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The Last Detective (Elvis Cole #9)

4.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  12,304 Ratings  ·  347 Reviews
P.I. Elvis Cole’s relationship with attorney Lucy Chenier is strained. Then the unthinkable happens. While Lucy is away on business and her ten-year-old son Ben is staying with Elvis, the boy vanishes without a trace. When the kidnappers call, it’s not for ransom, but for a promise to punish Cole for past sins he claims he didn’t commit. With the LAPD wrestling over the ca ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published March 30th 2004 by Ballantine Books (first published February 18th 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dan Schwent
Nov 06, 2012 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it
When his girlfriend's son is kidnapped right out from under his nose, Elvis Cole goes into overdrive to find him. Ben's kidnappers seem to be tied to Elvis's past as a Ranger in Vietnam, forcing Elvis to relive his early days. Can Elvis and Joe find Ben before the kidnappers kill him?

Crais keeps the momentum going from L.A. Requiem and once again, Elvis and Joe wind up in the soup. Instead of Pike, The Last Detective focuses on Elvis' past, from never knowing his father to his "free spirited" m
I started this book at bed time thinking that I’d read a couple of chapters before shutting off the light. I ended up reading almost a 100 pages before reluctantly putting it down to get some sleep. So I’m gonna go ahead and put this one in in my personal Page Turner Hall of Fame.

Elvis Cole is babysitting his girlfriend Lucy’s son, Ben, but the kid gets snatched when Elvis takes his eyes off him for like 17 seconds. Then comes a phone call in which the kidnapper tells Elvis that Ben was taken as
Jan 25, 2014 Tom rated it it was amazing
Best book I've read in 2014 thus far!
Jul 14, 2016 Marti rated it really liked it
Lots of violence associated with the kidnapping of Ben, Lucy Chenier's son. Luckily, Elvis has his buddy, Joe Pike, for backup.
Oct 25, 2014 Jerry rated it it was ok
We've been slowly reading Crais' bibliography, and now wish we had done so in order, as in this book, the same Lucy leading man (PI) Elvis Cole met in Voodoo River has now moved to be with Elvis in California. When Lucy's son Ben is abducted while Elvis is babysitting, and soon a threat is made regarding Elvis' past exploits long ago in Viet Nam, it mars their relationship to say the least. When Lucy's ex-husband Richard gets involved, with his own "security" forces and apparently unlimited reso ...more
May 18, 2012 David rated it really liked it
This is a very uneven effort by Robert Crais. There are some great things about the book, and others that are not very good.

On the negative side, Crais does what a lot of authors seem to want to do these days, shifting from first person to third person, back and forth. Maybe some readers enjoy that, but for this reader, it creates a feeling of swerving from one voice to another. This gets exacerbated at the end of the book where Crais shifts viewpoints among the different characters. It is conf
Mar 17, 2013 Harry rated it really liked it
Ok, a few rambling thoughts on Robert Crais. Who is this guy, where'd he come from, how'd he get so popular? Well the first thing to know is that Crais is not from California at all. He is a native of Louisiana, grew up in a blue collar family, and read his first crime novel The Little Sister when he was 15. And that's all it took. Chandler gave him his love for writing. Other authors that have inspired him were Hammett, Hemingway (seems like that's true of all the crime writers), Parker, and St ...more
Oct 30, 2013 Cindy rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I'll give it 3.5 because I really do like his stories. But there were a few flaws that bugged me. I know that Crais is not a California native, but he has supposedly lived in Los Angeles for more than 30 years now. So to depict his driving scenes as something you'd see in New York more than LA was irritating.

I also noticed that I figured out the whodunit fairly early in this one. I don't know if that's because I'm getting used to his style, or if he just didn't leave enough intrigue this time ar
Dec 06, 2015 Jan rated it really liked it
Detective Elvis Cole is taking care of his girlfriends son Ben, while she is away on business. Ben is very interested in Cole's prior military service, and he lets Ben have one of his medals. A Silver Star. Ben goes outside to play and is kidnapped.

Detective Cole is under suspicion as the kidnapper talks about his service overseas, Cole is sure he does not know this person, and finds out that Ben's father has had a court order to release his records. Somehow the child's father is involved.

Aug 27, 2014 Bobbi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime-detective
Neither Cole nor Pike are at their best in this one. Cole spends most of it in a sleep-deprived mania edging on panic, and Pike spends most of it lurking in the shadows. But at the end of the day, these two are still the best at what they do, whether that means crashing through a standard police procedural to an action-packed gun battle to the death or using regular old detective skills to unravel a suspicious kidnapping to unearth the real culprit, someone who has made the stupidest mistake of ...more
Tim Niland
Mar 29, 2015 Tim Niland rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-reads
Private Detective Elvis Cole is on the outs with his girlfriend, a high powered legal consultant. She attempts to make amends by leaving her young son Ben in Cole's care while she is away on business. The guys get along well, but Ben will withdraw at times to play on the hillside or become engrossed in video games. While Cole prepares dinner, Ben wanders off and doesn't come back when Cole calls him. Cole frantically searches the house and surrounding neighborhood, but the boy is nowhere to be f ...more
May 13, 2016 Shawn rated it it was amazing
Although I am not sure what the 'last detective' means, this was a thrilling read from cover to cover. Crais stretches his characters, Cole and Pike especially, to the breaking point. It'll be interesting to see how the events of this book affect the characters going forward. The narrative structure adds to the suspense as well. Crais switches points of view and also from 1st to 3rd person from chapter to chapter.

