Robert Crais's second Elvis Cole novel, and of course it's good.
Elvis is hired by asshole banker Bradley Warren to try to find a purloined copy of the "Hagakure", an extremely rare edition of a 17th century guide to Samurai life and lore. Warren doesn't care too much about the book itself, just its implied price tag: about $3 million. And the pull it gives him with his Japanese business partners.
Reader, it's a real thing.
Wisecracking all the way, Elvis visits the scene of the crime, Warren's home. He meets Warren's wife, Sheila, who throws herself wantonly at our noble detective; nothing doin', ma'am. And he also encounters Warren's surly daughter Mimi. A good guess: the book is getting peddled to the local Yakuza-infested Japanese underworld, which sends Elvis into LA's Little Tokyo. Eventually: fights, grisly murders, gunplay, kidnapping, sordid revelations, Joe Pike. And a lot of psychic turmoil for Elvis, who wonders if he could have handled things better if he'd been a little quicker on the uptake.
For some reason, as he navigates the Southland, Elvis is obsessed with telling us (seemingly) every street he's driving on. Could do without that, unless it's Mulholland Drive. But otherwise, he does a great job of detailing late-80's LA.
The inside front cover, by the way, refers to Joe Pike as Elvis's "sociopathic sidekick"? On Joe's behalf, I resent that psychologizing. He's not a sociopath, he just has an unusual personal code of conduct.