Robert Crais is an American novelist known for his crime fiction, especially the “Elvis Cole” series. Born on June 20, 1953, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Crais began his career writing scripts for television shows such as “Hill Street Blues”, “Cagney & Lacey”, and “Miami Vice”. Transitioning to novels in the late 1980s, his debut, “The Monkey’s Raincoat”, introduced readers to private investigator Elvis Cole and his partner, Joe Pike.
The book, like many of his subsequent novels, was both critically acclaimed and popular among readers, earning Crais the Anthony and Macavity awards. His works are noted for their intricate plots, character development, and authentic Los Angeles settings.
Books in Order
Elvis Cole & Joe Pike Series
- The Monkey’s Raincoat (1987)
- Stalking the Angel (1989)
- Lullaby Town (1992)
- Free Fall (1993)
- Voodoo River (1995)
- Sunset Express (1996)
- Indigo Slam (1997)
- L.A. Requiem (1999)
- The Last Detective (2003)
- The Forgotten Man (2005)
- The Watchman (2007)
- Chasing Darkness (2008)
- The First Rule (2010)
- The Sentry (2011)
- Taken (2012)
- The Promise (2015)
- The Wanted (2017)
- A Dangerous Man (2019)
- Racing the Light (2022)
- Weigh Station (1982)
- Demolition Angel (2000)
- Hostage (2001)
- Indigo Blues (2002)
- The Two-Minute Rule (2006)
- Suspect (2013)
- The Man Who Knew Dick Bong (2023)
- “The Death of Mrs. Westaway” by Ruth Ware: This is a psychological thriller where the protagonist, Hal, receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes the letter was sent to the wrong person but decides to claim the money anyway, leading her into a web of dark secrets at the Westaway family home.
- “Blindsighted” by Karin Slaughter: This debut novel introduces Sara Linton, a pediatrician and coroner in a small Georgia town, who becomes involved in a terrifying series of murders that brings her face to face with a diabolical killer. The book combines elements of a medical thriller and a police procedural.
- “The Lincoln Lawyer” by Michael Connelly – A legal thriller following a defense attorney who takes on a high-profile case that challenges his morals and skills. See also: Harry Bosch Books by Michael Connelly.
See also: James Patterson NYPD Red Series in Order.
Best Robert Crais Books
- L.A. Requiem (Elvis Cole & Joe Pike Series, #8) (4.29 Goodreads score)
- The First Rule (Elvis Cole & Joe Pike Series, #13) (4.23 Goodreads score)
- The Sentry (Elvis Cole & Joe Pike Series, #14) (4.22 Goodreads score)
- Suspect (4.17 Goodreads score)
- The Watchman (Elvis Cole & Joe Pike Series, #11) (4.12 Goodreads score)
Robert Crais received the Macavity Award for Best First Novel in 1988 for The Monkey’s Raincoat, the Ross Macdonald Literary Award in 2006, the Barry Award for Best Thriller in 2008 for The Watchman, the Private Eye Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award for The Eye in 2010, and the Mystery Writers of America’s Grand Master Award in 2014.
The Monkey’s Raincoat
"The Monkey's Raincoat" is a thrilling detective novel featuring Elvis Cole, a witty and intelligent private eye in Los Angeles. When a woman named Ellen Lang comes to his office seeking help in finding her missing husband and son, Elvis takes on the case reluctantly. Alongside his mysterious partner Joe Pike, they delve into the dark underbelly of Hollywood, encountering drugs, sex, and murder. As the investigation intensifies, Ellen and Elvis find themselves targeted by dangerous individuals from all walks of life.
Stalking the Angel
In "Stalking the Angel" Bradley Warren has lost a valuable Japanese manuscript called the Hagakure. PI Elvis Cole, with the help of his partner Joe Pike, starts their search in L.A.'s Little Tokyo, where they encounter the dangerous Yakuza.
Peter Alan Nelsen is a highly successful movie director who is determined to locate his ex-wife and infant child. Private investigator Cole is tasked with finding them, but the case quickly becomes more complicated than expected. Cole becomes entangled with a dangerous New York mob family and a deranged killer who happens to be the son of a powerful crime boss. As tensions escalate, Nelsen unexpectedly enters the picture, leading to a volatile and explosive situation.
"Free Fall" is a thrilling detective novel featuring Elvis Cole, a detective who can't resist helping those in need. When Jennifer Sheridan, a woman in distress, seeks his help to save her fiancé, Cole can't say no. As he teams up with his mysterious partner Joe Pike, they find themselves caught in a dangerous web of South Central gangs, corrupt cops, and hidden secrets. With every cop in the LAPD on their tail, Cole and Pike must navigate a treacherous path to survive.
