I'm still working on the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association's top 100 mysteries of the 20th century, and this book came up. Good book. I gave it three out of five stars over at my LibraryThing account.

One thing I didn't dig about the book was the violence. It seemed the heroes were doing so much killing, it felt like an eighties Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. I don't know, it seems the older I get, the less stomach I have for violence. I guess as my anger abates with each passing year, I'm turned off more and more by violence and gratuitious gore.

Another part that didn't sit well with me was how Crais glamorized boozing. But that's got more to do with me than the novel because I recently quit imbibing, and I regret every drink/drunk I've ever had.

OK, now that the negative stuff is out of the way, one aspect I did like was the humor. Crais has an awesome writer's voice! And the older I get, the more I look for the voice than the plot or theme.

I also liked the Hollywood aspect; the book didn't feel too dated because of that, despite it being over 20 years old. And the protagonist's sidekick, Joe Pike, was pretty memorable. Definite shades of Robert B. Parker's Hawk, but not so much where it felt too derivative.

Glad I read this book, but I don't think I'll pick up any more by Crais. The violence and boozing were a real turnoff for me, and there are just too many books out there for me to read. But I did like how it was 200 pages -- perfect length for a novel. And around Christmas time, when I buy books for my more literate relatives, I'll stuff this paperback in some stockings.

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Comment by Johnny Ostentatious on May 25, 2008 at 9:00am
Twist my arm . . . I'll see if LAST DETECTIVE is at my local library.
Comment by Dana King on May 25, 2008 at 6:24am
Don't give up on Crais. His later Elvis Cole novels are still violent, but not as much as RAINCOAT, and I don't remember much glorious boozing in them. They become more character driven, especially the later ones, like THE LAST DETECTIVE, and the Joe Pike novel, THE WATCHMAN.

I agree about his use of humor. It's never done just for a cheap laugh, it always flows from the situation or character's personality. You've probably guessed by now that I'm in the tank for Crais; he's one of my handful of contemporary favorites, with Dennis Lehane and John Connelly and a few others.

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