Crais
If you've never read any of Crais's Elvis Cole books, I sincerely pity you. If you are already a fan, go get this book right now. Put simply, Crais is writing at the top of his game: Evocative prose, 3D characters, tight plot.
I dislike writing synopses; there's a fine line between a simple description of the plot and just giving away the story. To put it in a nutshell, Elvis must retrace a murder investigation he handled three years earlier. Elvis's work resulted in freeing a man who apparently went on to commit two more brutal murders. His confidence rattled, choking on guilt, Elvis does what he does better than anyone: Detect. And therein lies the story. Collecting pieces of the puzzle is almost more fun than solving the puzzle, and in CHASING DARKNESS Elvis Cole gives a master class in the fine art, as well as the science, of being a private detective.
Cole's friend and partner, Joe Pike, lends a hand as needed. Pike is one of those unusual characters where less is more, and Crais is well aware of that. If Pike even speaks a single line of dialogue it is to say more than any other character at hand. Just his physical presence carries an impact and alters the dynamics of any scene.
If you've not read Crais before, I don't recommend beginning with this book. Yes, the story does stand entirely on its own, but the fact is that as good as the characterization is here it will be all the richer if you go back and begin with earlier books in the series. And a book this good should certainly be given all the advantages.