Free Fall, by Robert Crais

One of a series (I think) about the PI Elvis Cole, who works in current-day LA. In this one, he's approached by a girl who wants him to work out why her police officer fiance is acting strangely: she is adamant that he's an honest guy and must need help. Five minutes after she leaves his office, the officer himself turns up, saying that the cause of the problem is that he's got a new girlfriend, and he'll explain things to his fiance when the time is right. An open and shut case then? Maybe not..

Well... I didn't really like this too much. Elvis is an investigator who's more Jim Rockford than Philip Marlowe: like Rockford, he has many acquaintances who he can go to to cadge a favour; like Rockford he's known to the local cops and they get fed up with him meddling in cases that where he should be leaving well alone. And he's got a sentimental streak which means he takes on this case because he feels sorry for the girl, who can't afford to pay him his proper rate.

Cole reminded me a little bit of VI Warshawski in that he's a bit of a wise-cracker, prone to making frequent ironic comments that aren't really that funny. So I didn't warm to him. And the plot was a bit predictable really. Maybe a bit more violent than one of Jim Rockford's cases, but nothing that interesting.

Rather like Hostage, this book had the feeling of being a bit over-egged towards the end: a bit like the monster that gets up for another go after the hero's shot him, the story was extended a little bit more than it needed to be.

I'd try more Robert Crais, because I did like the other two novels of his I've read, but I won't bother with any more Elvis Cole ones.

Completed : 28-Jan-2009 (audiobook)

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