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The Last Detective [Hardcover]

Robert Crais
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Book Description

20 Feb 2003

Elvis Cole is once again coming to terms with his life as a PI on the streets of LA. He loves his girlfriend, Lucy Chenier, but his constant exposure to the Californian underclasses has stretched their relationship to the limit - especially when Cole's job brings danger too close to her beloved son. The young boy, Ben, is rapidly becoming the light in both their lives.

Then one sunny afternoon, the demons from Elvis's past finally come to visit. Ben is snatched from Cole's secluded home. The kidnappers call. They don't want money. They only want retribution. But who from his past is capable of such a crime? The only clue is that the kidnappers mention the words 'five-two'. Five-two was his unit designation in Vietnam - a life he has avoided thinking about for over twenty years.

Now Elvis must embark on a journey into his own past to try to protect his future. For it seems that this kidnapper is not only someone who knows him, but someone who owes him.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; First UK edition edition (20 Feb 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752851985
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752851983
  • Product Dimensions: 3.4 x 15.6 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,230,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Crais is the author of the bestselling Cole & Pike novels. A native of Louisiana, Crais moved to Hollywood in the late 70s where he began a successful career in television, writing scripts for such major series as Cagney & Lacey, Miami Vice and Hill Street Blues. In the mid 80s, following his success with the TV buddy genre, Crais created a series of crime novels based around the characters Cole & Pike. In addition, Crais has also written several bestselling standalone thrillers. Robert Crais lives in LA with his wife and family.

Here are the Elvis Cole novels in series order:

The Monkey's Raincoat
Stalking the Angel
Lullaby Town
Free Fall
Voodoo River
Sunset Express
Indigo Slam
L. A. Requiem
The Last Detective
The Forgotten Man
The Watchman
Chasing Darkness

Stand-alone novels:

Demolition Angel
The Two Minute Rule
The First Rule

Product Description

Amazon Review

For The Last Detective Robert Crais fields something of a crime busting dream team; his regular duo, private detective Elvis Cole and enigmatic partner Joe Pike, hook up with Carol Starkey, the feisty, chain-smoking heroine of Demolition Angel in a tautly plotted kidnapping caper.

Crais has always spiced his elaborate LA procedurals with the gamier elements from action thrillers and this book, which pits his gumshoes against a gang of vicious mercenaries as well as the intractable red tape of policing law, is no exception. The drama kicks off when Ben Chenier, Cole's girlfriend Lucy's ten-year-old son, is abducted with military precision from outside Elvis' own home. Stunned by the kidnappers' audacity, Cole receives an even bigger shock when the gang phone. There is no ransom demand; instead the caller reminds him of a horrific incident from his past. As a Ranger in Vietnam, Cole's unit, number Five-Two, had come under heavy attack. Only he had survived the assault. Now more than 20 years later, the kidnappers accuse Cole of murdering his colleagues and maintain that Ben has been taken in retribution. Could the snatcher be a bitter relative with a grudge or perhaps, a disgruntled old army buddy out for vengeance?

Elvis and Pike, along with renegade LAPD cop Carole Starkey, start to hunt for Ben. Meticulously tracking leads and drawing on their military know how they start to build up a profile of their prey. While they make headway Cole is still left feeling "as if each piece of the picture was from a different puzzle and no matter how hard" he tries "to arrange them it made no sense". Their efforts are further hampered by Ben's father, Richard. Richard has always despised Cole and accompanied by Myers, his personal investigator, he begins stirring up trouble for Elvis with Lucy and with the authorities. But when Cole's researches start paying off, things in this page-turner become far, far murkier. --Travis Elborough


