Another fine installment in the Crais series.
In this, Elvis takes a job looking for Amy Breslyn, a missing woman who has been withdrawn ever since her son was killed overseas. She and her friend, Meryl, both work for a company that manufacturers explosive material for use in weapons, and a large sum of money has disappeared with Amy. Elvis’ first clue something is wrong is when he goes to investigate a home that where a writer friend lived and walks into a manhunt and a murder scene.
The plotting managed to take a couple of interesting turns, always a pleasure in an investigation story. Crais is particularly good at subverting reader expectations of genre tropes such as the ‘police unfairly targeting the P.I.’ I will say a couple of times plotting seemed extremely implausible–and I’m not referring to the canine’s perspective here– particularly K-9 Officer Scott’s decision to hold a promise to Elvis Cole despite serious repercussions, and ultimate actions on the part of Amy. They caused me mental ‘blips’ when reading, but for the most part, I’m willing to ignore those if the story is reasonably well told.
Crais has developed a sort of spin-off series from various characters, which gives him the opportunity to explore different perspectives and a different style of plotting. Elvis Cole stories seem to be more along the lines of traditional maverick detective, while Joe Pike seem to be more thriller-focused. This one is notable for bringing in K-9 Officer Scott and his K-9 partner, Maggie, who have their own book, Suspect. Although it’s billed as ‘Joe Pike #5,’ I didn’t find that it offered much insight into Joe, and in fact, don’t even remember a section from his character’s perspective. It does, however, have a couple of sections from the perspective of Jon Stone, freelance operative for Department of Defense, Homeland Security, and various other government agencies that want some plausible deniability.
The upshot is that narrative is largely from Elvis’ viewpoint, with occasional small pieces from Scott, Maggie the dog, Jon Stone, and Mr. Rollins, one of the villains. I could have lived without Maggie’s sections, mostly because I’ve been reading Eileen Wilk’s World of the Lupi series, and everyone seems to be cribbing from the same biologist when it comes to canines.
Overall, it remained a fast, entertaining read that held my attention. I’m a bit sad that I’ll be running out of Elvis Cole books soon.