Sunset Express

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Another book down on the "Reread Crais" project. It's the sixth Elvis Cole novel, and the author, Robert Crais, is really hitting his stride here.

But (alas) I have a consumer note: it's also in the tradition of Crais titles having absolutely nothing to do with the book contents. As near as I can tell. Maybe there's some obscure symbolism I'm missing?

But it begins with the discovery of a woman's corpse off Mulholland Drive (where, it seerms, most Los Angeles-based crimes occur). It's the wife of Teddy Martin, and when the cops track down Teddy, he claims his wife's been kidnapped, he paid the ransom, and ohmigod, are you telling me she's dead?

Unfortunately for Teddy, the cops turn up the murder weapon, a gory hammer, nearby on the lawn. Book 'im, Danno.

Cut to Elvis, weeks later: he's visited by famed celebrity lawyer Jonathan Green, who's handling Teddy Martin's defense. Elvis is hired to check out reports that one of the arresting cops, Angela Rossi, has planted evidence in the past, and may be doing so again. Did she really find that hammer at Martin's house, or did she take it from the body-dump site, and claim to have discovered it in its incriminating position?

Elvis is on the case. He quickly finds evidence that the past claims against Rossi are bogus. Assigned to follow up tips, his outstanding detective work digs up indications that it might have been a kidnap plot after all. Good news for Teddy and Green!

But that's on page 136 of a 392-page book. By page 194, Elvis is wondering "What in hell is going on here?" So things aren't as simple as they seem.

There's also a subplot where Lucy, the love of Elvis's life (at least for another book or two) is visiting from Louisiana, with her son Ben. Since (sssh, spoiler) I know this romance is doomed, this part didn't hold a lot of interest.