Book Report: Sunset Express by Robert Crais (1996)

This book is where the Elvis Cole books become an obvious series, and that’s not a good thing for a standalone novel.

The plot revolves around Elvis Cole’s experience as part of a high-profile defense team of a wealth restauranteur whose wife’s body is found after she was beaten to death. Although investigators find the murder weapon on the estate of the husband, Elvis Cole uncovers proof of a kidnap plot the husband asserted. Or perhaps he’s being made a patsy by the nationally-reknowned lawyer heading the defense.

Unfortunately, Elvis has the evolving love with Lucy Chenier, which means that we have to deal with passages and chapters which deal with the series storyline, which detracts from the novel storyline. As a matter of fact, the middle of the book features a section where Cole has apparently solved the murder and is being feted as a hero but when Lucy grows distant. So the reader, or at least I, had to bridge this bit of emotional baggage with only the hope that something else would happen in the remaining 150 pages. Of course, as I am a glutton even for bad writing, I waded through the chapters until another problem/mystery presented itself, but that’s a hard fjord to cross, brother, and might poor practice.

I admit, I prefer series that are less sequential and where the books are self-contained units where the characters’ growing/aging/lives don’t represent a chunk of individual books. But then again, I prefer not to need to read books in order to get the most of them.

Still, it’s a fairly good book. Worth a couple bucks used. Even better when it’s a gift.