Title: L A Requiem
Author: Robert Crais
Copyright 1999 Robert Crais
First of all, can someone please explain why they sell HUGE books at airports as the special ‘flight size’ copies. Ri dic u lous!! I am fairly confident that most people who buy a book in the departure lounge will be getting on a plane and unless they are the pilot I’m guessing they will be subject to the minuscule weight allowances and more importantly bag size of the modern airline. If these so called ‘flight size’ books are to be stowed in the overhead lockers no wonder the airline crew need to warn us of the risks to health when retrieving them. This book alone would cause death or serious injury; I know this as I have tried to read it in bed and have no chance of holding aloft without some form of mechanic assistance. Surprisingly no such aids are to hand in my boudoir, or on the beach, my two favourite places to read. Anyway as they say I digress.
Blurb: Extract: A reckoning has come to the City of Angels…Karen Garcia is missing and her father doesn’t trust the cops – he wants someone he knows on the case. So he enlists the help of Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. It seems that Karen is the latest victim of a distinctive serial killer and the police are determined to pin her death, and four others, on the witness who found her body. Cole doesn’t believe the man has the guts to murder, and with his partner and the police at each other’s throats, it’s down to him to find the connection that will reveal the killer…
Plot: The review is of one novel in this book of three, I’m breaking them up with other reads so will review the others in the future. I did not take to LA Requiem instantly. I must confess to not having read the work by this author before although Mr Crais has written for productions I loved especially TV such as Hill Street Blues alongside his numerous novels.
Once I got used to the very stylised writing methods, I really enjoyed the story. I think Mr Crais is using the style of the 40’s and 50’s film noir or detectives such as Dick Tracy etc. If I’d known that at the outset I would have embraced it, maybe the blurb could hint at this style. It took me a while to realise it was a style, I really hope that’s the idea and not an attempt at a truly dark realist one. Blimey, bit deep, sorry but it is a style which may not suit everyone. I did get past it and actually thought the centre of the novel moved into a realist mode, other than the afore mentioned humorous Elvis references. The ending fell back into what some may call cliche but it did tie in all the loose ends and leave it open as per modern tradition for a sequel.
Characters: This story is one of a number around a key character Elvis Cole, cue numerous predictable mentions of Elvis through the book. I guess in real life this would happen but I found it a bit unnecessary here.
Sometimes when I read best selling authors who produce a mass number of pieces I do wonder if they edit them or have a team to do it for them. This may be a bit discourteous but sometimes small things get in to print which I find difficult to believe that a great novelist would miss e.g. I was a little confused at a couple in the book, the husband described as short, then his wife as tall, as tall as her husband? One sentence had the word burn repeated so often it became distracting.
There is an extract in the book spoken from a distressed child’s point of view, it is excellent. Engaged, enthralling and brutal. It is key to the story so I won’t quote it merely advise that this story does have really good writing held within the maybe too frequently predictable.
Conclusion: Anyone who writes this type of novel, and I know a few aspirational writers who do, please get your work out there. Mr Baldacci and Mr Crais are proof that some of what we are taught by so called experts in their field about writing is not always sought by publishers. Mr Baldacci & Mr Crais write books we like to read, as do millions worldwide. They don’t conform to some rules our lecturers standby.
Recommended: Yes, this is a typical ‘holiday’ detective novel, good old beach read, nothing new but far from the worse. If you want a page turner which doesn’t require too much brain power. That sounds harsh however I hope you will see I do like the book, it’s just not one of my best books, besides which it’s too blooming heavy!
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