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The Monkey?s Raincoat ? An Elvis Cole Mystery
Robert Crais
Bantam Books 1992
Paperback 201 pages

"They say you think you're tough. They say you think you're cute. They say you think you're pretty good" is something said about a private eye with a menacing Black partner with a mysterious background who doesn't talk much. Spenser? No. Elvis Cole.

The Monkey's Raincoat is the first Elvis Cole mystery by Robert Crais. There are about ten or so in the series so far (2007) and, aside from The Last Detective -I haven't read The Forgotten Man– the books are quite enjoyable. In the first few novels, Elvis Cole is very close to Robert B. Parker's Spenser but as the series progresses and Crais lets his character evolve and grow -something Spenser cannot be accused of-Elvis Cole becomes much more original and interesting. Until he finds love, that is.

In The Monkey's Raincoat, Elvis Cole is hired by a woman to find her wayward husband and her son. Crais' mysteries are set in Los Angeles so it is no surprise that the first one deals with Hollywood and the darker side of the movie industry. The husband is an agent and it seems he has gotten in over his head with a disreputable producer. He has also been cheating on his wife.

Without revealing much about this Crais mystery novel, let's just say the husband is found dead and Cole decides to help the lady find her son even if he is pretty sure he is not going to get paid and the case involves Hollywood's favorite nose candy.

The body count is rather high in The Monkey's Raincoat, something that is not always the case the Elvis Cole series. Other good books in the series include pretty much everything up to but not including L.A. Requiem (Stalking the Angel, Lullaby Town, Free Fall, Voodoo River and Indigo Slam which I particularly enjoyed.  Sunset Express was also a bit of a downer in the series. Strangely enough, there is much less humor in the series as it progresses.

Although I can never get into it, you might want to check out Hostage, the book that was made into a Bruce Willis blow em up movie.

Other books in the Elvis Cole mystery series:

Stalking the Angel

Lullaby Town

Free Fall

Voodoo River

Indigo Slam