Crais continues to develop Pike: giving him more backstory and the reader more ins
Jim Thomas
Aug 25, 2015 Jim Thomas rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2015
This is the best detective novel I've read this year. Elvis Cole is great and his sidekick, Joe Pike is the coolest of the cool. The only mysteries that may equal this one are the Ken Bruen, Jack Taylor novels. Love Jack Taylor. Alcoholic, drug addict and all round screw up who somehow helps people despite all his problems.

The Last Detective is what this review is so I must say it grabbed me from the first with detective Elvis Cole having a child stolen right from under his nose. His girlfriend'
Aug 26, 2013 Johnny rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
It seems like, every so often, I manage to read some Robert Crais novels out of order. In this case, it’s because The Last Detective seemed to suggest that I read the book later than The Lost Man. I know, I know, the problem could be solved by either purchasing the books as soon as they come out or just simply looking at the copyright dates. You’d think someone who reads as much as I do and who has the audacity to type about them would bother doing such a simple little thing. But I didn’t! As a ...more
Mark Soone
Apr 01, 2013 Mark Soone rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was by far my favorite in the Elvis Cole series, and it has a much darker feel than his previous ones. It is more similar to the ones where joe Pike is the lead charcer, and enjoyably enough for me Pike does play a larger role. This also contains the background deal Pike made, that he fulfills in the Watchman.

Cole and Lucy along with Ben settle down to life in LA. Whild child sitting Ben while Lucy is out of town, Ben is abducted while in the care of Cole. Add in the return of Lucy's ex, an
Nov 18, 2008 Michelle rated it it was ok
Shelves: suspense
This book really isn't very good. The plot is thin and the characters are cardboard. I should give it 1 star, but I am giving it 2 thanks to the following description of the LA River, which I think is brilliant and true:

"The Los Angeles River is small, but mean. People who don't know the truth of it make fun of our river; all they see is a tortured trickle that snakes along a concrete gutter like some junkie's vein. They don't know that we put the river in concrete to save ourselves; they don't
Where L.A. Requiem, in my opinion, is Joe Pike’s defining book, The Last Detective is Elvis Cole’s defining book. In a series of “flashbacks” alternating with the current events of the novel (tracking down the men who kidnapped the son of Elvis’ girlfriend), the reader is exposed to some of the events that happened to Elvis while he was in Vietnam.

The Last Detective was a very enjoyable read and I found it very satisfying. Then writing was clear and concise. In a tense situation involving Elvis
May 08, 2015 GymGuy rated it really liked it
Not quite as good as LA Requiem. I thought the "detecting" by Cole was weak. Some of the things he ended up doing were things he should have done much sooner. I also thought that Pike was really the stronger character. The first couple Pike books I read, I really didn't like the character, but as Pike becomes more human and vulnerable, I enjoy him more.

There's a lot more background about both Cole and Pike, it just makes both characters more enjoyable. For me, just knowing that they are damaged
Tim Warner
Jan 03, 2012 Tim Warner rated it it was amazing this guy good! I have about 75 more pages and but this is a burner that's for sure. I am so hooked on Robert Crais that it's pathetic.

Finished... but I jumped so quickly into the next Crais book that I forgot what this is even about. Fortunately I can take a look because I didn't take it back yet to the library. Oh yes, this is where Cole's girlfriend's son is kidnapped.

I don;'t know how these guys can come up with stuff that grips us and won't let us go and won't disappoint us and make
Jun 22, 2014 Tom rated it really liked it
Elvis Cole's girlfriend and son are moving to LA to be with him. Then Ben, her son, disappears when Elvis is looking after him. The kidnapper phones ....

