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4.4 out of 5 stars61
4.4 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 8 July 2008
What can I say? This is another great Robert Crais book, he just gets better as time goes by. It is also not as dark of the last few Cole/Pike books have been and deals more with a new case than what has happened in their lives previously.

Here we see them investigating the death of a serial killer. The problem is that Cole had cleared him of one of the murders 3 years before. The LAPD are blaming him for the following deaths but he maintains his intial findings were correct.

As he looks for answers things just get more and more complicated and people who could help are being killed. Paperwork goes missing from police files and, after declaring that the killer is dead, the LAPD seem to be investigating something and not telling anyone, including those in the force.

We have returned to a more care-free Cole with references made to his quirky side - the Mickey Mouse phone and Pinnochio clock making welcome returns. We also see more of his sarcastic wit materialising.

Pike is Pike. The supreme figure of primtive manhood that is always there, not letting anything ruffle him but gazing impassively at events that go on around him.

I really wish that we could have more than one book a year. That 12 month wait between books is very difficult. Yet I never want him to descend to Patterson thinness and poor quality. This year I've even rationed myself to stop me reading the entire book in a day.

Buy it and see what you may have missed.
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on 6 August 2008
It's refreshing in these days of 400+ page crime thrillers, often padded out beyond their optimum length, to find a nice compact 273 page novel by a major writer.

But then again, Robert Crais is not your average crime novelist. He has the gift of setting a scene within a very short paragraph, and can easily sketch a memorable, living, breathing character in only a few lines. The upshot of this is that he crams an awful lot of plot into a relatively short space and this helps the action move at a cracking pace.

I'll not provide a synopsis - you can see one above, all I'll say is that while `Chasing Darkness' is by no means the best entry in the Cole and Pike series, it's still got plenty of good twists and the reader simply speeds through it. The prose is, as always, lean and spare and contains no excess wordage anywhere. This is the mark of all great American crime writers, and Crais is up there with the very, very best.

My one criticism is that it would have been nice to have had a bit more of Joe Pike in here - but then he did have a whole novel to himself last year with the excellent `The Watchman'. So `Chasing Darkness' is largely Elvis's show as he once again manages to out-think an entire police department and turn up vital information they've overlooked.

Although the murders he's investigating are harrowing and would be really dark in an other's hands, there's still plenty of light and shade. I particularly enjoyed the interplay between Cole and Carol Starkey, a homicide cop who moved from the bomb squad a while back after a long period of physical rehab (I would refer you to `Demolition Angel').

If you're a complete newcomer to Robert Crais, please be assured that you can read this without having caught the preceding books in the series. All you need to know is that Elvis is a private detective operating in LA. He has a wisecracking style (as do ALL private dicks! - but don't let that put you off!), a taciturn, hard-as-nails ex-marine sidekick named Joe Pike, and his office has a Mickey Mouse phone... oh, and the office tends to get trashed quite a lot!

All in all this was a very enjoyable read and is recommended to anyone who likes a good crime thriller
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on 28 July 2008
Every one of Robert Crais' novels since 1999's masterful L. A. Requiem (Elvis Cole Novels) has borne the burden of comparison to that book and often been found wanting. Chasing Darkness doesn't match or exceed LAR but - as with The Last Detective and The Two Minute Rule - when he is able to produce work of such high a standard, it seems almost churlish to keep harping on about past glories. Crais is one of the most exciting authors at work today, and we should really celebrate the way in which he has maintained such excellent focus over so many books (incredibly, this is his fifteenth) rather than dwelling on whatever flaws we can find.

For me, Crais is matched only by Michael Robotham for prose, which each book honing his written expression more and more finely, to the extent that desperately complex emotional states and ideas can be reduced to their purest essence in just a few words, which on occasion left my head spinning in amazement. There is no clutter in Chasing Darkness, the book is not one word longer than it needs to be, and for this the man's efficiency is to be admired: stripping away the flashbacks and multiple viewpoints that have characterised his later novels, Crais has made a welcome stylistic return to his earlier books with a smooth, focussed and sleekly-plotted thriller that easily ranks among his most propulsive and compelling. Central to this is the seamless fusion of the Cole and Starkey universes, with the wide supporting cast that Crais had established over the years (viva Eddie Ditko!) effortlessly fusing to form a coherent background for the first time (side note: is anyone else up for another Starkey-centric novel?).

Cole and Pike are old friends by now, and there is something immensely reassuring about slipping back into another story with them. There is, after 11 books with this central pair, a certain amount of peril that we can reasonably expect, but that doesn't stop Crais from exploring the darkness he promises up front in a realistic and occasionally unsettling way - the end of chapter 5, in particular, is a landmark in how Crais uses Cole to explore the darker aspects just below the surface. Also, for what to my mind is a first for Crais, there are questions deliberately left hanging at the end, the author purposely not reaching to conveniently explain everything away, which - in its incompleteness - actually makes the book more rounded and enjoyable. Congratulations, Mr. Crais, we're still hungry for more!
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on 21 November 2012
Elvis Cole is suffering from a crisis of conscience due to the fact that he provided evidence that lead to the release of a murder suspect, Lionel Byrd who may in fact have been a serial killer. Now Byrd is dead, presumably by his own hand, and evidence found at his apartment overwhelmingly points his guilt in multiple murders.

