|I'm not going to rehash the plot of the book. It's
too well-constructed to give you any spoilers, and it's too twisty to do
justice to that way anyway.
What i am going to say is that this is the first book in i-don't-know-when
that i was literally unable to put down. Once i got past a certain point,
everything in my life went on hold until, a couple hours later, i emerged
triumphantly at the end of the story.
Let me warn you *not* to expect the same sort of story Crais has been giving
us so well with Elvis Cole and Joe Pike -- though there have been hints of
darkness in the Pike character and in the most recent book ("L.A. Requiem")
particularly, the Cole mysteries are still pretty open, sunny stories.
Not this one.
This one is dark and closed in and twisty and it takes you down to where
the worms and the bugs and the other dark things live and it shows 'em to
you; Crais is working the edges of Ellroy country here, and it may be disturbing
to some people (though i didn't find myself with the feeling that i'd been
swimming in lukewarm slime that i usually have after reading Ellroy).
Carol Starkey, who is still trying to come to grips with having been dead
for three minutes after a bomb she was working went off, is a sad, sick,
brave cop who carries on because The Job is all that's left of her life.
"Mr Red", the serial bomber who hunts cops, identified by ATF as the maker
of the bomb that kills an LA cop to begin the story, is one of the scariest
characters i've encountered in a long time. ATF Special Agent Pell, who works
the case with Starkey, is almost as scary as Red.
And the world of explosives freaks and their computer interactions that we're
shown is *really* scary, because they're *really* believable.
Judging by the preview for Crais's next book in the back of this paperback,
he intends to continue this darker and heavier trend and to not return to
Cole and Pike for a while, which is fine; after "L.A.Requiem", Pike and Cole
need some time off.
If you can stand a somewhat dark and depressing setting, this is one hell
of a good read that you ought to try.