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4.7 out of 5 stars
Lullaby Town (Cole and Pike Book 3)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 13 December 2003
Elvis Cole, “the world’s greatest detective”, is hired by Hollywood director Peter Alan Nelson to find his ex-wife, Karen, and son, Toby. His search takes him to small-town Connecticut where, once he finds Karen and her son, finds himself in the middle of problems involving the Mafia.
Pithy comment follows dry-witted humour in another very enjoyable detective story with the irrepressible Elvis Cole in control. For the first two chapters I found that I was chuckling to myself at least once per page as Elvis met the client, self-centred director, Peter Alan Nelsen. Although the humour doesn’t continue at this pace, a light-hearted feel is maintained throughout the whole book. If you like your detective stories slightly on the humorous side with just a little bit of danger thrown in for spice, then this book (and all the Elvis Cole books) are just perfect.
Although this book is part of an ongoing series, it isn’t really necessary to read it in the order that it was written. While the main characters are the same (Elvis and Joe Pike), previous plots aren’t divulged.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 22 February 2002
It's not totally un-put-down-able, but it does keep the momentum going to the end. I knew there was going to be some sort of twist near the end, but I didn't guess it and it made sense - so many I've read lately have had very implausible endings that have left an unsatisfactory feeling.
The only grouse I've got really, is the characterisation of Peter Alan Nelson - he's certainly portrayed as the egotistical self-centred film director that he is, but he's way over the top and more like a cartoon character. That said, I'd still recommend it to others who enjoy the American private eye genre.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
If you have yet to begin the marvelous Elvis Cole series by Robert Crais, you've got a great treat ahead of you! Few series get off to a stronger start than Mr. Crais did with The Monkey's Raincoat, which won both the Anthony and Macavity awards for best novel while being nominated for the Edgar and Shamus awards as well. Stalking the Angel followed powerfully with classic noir style of the 1930s hard-boiled detective up against evil, but moderated with wise cracks. And the books just keep getting better from there in their characterizations, action, story-telling and excitement.
Elvis Cole is the star attraction, the co-owner of The Elvis Cole Detective Agency. He's now 38, ex-Army, served in Vietnam, ex-security guard, has two years of college, learned to be a detective by working under George Feider, a licensed P.I. for over 40 years, does martial arts as enthusiastically as most people do lunch, and is fearless but not foolish. He's out to right the wrongs of the world as much as he is to earn a living. Elvis has a thing for Disney characters (including a Pinocchio clock), kids, cats, scared clients and rapid fire repartee. He drives a Jamaica yellow 1966 Corvette Stingray convertible, and usually carries a .38 Special Dan Wesson.
His main foil is partner, Joe Pike, an ex-Marine, ex-cop who moves quietly and mysteriously wearing shades even in the dark . . . when he's not scaring the bad guys with the red arrows tattooed on his deltoids, which are usually bare in sleeveless shirts. Although he's got an office with Elvis, Pike spends all of his time at his gun shop when not routing the bad guys with martial arts while carrying and often using enough firepower to stop a tank. Pike rarely speaks . . . and never smiles. A standing gag is trying to catch Pike with a little twitch of his lips indicating he might possibly be amused. But he's there when you need him. He drives a red Jeep.
Robert Parker's Spenser is the obvious character parallel for Elvis, but Spenser and Elvis are different in some ways. Cole is more solitary, usually being alone when he's not working. Cole is very much L.A. and Spenser is ultra blue collar Boston. Cole is martial arts while Spenser boxes and jogs. What they have in common is that they're both out to do the right thing, with money being unimportant. They both love to crack wise as they take on the bad guys. The bad guys hate the "humor" in both cases, and can't do much about it. The dialogue written for each is intensely rich.
Mr. Crais has a special talent for making you care about his characters, especially the clients and their kids. You'll want to know what happens to them. With a lot of experience in script writing, Mr. Crais also knows how to set the scene physically and make you feel it. He may be out finest fiction writer about physical movement. He gives you all the clues to picture what's going on . . . but draws back from giving so much detail that you can't use your own imagination to make things better.
I grew up near Los Angeles, and get a special pleasure out of reading his descriptions of the differences in cities, neighborhoods, and buildings in the area. He gets in right . . . and in detail. It's a nice touch!
On to Lullaby Town, the third book in the series. The title refers to the peddler who sells dreams in Lullaby Town. In our case, it's Hollywood.