The author of LA Requiem, Hostage, Demolition Angel and other big-selling novels has produced a new one which sounds hugely saleable. I have only had a chance to read the opening 50 pages or so, which tell how private eye Elvis Cole is looking after his girlfriend's son Ben when he is kidnapped under Elvis's nose from his house outside LA. The kidnapper telephones saying, "I've got the boy. This is payback." Also mentioned is 'Five-two', which was his unit's designation in Vietnam. That is another part of his life which he has not thought of for 20 years, but it is obvious that retribution is what the kidnappers are after, not money, and he's going to have to look back into his past if he is to secure the future. His latest thriller looks like another big bestseller for this American author, and has an explosive beginning.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Detective Story 6 Mar 2003
I agree with the previous reviewer that this was a long anticipated book.
After the ending of L.A. Requiem there was a fear that Crais was retiring Elvis and Joe. However his fans are rewarded with another superbly crafted work.
The character development continues and you learn more about Cole and discover that Pike may no longer be the superman he seemed to be. Crais has also woven in his heroine, Starkey, from Demolition Angel to add to the pot.
For those fans of Michael Connelly we also get a homage to his Heironymous Bosch character. Thankfully this is far better done than the high tech thrillers where they just say "it was just like something from a Brown/Clancy/Bond book". Unless you know the character you'll miss the link.
The story zips along and you won't want to stop reading. The story alternates between the viewpoint of Cole, Pike and Ben. The plot is believeable and never relents. You hate the breakdown of his relationship with the boy's mother and hope that it will survive.
Like Connelly he breathes life into an L.A. that every knows, even if they've never been there. However just one word of warning. There are 7 previous Cole/Pike stories and not 4. I recommend that you read them all before starting this.
For those who read Crais for the first time you don't know what you've missed. You WILL want to read more.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Cole novel yet.... 28 Feb 2003
As much as I love the Elvis Cole books, they've always felt a little 'pulpy' - crime, crime-solving, go home. Then came 'L.A. Requiem', turning the relationship between Cole and his partner Joe Pike into something more than just a buddy-buddy situation - a very real friendship. We also got a look in at the before- unknown past of Pike. Now arrives 'The Last Detective' and we finally get to see into Cole's life. How he grew to become the man he is. This really helps to turn Cole into the three-dimensional character he had always destined to be. This book is not only the best in the Cole series, but also the most mature. Cole still has his witty comback lines and Pike is still, well Pike, but they feel more human, adding to the dangerous situations they find themselves in by making them finally seem fallible. A masterpiece and a must read for any Elvis Cole fan.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable! 27 Oct 2003
Having only read one Robert Crais book before this and found this lurking at the back of my bookcase, I decided to give it ago. What have I been missing out on?
The book does not let up on the pace.
The last detective being Elvis Cole along with his trusty not very talkative sidekick Joe Pike become involved in a race against time battle with three mercenaries to rescue Elvis's girlfriends son Ben who has been kidnapped by them.
What follows is the fight to find the men and rescue Ben.
Expect some twists and to be kept on the edge of seat reading.
If you enjoy it as much as me you'll finish it in a day or two and become an avid fan of Robert Crais!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a find Robert Crais is! 3 Sep 2008
Lee Child, step away from the keyboard. Wow - what a brilliant find Robert Crais is. Just as I was getting all antsy about a) there being so long to wait for the next Jack Reacher novel and b)the fact that the last one was so, well, not quite up to scratch - it read so much like it was rattled off at the publisher's gunpoint - I find myself blown away by another stunning hero. Elvis Cole is a glorious creation and though some might argue he's too much the identikit good guy (troubled past, heroics in the marines,strong moral code but not afraid to do what a guy's gotta do, FAB house perched atop a canyon and so on) I come to these books as a female, so he's precisely what I want my heroes to be. This (my second Cole and Pike novel - the first was the new one - also excellent) was about the abduction of his girlfriend's son, and it pushed all the right buttons in terms of narrative tension and pace. Indeed, I think I probably read it in real time - i.e. the scant time between the abduction and the denouement. Gripping stuff. So, Mr Crais, if you read your reviews (and I'm a novelist myself so I don't doubt you do) please accept five stars and my grateful thanks. To find a great new author is a joy - to find one with a huge backlist is just about nirvana... Can some kind person please now tell me the proper order in which to read them all? Would be most grateful. You can do so via my profile page. Ta!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not sure I understand the criticism 20 July 2004
By JayPee
Having come across Robert Crais quite late, I've had a fast track through all of the Elvis Cole novels, and yes, he does abandon some of the tried and trusted formula - but surely one would expect that of any author as he seeks to develop his characters and avoid becoming too comfortable and predictable.
There are some probelms with the book - I don't think that the dream sequences Elvis has work well, and there are times when sticking to the first person narrative clearly becomes a problem as he seeks to tell the story from multiple angles.
However, this is a very fast paced story, with enough twists and different angles to have kept me in suspense until very late on, and I for one look forward to the next installment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Scully Bloke VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First of all the facts. Its the 9th Elvis Cole Novel. That means it will mean more to you the reader if you have read some or all of the previous books. So my advice is always to read the Elvis Cole books in Sequence.

OK, its the best crime series that you can read. Thats Fact also.

This book continues where the fabulous LA Requiem finishes, with Cole and Lucys relationship in full focus, due mainly to the the danger that seems to live in Coles World. Anything or anyone that joins it also endures danger, and for Lucy (Elvis's Love), it may be too much to bear, especially when her son is kidnapped.

If you have read the previous Cole novels then I agree that you may have sensed the plot this time, never the less, the further depth of character development for Cole and Pike is brillant, and the build up to the finalle is Crais at his very best.

I begin to think that Elvis can only find real love in his eco system, with someone that cab share his life, rather than someone who tries to change it or cannot accept it.........

Again and excelent novel from the master of Crime. The best series that you can read. Loved it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good Book, Great price, excellent service, what more could you want ! ash
Published 17 days ago by Mr. A. J. Gooding
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
another good read
Published 2 months ago by bag boy
5.0 out of 5 stars riveting stuff
A great story line worth 5 stars
Elvis Cole is the worlds greatest detective.
Joe Pike a great sidekick
Robert Crais a great author
I recommend any of his Cole... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Clive
4.0 out of 5 stars The Rainbow Follows The Storm
The Last Detective starts off with an intriguing, involving prologue concerning Joe Pike, the most interesting character in the series (which is probably why L. Read more
Published 7 months ago by George Kelly
4.0 out of 5 stars exciting from start to finish
Action packed from start to finish with a good story line. Love the characters. Hard to put down once you've started it.
Published 8 months ago by Sarah W.
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
First bought a Robert Crais book from a remainder shop and have been busy reading his back catalogue ever since. Would recommend to anyone who likes a good detective novel. Read more
Published 13 months ago by audrey shaw
5.0 out of 5 stars Another spectacular read from Robert Crais
A real page turner. I have read quite a few Robert Crais books, I love his style of writing, he has you hooked into the story from page 1. Read more
Published 18 months ago by emma hopley
5.0 out of 5 stars great author
I bought this for a present and the person loves this author and really enjoyed the story, well worth the money spent
Published 19 months ago by Haffenden
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last Detective
Loved this book, couldn't put it down. It was recommended to me by my Sister in Law, she has brought all the Robert Crais novels because of it.
Published 22 months ago by Mo
5.0 out of 5 stars Cole & Pike
It's a Cole and Pike novel which is why you buy them, they do what they say on the tin so to speak, brilliant book.
Published on 6 Aug 2012 by Timj
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