Monday, July 07, 2008

L. A. REQUIEM by Robert Crais

The Book: Robert Crais, L. A. REQUIEM. Doubleday, 1999 (first edition). Inscribed by the author. Fine condition.
First read: 1999
Owned since: 2000 (this copy)

If I'd had any control over my time management last week, I'd have posted Saturday's entry on Friday and this entry on Saturday, because Robert Crais was at The Mystery Bookstore for a special event to discuss and sign his latest, CHASING DARKNESS.

By coincidence, I bought this book at the first event I ever attended at The Mystery Bookstore, an anniversary party at which I told the then-manager that I'd be glad to work for the store, and didn't need to get paid much as long as I got free books. The rest, as they say, is history...

It's not an exaggeration to say that Robert Crais is a rock star in the world of crime fiction, and this book is why (aside from the more obvious facts of his being absurdly handsome and so charming he should be illegal). Before L.A. REQUIEM, he had written seven highly entertaining, well-plotted, tongue-in-cheek mysteries featuring Elvis Cole, a.k.a. the World's Greatest Detective, and Cole's mysterious, silent partner, Joe Pike.

And then he wrote L.A. REQUIEM, which stands with the best American crime novels of all time. Joe Pike asks Elvis Cole for the first favor in the history of their friendship: help finding the missing daughter of his old friend, Frank Garcia. The daughter, Karen Garcia, is the lost love of Joe's life, and when she is found murdered, Joe cannot rest until he finds her killer.

What Joe and Elvis find, however, are old secrets, and betrayals, and hard decisions. By the end of L.A. REQUIEM, it's not a game for Elvis any more, and he understands that for Pike, it never was.

L.A. REQUIEM is also a fantastic portrait of modern Los Angeles and how it got that way; it was the book I always pressed on visitors to the store who were looking for "something about Los Angeles." I'll always keep this book to remind me of the time when it was my city, too.

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