The peddler in the story is Peter Alan Nelson, a motion picture director dubbed as the King of Adventure by Time magazine (think Steven Spielberg and George Lucas wrapped up into one hyper personality), which also called him "arrogant, brilliant, demanding." In real life, he has the maturity of a male 2 year old, and has worse habits. Elvis is hired to find Nelson's ex-wife and child so Nelson can form a relationship with his son, whom he's ignored virtually from birth. The studio doesn't want Nelson distracted by all this yearning for his son because he's due to start a new movie in three weeks.
The search turns up a problem that proves to be very testing for Elvis and Joe Pike.
The story develops rapidly in small segments from quite different perspectives, usually in chapters of 4-5 pages in length, like a scene in a drama. Each change adds to a mosaic portrait of the characters and the overall situation. So the story moves fast . . . but without leaving you behind. There is enough material in this book to make two novels.
Pay particular attention to the evolution of characters of Karen Lloyd and Peter Alan Nelson. Mr. Crais does a nice job of helping you realize many sides of their characters over a period of about 10 years. That's one quality that makes this book compelling reading.
After you finish the book, you might find it helpful to think about the potential downside of possessing all that you dream of having.
Can you select better dreams to turn into reality?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
If you have yet to begin the marvelous Elvis Cole series by Robert Crais, you've got a great treat ahead of you! Few series get off to a stronger start than Mr. Crais did with The Monkey's Raincoat, which won both the Anthony and Macavity awards for best novel while being nominated for the Edgar and Shamus awards as well. Stalking the Angel followed powerfully with classic noir style of the 1930s hard-boiled detective up against evil, but moderated with wise cracks. And the books just keep getting better from there in their characterizations, action, story-telling and excitement.
Elvis Cole is the star attraction, the co-owner of The Elvis Cole Detective Agency. He's now 38, ex-Army, served in Vietnam, ex-security guard, has two years of college, learned to be a detective by working under George Feider, a licensed P.I. for over 40 years, does martial arts as enthusiastically as most people do lunch, and is fearless but not foolish. He's out to right the wrongs of the world as much as he is to earn a living. Elvis has a thing for Disney characters (including a Pinocchio clock), kids, cats, scared clients and rapid fire repartee. He drives a Jamaica yellow 1966 Corvette Stingray convertible, and usually carries a .38 Special Dan Wesson.
His main foil is partner, Joe Pike, an ex-Marine, ex-cop who moves quietly and mysteriously wearing shades even in the dark . . . when he's not scaring the bad guys with the red arrows tattooed on his deltoids, which are usually bare in sleeveless shirts. Although he's got an office with Elvis, Pike spends all of his time at his gun shop when not routing the bad guys with martial arts while carrying and often using enough firepower to stop a tank. Pike rarely speaks . . . and never smiles. A standing gag is trying to catch Pike with a little twitch of his lips indicating he might possibly be amused. But he's there when you need him. He drives a red Jeep.
Robert Parker's Spenser is the obvious character parallel for Elvis, but Spenser and Elvis are different in some ways. Cole is more solitary, usually being alone when he's not working. Cole is very much L.A. and Spenser is ultra blue collar Boston. Cole is martial arts while Spenser boxes and jogs. What they have in common is that they're both out to do the right thing, with money being unimportant. They both love to crack wise as they take on the bad guys. The bad guys hate the "humor" in both cases, and can't do much about it. The dialogue written for each is intensely rich.
Mr. Crais has a special talent for making you care about his characters, especially the clients and their kids. You'll want to know what happens to them. With a lot of experience in script writing, Mr. Crais also knows how to set the scene physically and make you feel it. He may be out finest fiction writer about physical movement. He gives you all the clues to picture what's going on . . . but draws back from giving so much detail that you can't use your own imagination to make things better.
I grew up near Los Angeles, and get a special pleasure out of reading his descriptions of the differences in cities, neighborhoods, and buildings in the area. He gets in right . . . and in detail. It's a nice touch!
On to Lullaby Town, the third book in the series. The title refers to the peddler who sells dreams in Lullaby Town. In our case, it's Hollywood.
The peddler in the story is Peter Alan Nelson, a motion picture director dubbed as the King of Adventure by Time magazine (think Steven Spielberg and George Lucas wrapped up into one hyper personality), which also called him "arrogant, brilliant, demanding." In real life, he has the maturity of a male 2 year old, and has worse habits. Elvis is hired to find Nelson's ex-wife and child so Nelson can form a relationship with his son, whom he's ignored virtually from birth. The studio doesn't want Nelson distracted by all this yearning for his son because he's due to start a new movie in three weeks.
The search turns up a problem that proves to be very testing for Elvis and Joe Pike.
