The Wanted

wanted“The Wanted” by Robert Crais is number seventeen in his “Elvis Cole” series. Even though Elvis and Joe continue from previous books, new readers can jump right into this book without any problem.

Devon Connor hires private investigator Elvis Cole to find out how her “troubled” son is getting so much cash and expensive clothes. She fears drug trafficking, but the truth is much worse. The investigation drags everyone, Cole, Pike, the mom, the son, and his friends, into a pit of trickery, peril, and murder.

Several points of view drive the action. Readers follow Cole’s first person narrative as he tries to separate fact from fiction. Third person descriptions follow other players they play a deadly game of hide-and-seek. The body count rises, and the answers seem out of reach. Every shift in the narrative brings to light new information, more clues, and increasing problems.

The structure is fast-paced, and serious.  As a result, Cole is all business with only a hint of his usual sarcastic, funny self. Of course, the yoga, the food, the Corvette, and the cat are still there, but in less conspicuous roles. Pike is, well, Pike, what little there is of him.

The plot is multifaceted, and Los Angeles, itself, plays a part as the frantic search takes readers through various suburbs and into downtown clubs and offices. The supporting characters make this a compelling novel. The normal lives of teenagers (clueless, publicity-obsessed), parents (both good and questionable), and the computer nerd (socially inept), deteriorate into chaos, as brutal hit men close in.  The clock ticks; everything becomes more frantic, and yes, it ends with a HUGE bombshell.

Cole is focused and caring as he tries to sort out the lives of his teen-age client and his own feelings about family and the future. I missed Cole’s usual funny and charming side, however, this complex plot just did not have much time for hilarity. Crais includes some hints of what might be to come by including with an interesting relationship along the way and a visit from a character from the past. (No, I will not spoil it)

I received a copy of “The Wanted” from Robert Crais, G P Putnam’s Sons, and NetGalley in exchange for my impartial review. I enjoyed the book and recommend it to both new readers and Elvis Cole fans.