My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A dame walks into a PI's office and gives him forty dollars and a promise of weekly payments to find out what kind of trouble her fiance, an LA cop, is in. And maybe get him out of it.
Elvis Cole is just the kind of quirky private investigator who can't say no to a beautiful woman and so he takes the case. It turns out that the fiance is in a lot more trouble than his client or Elvis could possibly have imagined, and the result is another fast-paced tale that just dares the reader to be able to put it down.
Within the confines of a typical violence-ridden Robert Crais plot, the author manages to tackle and address a number of controversial issues in Free Fall. He gives us a look at life in South Central LA with its gangs and, in some instances, an unspoken complicity between the gangs and the police. We see police brutality at its sickening worst and the cover-ups that are all too often the police's knee-jerk reaction to such brutality.
Dirty cops and ruthless gangs are at the center of the engaging tale that Crais weaves and he constantly surprises us with the unexpected twists and turns which his plot takes.
As Elvis begins his preliminary investigation, he realizes pretty quickly that this case may be a bit much for him to handle on his own and he calls in his big guns, aka Joe Pike, his partner and gun shop owner. From that point on, the body count rises precipitously as it tends to do whenever Pike is on the scene.
Somehow though, no matter how the dead bodies pile up, Cole and Pike always come out smelling like a veritable rose garden. Achieving this requires a lot of help from their contacts on the police force and in the DA's office, but those contacts know that these are two righteous dudes who are always on the side of the angels and so they give their help unstintingly.
Moreover, Cole and Pike seem to have this knack for running into like-minded people in their community, people who will help them achieve their high-minded aims. People such as the former marine drill sergeant, now martial arts teacher in South Central who is appalled by the violence wracking his community and itching to get into the fight to clean it up.
This is the fourth in Robert Crais' Elvis Cole series and it has been a fun read so far. This book was no exception. It worked perfectly well for light summer reading, in spite of the dark story that it tells. In the end, the angels prevail and justice - well, a very rough justice - is served.
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