This is darker than some of the others in the series, but very well-written all the same
Sep 17, 2015 Marianne rated it really liked it
Robert Crais did it again! Great story - page turner - started and finished in one day ... Elvis, you really are one of my fictional heroes!! Gonna start #10 in a few days .....
Jul 03, 2014 James rated it it was ok
Shelves: thriller, fiction
Pure escapism which left me a little cold. Mercenary psychos, emotionally haunted and increasingly knackered good guys, innocent victims, dumb rich guys, good cops and bad ex cops inflict awfulness upon eachother. As everyone goes through the creaking paces, they make sure at all times to stick within the narrow constraints of their characters, when the plucky types need to be they show pluck, when the evil ones are called upon they are unfailingly evil. Every now again everyone stops to make su ...more
Oct 20, 2015 Kathy rated it really liked it
Gripping and fast paced. I love Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. The last 1/4 of the book was a real page turner!
Race-against-time thrillers always start at a disadvantage with me, and that disadvantage doubles if it's because there's a child in peril. But Crais pulls it off here, largely because he takes the opportunity to show us more than shootouts and car chases. His exploration of Cole's military service is both haunting and moving, and how the events of the book change Cole's relationships with those he loves is a whole lot more true to life than you typically find in such books. Cole's not as funny ...more
Jay Noricks
Aug 30, 2015 Jay Noricks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I love the prose. I love the plotting. I love the author's comprehension of attachment wounds. The series is more carefully crafted than those of Michael Connelly and Lee Child, both of which I also enjoy.
Jun 01, 2016 Carol added it
First of all, I have to tell you that I really don't like stories where the plot involves kidnapped children. It makes me queasy and I rarely finish a novel that seems headed in that direction. Then why have I given this (excellent) novel four stars? Well, the story is so much more than its bones, and the characters are so complex and real that their individual stories and inner workings kept me turning the pages. The relationship between Elvis and Lucy is so perfectly developed that I forgot th ...more
Feb 06, 2016 Deborah rated it liked it
A happy accident!

I logged in to my library’s website to check out Robert Crais’ The Last Detective, then thought no more about until I picked it up to start reading. Wait a minute. Where’s the hero I was expecting? There’s no Elvis Cole here. Check the cover...who's this Peter Lovesey dude?

A good writer, as it turns out.

I went back and checked out the book I was originally after, paying attention to the author's name this time, and read one Last Detective after the other, back to back. They ar
May 23, 2013 Cindy rated it really liked it
Reread the book this week; to my delight, it was immediately available to borrow in kindle format from the library. However, it was as painful a story as I remembered from reading it years ago. The son of Elvis Cole's fiance is kidnapped from his house, while in his care. Said fiance has just relocated from New Orleans to be with Elvis--to the chagrin of her wealthy and powerful ex-husband. Bad times for the World's Greatest Detective--and his buddy Joe Pike isn't too happy either.
Aug 20, 2015 Ed rated it really liked it
#9 in the LA PI Elvis Cole series.

LA PI Elvis Cole series - Elvis Cole's relationship with attorney Lucy Chenier is strained. When she moved from Louisiana to join Elvis in Los Angeles, she never dreamed that violence would so easily touch her life -- but then the unthinkable happens. While Lucy is away on business and her ten-year-old son, Ben, is staying with Elvis, Ben disappears without a trace. Desperate to believe that the boy has run away, evidence soon mounts to suggest a much darker sce
Aug 08, 2014 Harry007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: la-crime
This is a terrible crime novel. It has some of the worst writing I've ever encountered. Previously I'd read another book by this author which utilised the same characters, and I enjoyed it, so I gave another book a go. What I got was a poor offering. I guess you could say I was tricked somewhat by the cool cover, but as soon as I started reading, I just sensed the author was churning this series entry out for the sake of it. The story is crap. Most of what happens is completely uninspired and bo ...more
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bononohs book club: The Last Detective Chapters 15-21 2 6 Feb 25, 2014 08:56PM  
bononohs book club: The Last Detective Chapters 8-14 2 6 Feb 14, 2014 09:01PM  
bononohs book club: The Last Detective Chapters 1-7 2 7 Feb 11, 2014 09:07AM  
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Robert Crais is the author of the best-selling Elvis Cole novels. A native of Louisiana, he grew up on the banks of the Mississippi River in a blue collar family of oil refinery workers and police officers. He purchased a secondhand paperback of Raymond Chandler’s The Little Sister when he was fifteen, which inspired his lifelong love of writing, Los Angeles, and the literature of crime fiction. ...more
More about Robert Crais...

Other Books in the Series

Elvis Cole (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • The Monkey's Raincoat (Elvis Cole, #1)
  • Stalking the Angel (Elvis Cole, #2)
  • Lullaby Town (Elvis Cole, #3)
  • Free Fall (Elvis Cole, #4)
  • Voodoo River (Elvis Cole, #5)
  • Sunset Express (Elvis Cole, #6)
  • Indigo Slam (Elvis Cole, #7)
  • L.A. Requiem (Elvis Cole, #8)
  • The Forgotten Man (Elvis Cole, #10)
  • The Watchman (Elvis Cole, #11; Joe Pike, #1)

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“Adults always wonder what to say and how to say it when they're talking to a child. You want to be wise, but all you are is a child yourself in a larger body. Nothing is ever what it seems. The things that you think you know are never certain. I know that now. I wish that I didn't, but I do.” 32 likes
“People want you to be ordinary.” 28 likes
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