Private investigator Elvis Cole is hired to investigate the past of Jodi Taylor, a popular TV actress. He travels from Los Angeles to Louisiana to find Jodi's biological parents. However, his journey is filled with quirky characters, such as a paranoid housewife and a strange Cajun thug. Along the way, Elvis encounters a menacing old river turtle named Luther. As he delves into Jodi's origins, he uncovers the true purpose of his mission in Louisiana.
Private investigator Elvis Cole finds himself caught up in a high-profile murder case in Los Angeles. A wealthy restaurant owner is accused of killing his wife, and Cole is hired by a prominent defense attorney to uncover evidence that the detective on the case mishandled the investigation. However, as Cole delves into the case, he becomes increasingly suspicious of the attention-seeking lawyers involved. As the investigation progresses, Cole becomes entangled in the dangerous and mysterious circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the woman.
Fifteen-year-old Teri Hewitt is left to care for her siblings after her father disappears. She seeks the help of LA private eye Elvis Cole to find him. Despite knowing he should pass the case to social services, Cole decides to take it on. The investigation uncovers a drug addict involved in counterfeit schemes and connected to dangerous criminal groups. As the story progresses, Cole finds himself in a gunfight at Disneyland and tries to avoid his almost-girlfriend's ex-husband. He soon realizes that Teri's situation is more trouble than he bargained for and should have been left to the professionals.
In "L.A. Requiem" the City of Angels is facing a reckoning. Karen Garcia has gone missing and her father doesn't trust the police to find her. He turns to Elvis Cole and Joe Pike for help. It appears that Karen is the latest victim of a serial killer, but the police are wrongly accusing the witness who found her body. Cole is determined to prove the witness's innocence and find the real killer. However, this means making a difficult choice between the two people he cares about the most.
The Last Detective
Elvis Cole finds himself facing a personal problem. While his girlfriend Lucy is away, she leaves her son Ben in Elvis's care. However, Ben goes missing, and despite Elvis's efforts to find him, he is nowhere to be found. As Lucy returns, they both become desperate to locate Ben. Soon, Elvis receives a phone call that reveals a connection between Ben's disappearance and a haunting event from his own past.
The Forgotten Man
In "The Forgotten Man" Elvis Cole, who recently faced a traumatic kidnapping incident, receives a disturbing call from the LAPD. They have discovered a body in a shady alley, and the only connection they have is a packet of newspaper articles about Elvis's past. The deceased man claimed to be Elvis's father before his death. Elvis enlists the help of Joe Pike to unravel the mystery, but as they dig deeper, they uncover unsettling details about the dead man. Their investigation leads them into dangerous territory, putting them in harm's way.
In "The Watchman" Joe Pike is called upon to protect a wealthy girl named Larkin Conner Barkley, who is a federal witness. However, their location is being leaked and dangerous killers are closing in. To outsmart their pursuers, Pike and his friend Elvis Cole devise a plan to disappear in the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles and turn the tables on their hunters. As they dig deeper, they uncover a web of lies and betrayal, even among the police. But the biggest threat may be the troubled girl herself, who is determined to self-destruct unless Joe can heal her wounded heart.
In "Chasing Darkness" Elvis Cole finds himself in a dangerous situation when a photo album containing pictures of seven murdered women is discovered. These women were killed one per year for seven years, and the LAPD had never connected the murders until now. Cole had previously helped free a suspect in one of the cases, but now the police are after him. As the hills of Los Angeles burn during fire season, Cole must navigate the investigation and clear his name.
The First Rule
"The First Rule" is a thriller that follows Joe Pike, a man seeking revenge after his friend and his family are brutally murdered. Despite the criminals being highly organized, Pike is determined to track them down and eliminate them one by one.
"The Sentry" tells the story of Dru Rayne and her uncle who have relocated to Los Angeles after Hurricane Katrina. Their struggling restaurant faces a new danger when Dru's uncle is beaten by a local gang. Joe Pike witnesses the incident and offers his protection, despite their reluctance. As the violence escalates, Joe realizes that Dru and her uncle have a mysterious past and are being pursued by a vengeful force. Joe is determined to help them, even if they don't want his assistance, and finds himself falling for Dru along the way.