Was Elvis Cole really responsible for freeing a serial killer who has killed again? The family of the latest victim seems to think so, as do the cops, and Elvis is feeling more than a little doubt coupled with a twinge of guilt. He decides it's time to re-examine the evidence from the original case. His quest turns out to be more than a little difficult since much of the evidence seems to be missing and the chief witness is dead.

Once again, author Robert Crais has constructed a mystery that is far superior to most in this genre with unexpected twists and turns before unveiling the killer. The only complaint I have is that although the story leading up to the identity of the guilty party is one that keeps the reader involved and guessing the reason for the killer's actions is never really revealed. Why were these women chosen, what was the killer's motivation? Maybe I am one of those readers who must know all the whys and wherefores in order for my mind to accept that "justice has been served".

Perhaps it was Crais intent to leave the explanation of what drives the darkness in the souls of certain individuals for the reader to determine. In the last paragraph, his protagonist tells us "The darkness frightens me, but what it does to us frightens me even more. Maybe that is why I do what I do. I chase the darkness to make room for the light." I suppose that in our own way each of us is on a personal quest to do away with the bad things that often happen to us as we seek that elusive light that makes life worth living.
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Other reviewers have mentioned that Pike plays a minor role in this one, and that is a shame. But Elvis Cole is still a great character and here an old case comes back to haunt him. Evidence provided by Cole freed a man now discovered dead in the LA fires and it looks like he actually was guilty of a number of gruesome murders. And the Police and the relatives are gunning for Cole. At the same time, senior police officers seem to be hindering the investigation and keeping the truth from everyone.

Well I enjoyed it, good characters, witty dialogue and a twisting plot. The usual quality stuff from the author, maybe not up to the quality of his best works, but still entertaining.
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When Lionel Byrd is discovered with a bullet through his head and an album containing photographs of seven murdered girls a couple of years after he was accused and acquitted of murdering one of them the police think they've discovered a serial killer who couldn't live with his conscience. Elvis Cole helped with evidence when Byrd was acquitted so now he is being pursued by the police , but it's nowhere near that simple. It is an excellent book with many twists and turns and you don't find out what really happened until the end - one of the best mysteries I've read in a long time.
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on 11 September 2008
I ran out of Michael Connelly and Lee Child novels to read, which is how I came upon the Elvis Cole novels. I did not start at the beginning but once I read one book I was hooked. I ordered the entire series from Amazon and read them all in 3 months. I am an avid reader and have read everything available by my 3 favourite novelists. I am desperately waiting for the new books.

I would highly recommend the Harry Bosch and Jack Reacher series if you have nothing to read, you wont be disappointed.
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on 24 August 2008
I would not have dreamed of picking up this book ordinarily but it got reviewed on 5 Live whilst I happened to be tuned in and it included an interview with Robert Crais who came over as impressively humble and engaging. I was particularly impressed with his reluctance to consider moving his books into film as he believes it would break the 'imagination' contract he has created with his Cole/Pike readership.

Anyway, picked it up for a holiday read and thorougly enjoyed it. I don't read a lot of crime novels and so it's tough for me to compare but it's interesting reading here that some longstanding Crais fans feel that it doesn't quite hit the mark (proving that it can be far tougher to please your committed fans that it is to please newbies!!)

I found the storyline fast-paced and interesting but most of all - and critically - there is no wasted effort or prose within the pages. It is snappy and succinct. I will certainly be picking up LA Requiem very shortly and most likely some other Crais titles too.....

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on 15 July 2008
Robert Crais, the king of the wisecracking PI in the dodgy shirts is back, and while the humour is a little understated this time around, its impossible to get away from the sharp dialogue and carefully woven plot. The only downside is the lack of the troubled Joe Pike, Elvis Cole's enimagtic partner, who creates a great counter balance to the detective's one liners.He's not in it enough, but then, if you want more, get 'The watchman'.
The only real complaint about the book is it will take another 12 months until we can read the next one. Don't worry if this is your first Robert Crais, enjoy and make sure its not your last.
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on 10 November 2010
I've read most if not all of Crais's books and would say this is probably my favourite.
The ubiquitous serial-killer theme is dealt with here form a sightly original angle to say the least. Characters of depth you can easily identify with and a plot that keeps twisting and turning so that you never know quite where you are until it's over.
Great writing and a fast paced and clever investigative approach from our man Elvis, together with the great LA backdrop that makes you fell you are there. Reminiscent of the other great LA crime writer Michael Connelly, which is great praise in my eyes.
Fantastic read.
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