L.A. Requiem.

Robert Crais.

Published by Doubleday, 1999
ISBN 10: 0385495838 / ISBN 13: 9780385495837
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Synopsis: Los Angeles is a city of perpetual reinvention. Inviting, with a promise of infinite hope, it can also be a glittering landscape of debilitating isolation. The city's lost souls take comfort in its promise--the notion that tomorrow could be the day to start all over again, to transform oneself into someone else. Someone more powerful, more beautiful, more daring.

At the core of L.A. Requiem is Joe Pike, a former cop with a past as dark and foreboding as his demeanor. His only stable relationship is with his partner of twelve years, Elvis Cole, a talented and quick-witted PI with skeletons in his own past.

When Pike's former lover is found dead at a reservoir in the Hollywood Hills, the duo is brought in by the woman's father to monitor the police investigation. But Pike's no stranger to the men and women in the LAPD's elite Robbery-Homicide Division, at least one of whom has been harboring a long-buried desire for revenge.

With a rich cast of characters reminiscent of Raymond Chandler's classic The Long Goodbye, L.A. Requiem is the apotheosis of Crais's writing career--a gripping novel that envelops Cole and Pike in an ever-tightening web of conspiracies, secrets, and mortal passions that threatens to destroy their friendship, and leave one, or both, dead.

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

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Title: L.A. Requiem.
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: 1999
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Near Fine
Edition: First printing.

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