The story develops rapidly in small segments from quite different perspectives, usually in chapters of 4-5 pages in length, like a scene in a drama. Each change adds to a mosaic portrait of the characters and the overall situation. So the story moves fast . . . but without leaving you behind. There is enough material in this book to make two novels.
Pay particular attention to the evolution of characters of Karen Lloyd and Peter Alan Nelson. Mr. Crais does a nice job of helping you realize many sides of their characters over a period of about 10 years. That's one quality that makes this book compelling reading.
After you finish the book, you might find it helpful to think about the potential downside of possessing all that you dream of having.
Can you select better dreams to turn into reality?
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on 8 March 2013
Synopsis/blurb.......
Peter Alan Nelsen is a super successful movie director who is used to getting what he wants. And what he wants is to find the wife and infant child he dumped on the road to fame. It's the kind of case that Cole could handle in his sleep, except that when Cole actually finds Nelsen's ex wife, everything takes on nightmarish proportions a nightmare which involves Cole with a nasty New York mob family and a psychokiller who is the son of the godfather. When the unpredictable Nelsen charges in, an explosive situation blows sky high.
This is the 3rd Elvis Cole book in the series. I read or possibly re-read the first 2 last month, memory being not quite what it used to be. The laid-back LA private investigator and his erstwhile side-kick Joe Pike team up again when hired to track down a Hollywood hotshot's long divorced wife and son.
Cole achieves this fairly effortlessly, but when threatened and beaten after confronting the ex-wife, digs deeper. Kathy, the ex and now a successful businesswoman and bank manager is being coerced by the mob to launder cash through her bank. Cole, always a sympathetic ear for a damsel in distress holds off from reporting back to his employer, endeavouring to try and extricate Kathy from Charlie DeLuca clutches first. The problem is DeLuca instead of being a reasonable businessman, albeit operating outside the law is also the psychopathic son of a crime lord.
Cole's efforts at negotiation prove ultimately fruitless and the saga unfolds with an ever-increasing number of criminal lowlifes, minor plot off-shoots and escalating violence.
At about 230 pages long, and without taxing my brain too much, Lullaby Town was a quick, fast-paced enjoyable read. I'll be trying to locate the 4th instalment buried somewhere in the depths of my disorganised attic library - Free Fall - to read next month.
4 from 5
Bought new probably 20-odd years ago (originally published in 1992) from who knows where.
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If you have yet to begin the marvelous Elvis Cole series by Robert Crais, you've got a great treat ahead of you! Few series get off to a stronger start than Mr. Crais did with The Monkey's Raincoat, which won both the Anthony and Macavity awards for best novel while being nominated for the Edgar and Shamus awards as well. Stalking the Angel followed powerfully with classic noir style of the 1930s hard-boiled detective up against evil, but moderated with wise cracks. And the books just keep getting better from there in their characterizations, action, story-telling and excitement.
Elvis Cole is the star attraction, the co-owner of The Elvis Cole Detective Agency. He's now 38, ex-Army, served in Vietnam, ex-security guard, has two years of college, learned to be a detective by working under George Feider, a licensed P.I. for over 40 years, does martial arts as enthusiastically as most people do lunch, and is fearless but not foolish. He's out to right the wrongs of the world as much as he is to earn a living. Elvis has a thing for Disney characters (including a Pinocchio clock), kids, cats, scared clients and rapid fire repartee. He drives a Jamaica yellow 1966 Corvette Stingray convertible, and usually carries a .38 Special Dan Wesson.
His main foil is partner, Joe Pike, an ex-Marine, ex-cop who moves quietly and mysteriously wearing shades even in the dark . . . when he's not scaring the bad guys with the red arrows tattooed on his deltoids, which are usually bare in sleeveless shirts. Although he's got an office with Elvis, Pike spends all of his time at his gun shop when not routing the bad guys with martial arts while carrying and often using enough firepower to stop a tank. Pike rarely speaks . . . and never smiles. A standing gag is trying to catch Pike with a little twitch of his lips indicating he might possibly be amused. But he's there when you need him. He drives a red Jeep.
Robert Parker's Spenser is the obvious character parallel for Elvis, but Spenser and Elvis are different in some ways. Cole is more solitary, usually being alone when he's not working. Cole is very much L.A. and Spenser is ultra blue collar Boston. Cole is martial arts while Spenser boxes and jogs. What they have in common is that they're both out to do the right thing, with money being unimportant. They both love to crack wise as they take on the bad guys. The bad guys hate the "humor" in both cases, and can't do much about it. The dialogue written for each is intensely rich.
