Sunday, February 27, 2011

Stalking the Angel - Robert Crais

Jack Reacher - Kurt Wallander - Elvis Cole.

What do they have in common?  All are multi-novel crime fighters that I am now loyal to.  The best part, is they are all totally different characters!  Reacher is quiet but deadly.  Wallander is self-deprecating and clumsy.  Cole is witty and self confident.

Stalking the Angel is the second novel in the Elvis Cole series by Robert Crais.  It takes place in Los Angeles (I'm guessing they all do).  This book has even more 80's classic material in it, including Japanese feudal artifacts.  A successful hotelier shows up in Cole's office after a priceless book has been stolen from his house.  He reluctantly hires Cole after his (beautiful) secretary recommends him.

Elvis Cole then gets involved with the yakuza, a cult-like group of kids following around a japanese artist, as well as the LAPD.  I'm beginning to see a formula to these novels forming after reading just two, but I have to admit, I like it!

The book has great pace.  I finished it in two days.  80 pages the first night (I was tired, it was a Friday after a long work week) and the rest of the book Saturday night (11 pm to 1:30 am).  If anything, I would say the books are a little short (288 pages), but the length helps keep the pace up.  In a 500 page Reacher novel, there are usually about 50 slow pages in the middle somewhere, but I have yet to find that in an Elvis Cole novel!

Also, Joe Pike plays a slightly larger role in this novel, and he is great as ever.  Virtually doesn't speak, and takes care of business.  I'd like to see a short story where the two of these meet in a diner for lunch.  I've heard there are a few Joe Pike novels out there.  How does that work if he never talks?  Is it just all inner monologue?

I currently have the next 3 novels on order, so Lullaby Town is likely to be the next review.  My friend is trying to talk me into reading Neal Stephenson's Anathem.  I really like Stephenson, so you never know which book will be next!


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