Wow, hard to believe that I'm up to book 8 on my reread-Crais project (started in 2020). This one seems to mark a turn in the series: Crais's heroes, friends and partners Elvis Cole and Joe Pike, undergo a lot of pain and suffering here, both physical and mental. We get a lot of Pike's backstory, how he became the stoic force of nature that he is, and why most of the LAPD despise him.
And it all starts so innocently, with an apparently random murder of Karen Garcia, shot at point-blank range while jogging around the Lake Hollywood reservoir. Karen's dad is unsatisfied with the progress of the police investigation, so hires Elvis and Joe to do their diligent detective work. Dad also has powerful political connections, enabling the LAPD to grudgingly cooperate.
Big complications: (1) Karen was Pike's onetime girlfriend. (2) The cops are outwardly cooperative, but Elvis detects that they're hiding some important details. (3) There seems to be a mole within the cop shop leaking damaging information to the press. (4) And Elvis's girlfriend, Lucy, has moved to L. A., but unfortunately without fully appreciating the nature of Elvis's business, nor the unshakeable mutual devotion between Joe and him.
It's 400 pages, and I found it impossible to put down starting around page 330 or so. (Actual 11pm dialog: "Are you trying to finish that tonight?" "Yes, am I keeping you awake?" "Nooo…")