Mr. Crais has a special talent for making you care about his characters, especially the clients and their kids. You'll want to know what happens to them. With a lot of experience in script writing, Mr. Crais also knows how to set the scene physically and make you feel it. He may be out finest fiction writer about physical movement. He gives you all the clues to picture what's going on . . . but draws back from giving so much detail that you can't use your own imagination to make things better.
I grew up near Los Angeles, and get a special pleasure out of reading his descriptions of the differences in cities, neighborhoods, and buildings in the area. He gets in right . . . and in detail. It's a nice touch!
On to Lullaby Town, the third book in the series. The title refers to the peddler who sells dreams in Lullaby Town. In our case, it's Hollywood.
The peddler in the story is Peter Alan Nelson, a motion picture director dubbed as the King of Adventure by Time magazine (think Steven Spielberg and George Lucas wrapped up into one hyper personality), which also called him "arrogant, brilliant, demanding." In real life, he has the maturity of a male 2 year old, and has worse habits. Elvis is hired to find Nelson's ex-wife and child so Nelson can form a relationship with his son, whom he's ignored virtually from birth. The studio doesn't want Nelson distracted by all this yearning for his son because he's due to start a new movie in three weeks.
Elvis has no trouble finding the ex and the son. They've left a trail a mile wide across the country to Connecticut where Nelson's mousy young wife has turned herself into a successful banker who doesn't want to hear anything from Nelson. At this point, Elvis's job would amount to bringing them all together gently . . . except that the ex, who now calls herself Karen Lloyd, has a little problem with the biggest crime family in the East. Elvis and Joe set out to eliminate the little problem and are tested to the limits of their talents.
The story develops rapidly in small segments from quite different perspectives, usually in chapters of 4-5 pages in length, like a scene in a drama. Each change adds to a mosaic portrait of the characters and the overall situation. So the story moves fast . . . but without leaving you behind. There is enough material in this book to make two novels.
Pay particular attention to the evolution of characters of Karen Lloyd and Peter Alan Nelson. Mr. Crais does a nice job of helping you realize many sides of their characters over a period of about 10 years. That's one quality that makes this book compelling reading.
After you finish the book, you might find it helpful to think about the potential downside of possessing all that you dream of having.
Can you select better dreams to turn into reality?
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PI Elvis Cole’s latest client is Peter Alan Nelson, the latest “it” director in Hollywood. People want just a moment of his time in hopes that it will make their career. However, Elvis is just interested in doing this job for Peter, treating him like any regular client.

It seems that Peter was married and divorced over a decade ago. It didn’t last too long, but it lasted long enough to produce a son. Suddenly, Peter wants to get to know his child. Elvis doesn’t think the job will be too hard, although the trail is a little colder than he expects at first. However, he never imagines the world of trouble he will find at the end of his search.

I read the first two books in this series years ago, and then reread them last year. Once again, I almost didn’t move on after the second book in the series, but that would have been a mistake. While not as light as the cozies I normally love, this was still lighter than the last book by far. The plot was great and got more suspenseful as it went along. The characters were interesting as well.

Of course, most of my complaints with the series are still there. The language is just horrible. We get it, the characters swear. We’d still get it if you took out half those words. And Elvis’s partner Joe Pike is more of a caricature than a full blown character even after three books.

But still, I enjoyed this book. I’m definitely going to move on to book four quickly.
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This is the third book in the Elvis Cole series and in my view this was where it all really came together. The first two books were good and deserving of a building readership, but in this one Robert Crais gets the humour, the characters and the action balanced perfectly, showing total comfort in his creation.
The title is a reference to a peddler who sells dreams, and in this book it is the Hollywood dream. Cole is hired by a top film director who is immature, demanding and used to getting everything he wants. He wants Cole to locate the wife he divorced before his fame as he wants to get back into the life of the child they had, but he has ignored ever since.
When Cole locates the wife he finds she is in all sorts of trouble with the last sort of guys you mess with, but of course both Cole and Pike wade in and risk ending up 'sleeping with the fish'....
It has pace and a plot that keeps developing and with a rounded and interesting set of characters from the retired cop to the director who needs to grow up and of course our heroes Cole and Pike.
Perhaps there is a message about having dreams and getting what you wish for, but it is also about people being flawed and having to face up to themselves before they can face up to anyone else. That may make it sound a little deep, but it is only as deep as you want to make it, otherwise it is an excellent and fast moving thriller.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
If you have yet to begin the marvelous Elvis Cole series by Robert Crais, you've got a great treat ahead of you! Few series get off to a stronger start than Mr. Crais did with The Monkey's Raincoat, which won both the Anthony and Macavity awards for best novel while being nominated for the Edgar and Shamus awards as well. Stalking the Angel followed powerfully with classic noir style of the 1930s hard-boiled detective up against evil, but moderated with wise cracks. And the books just keep getting better from there in their characterizations, action, story-telling and excitement.
