Indigo Slam: An Elvis Cole Novel
When fifteen-year-old Teri Hewitt pleads with Elvis to find the father who abandoned her and her two younger siblings, his first reaction is to turn the case over to the California department of social services. But when he sees that Teri has the lives and care of her little family well in hand, he decides to take the job, asking Joe Pike to help him keep an eye on the kids. The missing dad, Clark Hewitt, is an unemployed printer whose personal history is hard to pin down; as Elvis investigates, the image of Hewitt that emerges indicates a chronically unemployed drug addict who slums through the criminal world, not a bona fide printer but a master counterfeiter.
The clues soon send Elvis to Hewitt’s home town, Seattle, where Elvis runs afoul of both the newly emerging Russian Mafia and U.S. Federal Marshals as he discovers more about the elusive deadbeat dad. In the meantime, Lucy Chenier comes to L.A. to interview for a television job she wants badly. This will mean her moving to Elvis’s town, and will cement the seriousness of their relationship. But things get complicated when her ex-husband shows up at Elvis’s office, claiming that Lucy still loves him and that he won’t permit her to leave Louisiana. Just as Joe Pike has just about had it with babysitting, the bad guys converge in a breathtaking chase at Disneyland, and the novel comes to its unbearably suspenseful climax.
With characteristic hilarity and wit, Robert Crais makes Indigo Slam his most compelling book yet.
Readers who complain that there’s too much wisecracking and cute icon worship in Robert Crais’s books about Los Angeles private eye Elvis Cole will be glad to find these traits downplayed (but not totally disappeared) in this story about Cole’s search for a missing printer whose specialty is funny money. The book is centered by the presence of the printer’s three children—especially the motherly 15-year-old Teri and the obnoxious 12-year-old Charles—who hire Elvis from the phone book. Cole, hoping to become the stepfather of the son of his own lady love, gets sucked in by the children’s combination of need and family unity, and soon finds himself in the middle of a shooting war between Russian gangsters, Vietnamese patriots, and ambiguous Federal agents. Previous Elvis outings in paperback: Sunset Express, Free Fall, Lullaby Town, The Monkey’s Raincoat, Stalking the Angel, Voodoo River.
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Laid-back shamus Elvis Cole goes after a father who’s run out on his kids—then finds out that they were a lot safer when their dad was away. Crais’s seventh novel, his most tense and inventive yet, still manages to be as sunny as the first six. —Tom Leitch