Well, that was fun.
The World's Greatest Detective, Elvis Cole, is back on his home turf of Los Angeles after a sojourn in Louisiana in the last book. In Louisiana, he met Lucy Chenier, who, along with her young son, is still a part of his life.
In Los Angeles, high-powered defense attorney Jonathan Green is defending millionaire restauranteur Teddy Martin who is charged with his wife's brutal murder. Green hires the WGD to try to prove that an LAPD detective named Angela Rossi planted evidence - namely the murder weapon - to make Martin appear guilty.
Elvis' investigation doesn't go the way Green wants it to. In fact, he proves just the opposite. Angela Rossi seems clean and dedicated to her job and it looks like Martin is guilty.
Green thanks Elvis for his work and moves on. But soon it appears that some of the people interviewed by Elvis are unaccountably changing their stories to make it appear that Rossi is untrustworthy and Green's appearances on television news imply that the evidence was planted and that his client has been framed.
Meanwhile, Elvis is distracted because Lucy and her son are coming for a visit.
Adding yet another twist to the story, we learn that Elvis' partner, Joe Pike, has a history with Angela Rossi. She was a rookie cop just as he was leaving the force and apparently they had a relationship. Joe is fully convinced that Angela is a good cop, not dirty.
The supporting cast of characters here is interesting, from the upright little old lady who is the mother of the convict who holds part of the key to the mystery, to the slimy group of lawyers and investigators in the Green orbit. Angela and her partner, Dan Tomsic, are compelling as well, and one hopes to see them again in later Cole and Pike mysteries.
Lucy and her son, Ben, serve to soften the characters of Cole and Pike and give them a deeper dimension, but I could have done with a bit fewer sloppy moments of touching and significant glances between Lucy and Elvis. Their deep and abiding love seems to have come on a bit quickly and it's hard to take it completely seriously. We'll see how this relationship develops - if it does - in future books.
Crais, as always, writes with a light and bemused touch and he moves his plot along with breakneck speed toward a bang-up conclusion. These books are popcorn for the brain, but one needs a little popcorn in one's life.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars