Sunday, October 19, 2008

Chasing Darkness by Robert Crais

In Chasing Darkness private investigator Elvis Cole is back, this time to right a wrong he himself might have played a part in creating. Cole once cleared a man in a murder case. Years later when the same man commits suicide and grisly pictures of the crime scenes are found in his possession, it becomes clear to police that a guilty man had been set free.

Cole isn't so sure, and believes his original investigation had exposed the truth, the photos be damned. Was the man guilty? Did Cole inadvertently let a killer go free to strike again? Or is there a much darker truth loose in Los Angeles? Cole and his friend and partner Joe Pike are about to find out.

I was once a great Crais fan, but I (reluctantly) confess that I believe his work has slipped in recent years. There's nothing wrong with Chasing Darkness per se, as it was a quick and enjoyable read. There just seems to be less, oh, 'heart' is as good a word as any, in his novels and a more formulaic feel.

Cole is still Cole, Pike is still Pike, and while that's not a bad thing it also highlights a lack of development over the course of the series. As for the plot, I felt like I'd seen it all before and knew what was coming not only around the next corner, but the three after that. It reads like an enjoyable but standard issue movie of the week.

I don't think I'm too harsh in my assessment, as I think most people will close the book with the same conclusion.

2.5 out of 4, 60 out of 100.

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