Mystery writer Robert Crais certainly doesn't need my review to boost his popularity, but he's going to have it anyway. Crais is one of my very favorite authors, right up there with Robert B. Parker and Dick Francis. His Elvis Cole series keeps me smiling right on the edge of my seat--and wondering what Joe Pike would be like as a book boyfriend.
Something tells me that Pike's better left as a tantalizing mystery.
In Free Fall, we head back to the days of Miami Vice, or maybe just a few years later, when heavy, clunky cell phones filled big messenger bags and only the obscenely wealthy or obsessively self-important hauled them around.
Crais brings compassion and humanity to the stock gumshoe character. Sure, Elvis is tough and strong and a heck of a fighter. He's like Spenser in that way. Like Spense, he has an enigmatic sidekick. Spenser has Hawk, Elvis has Joe Pike. Like Spenser, Elvis pokes and prods and charms his way through ugly human crises and tragedies until something shakes free and targets him for removal.
The similarities are too striking to miss, making it obvious where Crais got his literary influence. However, Elvis is most definitely his own fully developed personality, despite the similarities, distinct from Spenser. Crais lets Parker's influence flavor his most recognized character, but doesn't allow that influence to outshine the character.