Robert Crais, LA Requiem


Robert Crais, a West-Coast screenwriter on Hill Street Blues, Cagney & Lacey and Miami Vice became a published crime writer in the late 1980s. But it was with this superb novel, LA Requiem (1999) that Crais became a big-league player. It was a book that was a homage to the old detective story and yet moved it on to another level.

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Robert Crais made the transition from jobbing writer on the best police television series such as Hill Street Blues, Cagney & Lacey and Miami Vice to crime novelist gradually as he came to terms with the the different format. The early Cole and Pike books although notable in themselves, were tightly structured and compressed in terms of character and emotion. This changed with LA Requiem – a book that was a homage to the old detective story and yet moved it on to another level.

Plotline: Los Angeles is a city of perpetual reinvention. Inviting, with a promise of infinite hope, it can also be a glittering landscape of debilitating isolation. The city’s lost souls take comfort in its promise – the notion that tomorrow could be the day to start all over again, to transform oneself into someone else. Someone more powerful, more beautiful, more daring. This is the novel that created a new direction for both L.A. detective Elvis Cole and his partner Joe Pike. It explores the metamorphosis of a disenfranchised loner from victim to executioner, and deeply involves the reader in the lives of the men and women charged with guarding the City of Angels.

LA Requiem meant a lot to Crais, and so when we asked him who he would like to write an appreciation for our edition he had no hesitation in saying he wanted Tami Hoag. Tami started had started as a romantic novelist, then moved to suspense thrillers finding almost unparalleled success with a reel of best-sellers. LA Requiem was issued in an edition of 99 numbered and signed copies and 16 specially bound lettered copies. They all sold very quickly.

5.00 out of 5

4 reviews for Robert Crais, LA Requiem

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rating by The Denver Post on May 25, 2012 :

    Readers have waited a long time for Robert Crais’s new Elvis Cole novel; L. A. REQUIEM is well worth the wait. As the complicated plot unfolds, there are surprises and setbacks for all the characters, as well as many moving moments as the friendship between his two protagonists, ex-LAPD officer Joe Pike and private investigator Elvis Cole, is put to the ultimate test. Behind it all stands the city of Los Angeles, populated with the best and worst humanity has to offer, and served and protected by a police force that also mirrors the best and worst in human nature. Crais uses the novelist’s complete bag of tricks to tell a story that’s darker, denser, deeper and more satisfying than anything he’s written before.”
    -The Denver Post

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rating by The Literary Review on May 25, 2012 :

    “Crais creates plots as lucid as blueprints and strong enough to build cities on. Ear-pinning dialog and proper attention paid to characterization and relationships. No sunny romances on the agenda, but real feelings–love, friendship, and loathing–explored, and even celebrated. So good you’ll want to shout about it.” The Literary Review

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rating by Publishers Weekly on May 25, 2012 :

    “Number 8. The first one I read. As a stand alone story, its great. However, when I went back and read the series, I realized this book is far more then a quick ass piece of noir detective fiction. This novel brings Joe Pike, Elvis’ partner and protector, to the fore front. His ex girlfriend is murdered, and the leading suspect in none other then Pike himself, which is impossible, as Pike has an airtight alibi when the murder took place. Another great example of how Crais can take a near superhuman character, in this case Pike, and make him human, and actually create a viable world and a viable reason for Pike to be the way he is. A great novel, but be warned, the tone starts getting dark in this book, and only gets darker in the next two.

    In the ambitious new L. A. REQUIEM, Robert Crais has created a series entry that threatens to break through the genre barrier. (He has) crafted a full-bodied novel that explores such topics as honor and friendship and justice and love, that brings its protagonists to a new point of self-awareness and, not incidentally, that provides the kind of puzzle plot that sends mystery fans into paroxysms of joy.” The Los Angeles Times
    “Crais has expanded his narrative reach and broadened his characters’ horizons to produce a mature work that deserves to move him up a notch or two–into Parker or Connelly country. Crais seems to have stretched himself the way another Southern California writer–Ross Macdonald–always tried to do, to write a mystery novel with a solid literary base.”
    Publishers Weekly (Starred Review!)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rating by Tami Hoag on May 25, 2012 :

    Extract from the Appreciation by Tami Hoag

    “Crais follows in the large and elegant footsteps of Raymond Chandler, as many before him have tried. None filling the imprints so successfully, in my opinion. Like Chandler’s Marlowe, Cole is the coolest guy in town. Often irreverent, increasingly cynical, but never completely invulnerable. With his every experience he is still able to be disappointed in the failings of man, always secretly holding out the hope that people might in the end be better than they have to be. We see LA, land of opportunity, the twisted soul of America, through his eyes: Beautiful and ruthless, full of potential and empty promises of hope. A place where people come to lose their pasts and make their futures – Cole and his counterpart and partner, Joe Pike, among them. In a Crais novel, you don’t get Cole without Pike. They are two characters, but, in a metaphoric sense, one man. Hero and anti-hero. Cole is the conscious, civilised man. Pike is subconscious, instinct and reaction, the dark side, the buried past. He is a Zen paradox: the image of calm and control, the air around him charged with the electricity of the silent, violent rage contained within. Pike has always been the continuing mystery through Crais’s work. From our first introduction to him in The Monkey’s Raincoat through six subsequent adventures, he has remained an enigma. Readers have never known anything of the past that shaped the man. With LA Requiem we are given brief, brilliant, excruciating glimpses into Joe Pike’s world. A terrible childhood presented in prose so sharply real the cuts go straight to the deepest corners of the soul. We glimpse a near-past marred by tragedy and disappointment about which Pike never speaks. He voices no regrets, no excuses, simply moves forward – the direction of the arrows tattooed on his arms. The brilliantly twisting plot of a hunt for a serial killer is the framework for a book broader in scope and deeper in layers than anything Crais has written to date. A story about accountability and relationships, about love and its dark side. Once again, Elvis Cole invites the reader along on his latest case, but it is clear from the start this ride will take you to places neither you nor Elvis have ever been before. The pace will be fast, the turns hard, the going dangerous, but it is a trip well worth taking. A tour de force”.

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