Elvis Cole's good intentions lead him to a dangerous situation where he pays a high price. Joe Pike, a tough and protective friend, must now put everything on the line to save Elvis before time runs out.
Elvis Cole and Joe Pike, driven by their principles, always keep their promises, even if it puts their lives at risk. When Elvis is hired to find a woman who may have disappeared after meeting someone online, he uncovers a dangerous plot involving a defense contractor and blackmail. Meanwhile, LAPD officer Scott James and his patrol dog, Maggie, stumble upon unexpected discoveries while searching for a thief. As their paths cross with Elvis and Joe's, they join forces to locate the missing woman. From drug traffickers to Afghan war veterans with ties to terrorism, the odds stack against them, and they must find the woman before she is killed, and before they suffer the same fate.
"The Wanted" follows a story filled with suspense and mystery. The book takes readers on a journey as they uncover the secrets and dangers surrounding a group of individuals who are being pursued by a relentless detective. With its fast-paced plot and engaging characters,
A Dangerous Man
In "A Dangerous Man" Joe Pike unexpectedly becomes a hero when he witnesses a young bank teller named Isabel being kidnapped. After the kidnappers are found dead and Isabel goes missing, Pike becomes a suspect in the case. Determined to find the truth and save Isabel, Pike enlists the help of Elvis Cole. However, they soon discover that they are not the only ones searching for her, and the situation becomes increasingly perilous.
Racing the Light
In "Racing the Light" Adele Schumacher hires Elvis to find her missing son, Josh Shoe. However, this case is far from simple as Elvis discovers he is not the only one searching for Josh. With dangerous secrets and deadly strangers involved, Elvis teams up with his friend Joe Pike to uncover the truth about Josh, corrupt politicians, and the dangerous business cartels in Los Angeles. As the stakes rise, Elvis realizes just how much he has to lose if he survives.
Elvis Cole and Joe Pike: A Mysterious Profile
In this short book we are introduced to the world of Elvis Cole and his friend Joe Pike. The book explores the choices they have made, the challenges they have faced, and what motivates them to keep going.
The story follows lawyer David Hamill, who is looking to start fresh after a divorce. On his way to his new job, his sports car runs out of gas in a remote area. Stranded and with limited options, David makes a fateful decision that leads to a series of unexpected events. This tale takes readers on a suspenseful journey that will redefine their perception of the open road.
In "Demolition Angel" Carol Starkey, a former bomb squad technician, is trying to rebuild her life after a tragic explosion that took the life of her partner and ended her career. Now working as a detective, Carol is thrust back into the world of bombs when she is assigned to investigate a series of explosions targeting bomb technicians. As the only survivor of a deadly blast, Carol must now face her most dangerous challenge yet.
In "Hostage" an ex-convict and his brother unintentionally join forces with a dangerous psychopath. Their joyride takes a dark turn when they randomly target a family in the wealthy neighborhood of Bristo Camino. Chief of Police Jeff Talley, a former SWAT negotiator seeking solace from his troubled past, is forced back into action. As Talley tries to save the hostages, he discovers that they are not who they appear to be and that the house holds dangerous secrets. With the notorious crime lord Sonny Benza closing in, Talley must keep his family and the hostages safe. However, the only person who can defuse the situation is the most unstable of them all.
The Two-Minute Rule
"The Two-Minute Rule" is a crime novel that follows Max Holman, a former criminal who has just been released from prison. Max's main goal is to reconcile with his estranged son, but his plans are shattered when he learns that his son, who was a police officer, was brutally murdered. Max is determined to find the killer and seek justice, no matter what it takes.
In this book Scott James is still reeling from a devastating attack that killed his partner and left him filled with anger and shame. He is deemed unfit for duty until he is paired with Maggie, a German shepherd who also suffers from PTSD. Together, they embark on a mission to uncover the truth behind Stephanie's murder, a case that no one wants them to pursue. As they delve deeper into the investigation, they discover secrets that could shatter them both.
The Man Who Knew Dick Bong
In this book titled "The Man Who Knew Dick Bong," readers are taken back to 1950s Los Angeles. The story follows private investigator Eddie Church, who usually avoids divorce cases. However, he agrees to collect alimony and child support for Louise Barris. It seems like an easy task, as Louise's ex-husband, Frank Barris, has a new job and is financially stable. Eddie's job is to collect the check and deliver it to Louise and her son. But when the check bounces, Eddie realizes that there is more to this case than just a simple divorce dispute. It turns out that multiple parties are after Frank, and Eddie finds himself caught in a dangerous situation.