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Thursday, September 12, 2013

SUNSET EXPRESS (Elvis Cole #6) (Audiobook) by Robert Crais



Book originally published in 1996.
Audiobook published in 2004
Read by William Roberts

Lots of the reviews here give this one 3 or 4 stars. Perhaps it was the format, perhaps it was the end of the school year rush for me and the welcome respite this book provided. Perhaps I just liked it better. Nevertheless, it was a good story, despite the fact that problems with Elvis and Joe's case are telegraphed from miles away.

Robert Crais
In Sunset Express a celebrity restaurateur's wife is killed and her body is dumped in a ravine near their very swanky neighborhood. The police detectives stop by the home of this restaurateur to inform him of his wife's demise and they find a bloody hammer in the bushes by the front door of their mansion. But, there is a problem: the detective (Angela Rossi) that found the weapon has been accused of planting evidence in the past and the defense lawyers seize on that fact. Elvis Cole is hired to look into the accusations against Rossi and see if they have any merit. But, as he investigates he finds more and more leads and soon enough he and his partner Joe Pike are up to their necks in trouble with Cole making smart-aleck comments all the way.

My 2004 audio version was read by William Roberts, a solid narrator who has done multiple tours as a reader for Robert B. Parker's Spenser novels and a narrator who understands how to deliver a wisecrack well. So, the listener is naturally drawn to make comparisons between Elvis Cole/Joe Pike/Lucy and Spenser/Hawk/Susan. Readers familiar with them both can see the analogies already. "Sunset Express" is probably the most Spenser-like of the Cole novels I've read or listened to so far, and that is fine by me - I like the action, I like the wisecracks and I like the process of how they do their investigation. Lots of relationship discussion (for Cole anyway, a little less than average for Spenser).

Crais goes out of his way in Sunset Express to give a little local L.A. flavor, including a street person who has a discussion with Cole about timing and how events unfold (since Cole has rousted him out of his perch under the local public pay phone). The homeless guy ends his conversation with the comment: "To possess great wisdom obliges one to share it. Enjoy."

I give this one 5 stars out of 5.
Reviewed on May 18, 2007.

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