n the eyes of his public, Robert Crais can do no wrong - his first novel, "The Monkey's Raincoat", which introduced gumshoe Elvis Cole to the world, was nominated for the Edgar Award, while his last one, "L. A. Requeim", had the critics gushing. And Crais doesn't look like he's planning to slow down any time soon - his latest, "Indigo Slam" is a rollicking entertainer that should both satisfy old fans and attract a new bunch of readers to the fold.
When "Indigo Slam" begins, Elvis Cole is lounging around on his balcony, talking to his girlfriend on the cordless and thinking about his drooping plants. He is interrupted by the arrival of three children, who ask him to find their missing father, Clark Hewitt, for them. Cole is initially skeptical, but agrees to take the case - and soon finds himself head over heels in a case that will test his wits to their maximum.
Before long, Cole finds that Hewitt is, in fact, a master counterfeiter, who is on the run from both the Russian Mafia and the federal government. As Cole begins poking around, he attracts the attention of both agencies and brings a world of trouble down on his head - not what he had in mind at all. Before long, the World's Greatest Detective is mixing it up with Russian sharpshooters, Vietnamese revolutionaries, FBI agents, and his girlfriend's ex-husband...
The only way out of this mess seems to be guile, deception and quick thinking...or, if that fails, Pike and a very big gun.
As a novel, "Indigo Slam" is a whole lot of fun - Crais keeps it moving along well, and Elvis' constant asides on the situations he finds himself in make for some hilarious moments. In particular, the addition of Hewitt's three children, each one more precocious than the last, and Cole's encounters with the Russian thugs, go a long way towards lightening the mood of this novel.
Of course, it isn't all fun and games - there's a serious story here, too, and fans of the hard-boiled suspense novel won't be disappointed by it. Expect lots of violence, double-crossing and fistfights as you flip the pages of "Indigo Slam" - with Pike around, did you really expect less? - but Crais' deft touch makes this novel much more that just another private-eye thriller. If you're a Robert Crais fan, you won't want to miss this one!This article was first published on 01 Dec 2000.