The Monkey's Raincoat

[Amazon Link]

I started a new reading project: the novels of Robert Crais. Back in the day, I read his early stuff via Dover (NH) Public Library, then switched over to buying them as they came out. About time for a retrospective. I grabbed the Mass Market Paperback edition, and…

It's the first (1987) outing for wise-cracking L. A. private eye Elvis Cole and his taciturn partner Joe Pike. He's hired by Ellen Lang, who is missing her husband and young son. Hubby is a struggling Hollywood agent, and he could be mixed up with some nasty types. A sordid tale of drugs, gangsters, and violence unfolds. It's an excellent page-turner, and it's interesting to contrast Early Elvis with Modern Elvis. Early Elvis is funnier, and arguably less ethical. But that's OK.

It occurred to me that if an Aspiring Young Writer wants a free lesson in how to build suspense with a violent climax: study chapters 34-37.

Consumer note: there were a few glaring typos in this 2019 edition. Example, page 266, where Elvis is considering options for an assault on enemy territory: "It was through the door or across the fawn." I think you mean "lawn", Elvis. (This error doesn't appear in the pirated Russian version. Just sayin'.

Or is this some kind of publisher's gimmick? Where they can search for this mistake on the web to nab the intellectual property thieves?

Second consumer note: I don't get the title. It's from a haiku by the Japanese poet Basho (1644–1694), but … no monkeys, no raincoats. I suppose I'm dense.