Robert Crais

Chasing Darkness

"..contains all the classic crime elements that have made Crais' series so admired and well loved"


The hills of Los Angeles are ablaze and as the Fire Department hurry to move the residents out a corpse - that of a middle aged loner - is found.

No one is sure whether his death was murder or suicide. Clasped in his lap is found a photographic album containing pictures of 7 young women. These young women were murdered with the photographs being taken not long after their deaths. A murder took place every year for seven years with their bodies being found all over the city. At the time the LAPD were unable to see the link between the murders. But now, with the discovery of the album, they realise that the murders are linked. This does not bode well for Elvis Cole. Why? Because only one person was ever charged with the murder and he got off as a result of information provided by Cole. It is his body that has been found in the fire.

Did the information supplied by Cole allow him to perpetrate three more killings with the result that three young women lost their lives? With the LAPD blaming Cole for the resulting deaths it is up to him to delve into what happened and confirm whether or not his original findings were right.

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Chasing Darkness is a novel of lean prose where not one word is wasted. Snappy and succinct are also words that come to mind when describing this novel. There is no clutter to distract you. Even Cole's girlfriend is relegated to a single phone call and is therefore not a distraction. There is a little bit of his sidekick, Joe Pike, but for the most part he is very much in the background. In Chasing Darkness we see Cole looking for answers that he finds hard to find. Mysterious things are happening. Papers are missing and, despite the fact that the killer is now dead, the police are still hunting for something and are reluctant to include everyone within the Department. Even through the murders he is looking into are torturous (if they had been written by someone else they could have seemed really gloomy), in Crais' capable hands they do not. Chasing Darkness is written from the first person point of view and this works especially well because of Cole's self-deprecating humour and the subtle and accomplished characterisation. The novel contains all the classic crime elements that have made Crais' series so admired and well loved. Furthermore, the addition of Carol Starkey and her witticisms also reminds us why this is such an excellent series. Chasing Darkness is one of those evocative novels that does not pull any punches, but is still fun and deadly serious in equal measure. This is certainly a book not to be missed and will be on any discerning crime fiction reader's list.

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