Sunday, November 6, 2022

Racing the Light by Robert Crais - Book Review

From the publisher:*On Reader's Digest's list of "30 new books we can't wait to read in 2022"*

Private investigator Elvis Cole and his enigmatic partner Joe Pike are back on the case in this brilliant new thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Robert Crais.

        Adele Schumacher isn't a typical worried mom. When she hires Elvis to find her missing son, a controversial podcaster named Josh Shoe, she brings a bag filled with cash, bizarre tales of government conspiracies, and a squad of professional bodyguards. Finding Josh should be simple, but Elvis quickly learns he isn't alone in the hunt—a deadly team of mysterious strangers are determined to find Josh and his adult film star girlfriend first.
        With dangerous secrets lurking behind every lead, Elvis needs his friend Joe Pike more than ever to uncover the truth about Josh, corrupt politicians, and the vicious business cartels rotting the heart of Los Angeles from within. And when Elvis's estranged girlfriend Lucy Chenier and her son, Ben, return, he learns just how much he has to lose...if he survives.
        Written with the heart, humor, and relentless suspense for which Crais is famous, Racing the Light delivers Elvis Cole's most dangerous case yet.

I really enjoy Robert Crais's Elvis Cole and Joe Pike books (they are a close second to Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch books). Therefore, when I had the opportunity to read and review the newest entry, Racing the Light, I jumped at it. 

Racing the Light puts Cole on the search for Josh Schumacher, a podcaster who has gone missing. Mysterious parents, a bitter best friend, and a missing porn star/artist just add to the intrigue. There are several twists and turns, as there usually are. And when things begin to go sideways, Joe Pike is there to have Elvis's back.

Crais writes a good mystery, but the characters are the best part of these books. Cole has a bittersweet humor that underlies a world weariness that just rings true for me. He is a competent detective, but a better friend, and is like a bulldog when he gets his teeth into a case. Pike is as taciturn as ever, but for readers who've been through the series, we know there is more beneath the surface than he generally shows. These two characters remind me so much of Robert Parker's Spenser and Hawk, They are such a great pair. I would love to see this series adapted for a streaming service (as long as Crais has a say on how its done).

Further, Racing the Light brings back a few series regulars, including Lucy and Ben Chenier. Their evolving relationship with Cole and Pike continues to add a level or realism and humanity to these books. I would be remiss if I failed to mention Crais's ability to make Los Angeles seem like a character, as well. Having some familiarity with the city, I really enjoy the description's that pervade Racing the Light. It just adds to the fun.

Overall, I highly recommend Racing the Light by Robert Crais. It is an entertaining mystery and another opportunity to spend time with old friends. A new reader can enjoy Racing the Light without prior knowledge of the previous volumes, but I'd highly recommend picking them up.

I received a preview copy of this book from Netgalley and the Penguin Group, Putnam in exchange for an honest review.