The Promise ~ Elvis Cole

Elvis Cole and Joe Pike are joined by Suspect heroes Scott James and his K-9 partner, Maggie, in the new masterpiece of suspense from the number one New York Times bestselling author. 

Loyalty, commitment, the fight against injustice – these are the things that have always driven Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. If they make a promise, they keep it. Even if it could get them killed.

Meryl Lawrence hires PI Elvis Cole to find missing chemical engineer Amy Breslyn, who has supposedly embezzled a large amount of money from Woodson Energy Solutions, the company she works for. They manufacture fuels for the Department of Defense, which gives their work a classified status.

Arriving at the address he was given as a starting point, Elvis finds himself in the middle of a police operation. Elvis and Scott initially cross paths briefly as Scott is in pursuit of a fugitive who is eventually found brutally murdered at the address Elvis was given by Meryl. Scott and the police also find a large supply of explosives in the house. Elvis was sworn to secrecy by Meryl, and feels obliged to keep his word. He is caught up in the action and, unable to fully explain why he was there and enquiring about the house in question, Elvis becomes ‘someone of interest’ to the police. 

The killer, Mr Rollins, concerned he could be identified by Scott, targets him and Maggie. This gives Scott and Elvis the opportunity to work together, as their cases connect and indicate a potential terrorist threat. Elvis realises he is being manipulated, but for what purpose and by whom, he has yet to determine.

Four days earlier, Amy Breslyn had taken a leave of absence without explanation and with no advance warning. She did so by email. Meryl and her bosses tried to reach Amy, but their calls and texts were not returned. A day later, Meryl went to Amy’s home. Amy was gone, but nothing seemed amiss. The following day, Meryl discovered four hundred sixty thousand dollars missing from Amy’s department. Meryl kept this discovery secret. She believed her friend had been coerced, and hoped to handle the situation without involving the authorities. She hired me off the books and without her company’s knowledge. She also refused to give me access to Amy’s office, corporate email, and any information related to Amy Breslyn’s work. Security.

I love the Elvis Cole/Joe Pike novels, and have listened to most of them, especially when narrated by Luke Daniels. The Promise has an added bonus, it’s a dual performance with MacLeod Andrews. It incorporates the heroes from the standalone book ‘Suspect’, LAPD Officer Scott James and his K-9 partner, Maggie, which MacLeod Andrews also narrated. Great job by both.

That said, with Jon Stone also included, bumping up the number of main protagonists, at least one character had to take a back seat and unfortunately that was Joe Pike. I missed the usually great interaction between him and Elvis. The story is told from multiple characters’ perspectives and some scenes are replayed from more than one characters’ point of view which, for me, interrupted the flow slightly.

There’s more insight into Jon Stone’s character, fleshing him out and giving the mercenary a previously rarely seen compassionate quality. The relationship between Scott and Maggie is developed too, with more awareness of the after effects due to the trauma they both suffered and how they both deal with it. 

The pace, storyline and writing are excellent as usual, and I love the characters, but perhaps not all together. Unless it was a longer book so the depth, characterisation and personality of these great protagonists is not lost. 

Book links ~ Amazon UK Amazon US

About the author

8944Robert Crais is the author of the best-selling Elvis Cole novels. He was the 2006 recipient of the Ross Macdonald Literary Award.

A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he grew up on the banks of the Mississippi River in a blue collar family of oil refinery workers and four generations of police officers. He purchased a second-hand paperback of Raymond Chandler’s The Little Sister when he was fifteen, which inspired his lifelong love of writing, Los Angeles, and the literature of crime fiction.

He journeyed to Hollywood in 1976 where he quickly found work writing scripts for such major television series as Hill Street Blues, Cagney & Lacey, and Miami Vice, as well as scripting numerous series pilots and movies-of-the-week for the major networks.

Feeling constrained by the collaborative working requirements of Hollywood, Crais resigned from a lucrative position as a contract writer and television producer in order to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a novelist. His first efforts proved unsuccessful, but upon the death of his father in 1985, Crais was inspired to create Elvis Cole, using elements of his own life as the basis of the story. The resulting novel, The Monkey’s Raincoat, won the Anthony and Macavity Awards and was nominated for the Edgar Award. It has since been selected as one of the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association.

Crais conceived of the novel as a stand-alone, but realized that, in Elvis Cole, he had created an ideal and powerful character through which to comment upon his life and times. Elvis Cole’s readership skyrocketed in 1999 upon the publication of L. A. Requiem, which was a New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller and forever changed the way Crais conceived of and structured his novels. Larger and deeper in scope, Publishers Weekly wrote of L. A. Requiem, “Crais has stretched himself the way another Southern California writer, Ross Macdonald, always tried to do, to write a mystery novel with a solid literary base.” Booklist added, “This is an extraordinary crime novel that should not be pigeonholed by genre. The best books always land outside preset boundaries. A wonderful experience.”

Crais followed with his first non-series novel, Demolition Angel, which was published in 2000 and featured former Los Angeles Police Department Bomb Technician Carol Starkey. In 2001, Crais published his second non-series novel, Hostage, which was named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times and was a world-wide bestseller. The editors of Amazon.com selected Hostage as the #1 thriller of the year. A film adaptation of Hostage was released in 2005, starring Bruce Willis as ex-LAPD SWAT negotiator Jeff Talley.

Robert Crais lives in the Santa Monica mountains with his wife, three cats, and many thousands of books. Additional information can be found at his website, www.robertcrais.com.

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