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They killed the only one who ever cared and now they're going to pay.
A reckoning has come to the City of Angels...
Karen Garcia is missing and her father doesn't trust the cops - he wants someone he knows on the case. So he enlists the help of Elvis Cole and Joe Pike.
It seems that Karen is the latest victim of a distinctive serial killer and the police are determined to pin her death, and four others, on the witness who found her body. Cole doesn't believe the man has the guts to murder, and with his partner and the police at each other's throats, it's down to him to find the connection that will reveal the killer. But nailing the murderer means choosing between the two people he cares most about...
In his eighth book about wise-cracking Los Angeles private detective Elvis Cole, Crais has expanded his narrative reach and broadened his characters' horizons to produce a mature work that deserves to move him up a notch or two--into Parker or Connelly country. He's done this by focusing on Joe Pike, Cole's tough and hitherto totally enigmatic partner. It's Pike who breaks in on Cole's reunion with Lucy Chenier, his lawyer/broadcaster lover who has just moved from New Orleans, to ask for Elvis's help in tracking down the missing daughter of a rich and powerful Hispanic businessman. When the girl turns up murdered in Griffith Park, it's Pike who gives a nerdy medical examiner valuable assistance; and when it turns out that the girl's death is linked to several other murders, it's Pike who is charged with killing the chief suspect. Through flashbacks to Joe's past life as an abused child, a highly motivated teenage soldier and an L.A. cop fighting to keep a corrupt partner from destroying his family, we learn more about Pike than we did in the seven previous Cole books. This new focus also allows Crais to keep Elvis's often annoying throwaway lines to a minimum--although more pruning could have been done with no loss of flavor. The book's scope is wide enough to include many other memorable characters, especially a rough-edged, vulnerable police officer named Samantha Dolan, plus a choice of plausible villains. There may be one too many metaphoric descriptions attempting to link aspects of the L.A. landscape with the moods and deeds of its inhabitants, but overall Crais seems to have successfully stretched himself the way another Southern California writer--Ross Macdonald--always tried to do, to write a mystery novel with a solid literary base.