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The best of the Elvis Cole stories
am 22. Mai 2000
The catch is, *L. A. Requiem* is Crais' best book, but it's about Joe Pike. But if I had read *Voodoo River* first, I'd have been able to understand all the fuss over Crais a bit better. He's been compared to Robert B. Parker far too often, by people who should know better. Crais imitates Parker's methods badly. His jokes are not as good, and Cole is, well, just not all that loveable.
*Voodoo River* brings to the front another big influence that Crais needs to study a bit more, James Lee Burke. They may both be Cajun boys, but Burke is in no danger of losing his preeminence. Dave Robicheaux is Cole with a serious set of post-Vietnam demons, and a lot more interesting for it. And while we're about it, Crais should read less Carl Haissen. The snapping turtle borders on plagiarism.
Did I say I liked this book? Cole is more engaging here than in any of the other novels, and that's partially because he falls madly, Spenserly in love with an absolutely delightful woman, Lucy Chenier. The plot, such as it is, is rehashed Burke (an innocent inquiry about an adoption uncovers a race murder a generation ago).
But that's unfair. If you haven't read Parker, Burke, or Haissen, this will seem fresh and fun. That's the best I can do.