Elvis Cole is the star attraction, the co-owner of The Elvis Cole Detective Agency. He's now 38, ex-Army, served in Vietnam, ex-security guard, has two years of college, learned to be a detective by working under George Feider, a licensed P.I. for over 40 years, does martial arts as enthusiastically as most people do lunch, and is fearless but not foolish. He's out to right the wrongs of the world as much as he is to earn a living. Elvis has a thing for Disney characters (including a Pinocchio clock), kids, cats, scared clients and rapid fire repartee. He drives a Jamaica yellow 1966 Corvette Stingray convertible, and usually carries a .38 Special Dan Wesson.
His main foil is partner, Joe Pike, an ex-Marine, ex-cop who moves quietly and mysteriously wearing shades even in the dark . . . when he's not scaring the bad guys with the red arrows tattooed on his deltoids, which are usually bare in sleeveless shirts. Although he's got an office with Elvis, Pike spends all of his time at his gun shop when not routing the bad guys with martial arts while carrying and often using enough firepower to stop a tank. Pike rarely speaks . . . and never smiles. A standing gag is trying to catch Pike with a little twitch of his lips indicating he might possibly be amused. But he's there when you need him. He drives a red Jeep.
Robert Parker's Spenser is the obvious character parallel for Elvis, but Spenser and Elvis are different in some ways. Cole is more solitary, usually being alone when he's not working. Cole is very much L.A. and Spenser is ultra blue collar Boston. Cole is martial arts while Spenser boxes and jogs. What they have in common is that they're both out to do the right thing, with money being unimportant. They both love to crack wise as they take on the bad guys. The bad guys hate the "humor" in both cases, and can't do much about it. The dialogue written for each is intensely rich.
Mr. Crais has a special talent for making you care about his characters, especially the clients and their kids. You'll want to know what happens to them. With a lot of experience in script writing, Mr. Crais also knows how to set the scene physically and make you feel it. He may be out finest fiction writer about physical movement. He gives you all the clues to picture what's going on . . . but draws back from giving so much detail that you can't use your own imagination to make things better.
I grew up near Los Angeles, and get a special pleasure out of reading his descriptions of the differences in cities, neighborhoods, and buildings in the area. He gets in right . . . and in detail. It's a nice touch!
On to Lullaby Town, the third book in the series. The title refers to the peddler who sells dreams in Lullaby Town. In our case, it's Hollywood.
The peddler in the story is Peter Alan Nelson, a motion picture director dubbed as the King of Adventure by Time magazine (think Steven Spielberg and George Lucas wrapped up into one hyper personality), which also called him "arrogant, brilliant, demanding." In real life, he has the maturity of a male 2 year old, and has worse habits. Elvis is hired to find Nelson's ex-wife and child so Nelson can form a relationship with his son, whom he's ignored virtually from birth. The studio doesn't want Nelson distracted by all this yearning for his son because he's due to start a new movie in three weeks.
The search turns up a problem that proves to be very testing for Elvis and Joe Pike.
The story develops rapidly in small segments from quite different perspectives, usually in chapters of 4-5 pages in length, like a scene in a drama. Each change adds to a mosaic portrait of the characters and the overall situation. So the story moves fast . . . but without leaving you behind. There is enough material in this book to make two novels.
Pay particular attention to the evolution of characters of Karen Lloyd and Peter Alan Nelson. Mr. Crais does a nice job of helping you realize many sides of their characters over a period of about 10 years. That's one quality that makes this book compelling reading.
After you finish the book, you might find it helpful to think about the potential downside of possessing all that you dream of having.
Can you select better dreams to turn into reality?
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VINE VOICEon 28 July 2012
Now we have had to learn to live without Spenser and Hawk, Elvis Cole and Joe Pike are substantial compensation. In Lullaby Town they are bouncing between a (over-caricatured even by Hollywood standards) film producer and a grisly Mafia family.

The chases, punch-ups and shoot-outs are frequent, the pace unrelenting. The one-liners, always an entertaining Crais trademark, are well up to standard.

Yet at the heart of the book there is a sympathetic and far from superficial portrait of a mother trying to make amends for errors earlier in her life.

Lullaby Town reads easily but leaves a thoughtful aftertaste.
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