I bought this book for my beautiful wife for Christmas, so I don’t get to put it onto my read shelves, although it would not surprise me if a secondhand copy does not end up over there. After all, I have a pretty complete set starting with The Monkey’s Raincoat, Crais’ first Elvis Cole novel dated 1987 which my wife gave me, along with Crais’ other books to date, for Christmas in 2005. I’d say that Crais books are a Christmas tradition at Nogglestead (and Honormoor, our house in Casinoport, and the untitled Old Trees house), but 1) Crais does not write one a year and 2) we’ve gotten them in between holidays when available.
So, in this book, an older woman with a retinue of bodyguards comes to Cole to find her son, a podcaster who has disappeared. Cole delves into it, finding an association between the podcaster and an adult movie star. And his folks worked on deep, deep black government projects back in the day, so perhaps someone took the boy to get to the parents. The adult movie star also goes missing, and Elvis Cole and Joe Pike and Jon Stone (a recent recurring character) find high-powered Chinese bugs in the podcaster’s home. So it could be anyone and for any reason, and eventually Cole narrows it down.
It’s a quick read–I slotted it into the 2023 Winter Reading Challenge in the Page Turner category–and I read it in a couple of nights (somehow, I have less time to read now than in the past, where a Crais or Parker book would only take an evening). Maybe I’m a slower, more distracted reader these days.
The book also brings Lucy Chenier and her son Ben back into Cole’s life, and I was afraid they were brought back into the book so they could be taken by the bad people, but that’s not the case. My wife speculates that Crais is planning to wrap up the series and is tying up loose ends. Maybe. I dunno. I mean, I hope not, as I have enjoyed all the books (they lack that post-2001 turn into making the bad guys Republicans and delivering Important Messages that many series did). But it’s not like I’m lacking for things to read here.
So consider this a recommendation, and remember the story of how I acquired copies of Crais’ first published work.