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The Monkey's Raincoat

(Elvis Cole and Joe Pike #1)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  23,644 ratings  ·  1,238 reviews
Taking the mystery community by storm, this Elvis Cole novel was nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, Shamus, and Macavity awards and won both the Anthony and Macavity for Best Novel of the Year.

When Ellen Lang's husband disappears with their son, she hires Elvis Cole to track him down. A quiet and seemingly submissive wife, Ellen can't even write a check without him. All she
Paperback, 237 pages
Published 1999 by Orion (first published July 1st 1987)
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Beverley Buehrer According to the New York Times, “The title comes from the Basho haiku quoted at the beginning of the novel: 'Winter downpour; / Even the monkey need…more According to the New York Times, “The title comes from the Basho haiku quoted at the beginning of the novel: 'Winter downpour; / Even the monkey needs a raincoat.' ... In Japanese haiku poetry, a 'monkey' represents a man, or the soul of a man ('man' being non-gender-specific). A raincoat is something with which you protect yourself.Nov 1, 2014(less)
Rita There is a lot of coarse language, violence, and sexual situations (without details). I believe this book is okay for mature teens (17-19) and adults.

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I hated the ‘80s. Hated them while I was living through them and twenty years later I still get slightly queasy when I think about that time. So when I was reading this book written in 1987, and the hero is bragging about wearing white jeans with a white jacket to cover up his shoulder holster, I leaned over and vomited with visions of Sonny Crockett dancing in my head. Fortunately, it got much better.

Robert Crais is one of those mystery writers I’ve been meaning to read for a while now. When I
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, mystery
If you've followed my reading recently, it's no secret I've been enjoying Robert Crais' Elvis Cole books. Somehow, I started with book three, Lullaby Town, perhaps because it was the first book in the series with an above four-star average. Thank goodness I did, because what a difference five years makes in personal changes and skill. Crais' first book, The Monkey's Raincoat, is full of one P.I. trope after another, with a 1980s plot ripped off from Miami Vice, and characters created with the de ...more
Em Lost In Books
I have been meaning to start this series since last year and had high hopes as many of my friends are Elvis Cole fan. But this didn't work for me.

Case was decent enough but there was just too many twists for a simple case. Cole didn't make a good first impression.

Hope second book will be better than this
Dan Schwent
Mort Lang runs off with his son, leaving his wife and daughters in the lurch. Elvis Cole is tapped to find him and promptly ends up in the middle of a plot involving two kilos of cocaine. Can Elvis find the drugs and find Mort and his son?

I have to admit that I wasn't sold on Elvis Cole at the beginning. He felt like a Spenser ripoff with some quirks thrown in for no reason. A wiseass detective that does yoga and is into Disney junk? Then Crais grabbed me and dragged me to the end of the winding
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great read!!!

I already have the 2nd book in the series.
James Thane
Mar 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
First published in 1987, this is the novel that introduced Los Angeles P.I. Elvis Cole and his taciturn sidekick, Joe Pike. As seems to be the case in eighty-five percent of P.I. novels, Cole is whiling away a quiet afternoon in his office when a woman appears who is in desperate need of his help. In this case, though, the woman, Ellen Lang, isn't exactly convinced that she needs Cole's help, but her friend, Janet Simon, is determined that Ellen does need help and that Cole may be the man to pro ...more
Bill Kerwin

Browbeaten into seeing a detective by her best friend Jane, Elvis Cole’s client Ellen Lang is still reluctant. She doesn’t wish to cause any trouble for her husband Mort—even though he’s cheating on her, even though he has threatened to leave. But now Mort has disappeared, and their son Perry has disappeared with him.

Elvis signs on to find them both, and soon discovers that talent agent Mort, desperate to keep his failing business afloat, has become involved with sketchy people with even sketch
May 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Book 1 in the Elvis Cole series first published 1987.

This had all the makings of a good read but suffered from an over abundance of unhumorous one-liners. To be fair they weren’t all bad one-liners but they were so constant it completely ruined the mood and tension that should have been there when a father had been killed and his son was abducted.
It’s necessary to inject some humour to add some light to what was a dark tale but this was just over the top, as far as I was concerned.

Ellen Lang’s
The Monkey's Raincoat: The P.I. Who Didn't Want to Grow Up

“ ‘Prove yourself brave, truthful, and unselfish, and someday you will be a real boy.’ The Blue Fairy said that. In Pinocchio.”- Elvis Cole Licensed Investigator, State of California

 photo blue-fairy-pinocchio--large-msg-130877503679_zpsk2vtfu80.jpg
A dream is a wish your heart makes...

Mr. Cole, this looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Yeah, with you and the big guy, Joe Pike. Don't tell him I said so. I don't want him to jump to the wrong conclusion. But, after all,
Jonathan Peto
Unless something surprising shapes up as I write this, I don't think I have anything new to add to the general consensus that other reviewers have established for this novel, the first mystery in a series that features private eyes Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. If you've read Robert B. Parker's novels, and I haven't, this may strike you as a rip-off, or so I've heard. However, it seems to be a good rip-off, the kind with promise, because the book starts well and gets better and better, apparently, wh ...more
May 23, 2013 rated it did not like it
This Cole novel is not up to par with other Cole stories with much better plots. There is nothing redeeming here. 1 of 10 stars
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“It's easy to sound good. All you do is leave in the parts where you act tough and forget the parts where you get shoved around.”

The first book in the Elvis Cole series is a delight to read. Full of witty comments from the wise-ass Cole and calm cool moments from his P.I. business partner Joe Pike, it's easy to see why this series has been around all these years. When a local Los Angeles talent agent and his son go missing, Cole undertakes the case on behalf of his wife, only to be thrown into a
This is the first book in the Elvis Cole series and the first book by the author that I have read. The book was originally published in 1987 and feels dated when you read it. In addition to things like pay phones it comes across like one of those television PI's from the 1970's or 80's. Magnum P.I. or Rockford. The setting is LA and the author wrote scripts for television so I guess that is understandable. The characters are not very well developed.

We meet Elvis Cole in his office staring at his
Brian Johnson
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't have much of a review except to say: I really enjoyed this noir L. A. mystery in the tradition of Chandler and Hammett written in a more contemporary style. Crais's prose is spare, and the dialogue is savage. Private dick, Elvis Cole is a deadpan smartass who isn't afraid to push his luck for a client, and his psycho partner Joe Pike is as charming as he is scary. The mystery here concerns a missing husband and son, but I can't really say more without spoiling the twists and turns of thi ...more
Ryan Mishap
Nov 14, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery-crime
The start of the Elvis Cole series and supposedly a popular, well-done mystery. This was bad. The mystery wasn't that interesting, the female characters not very believable, and the hero is a dick--and I don't mean that like as a detective.
For example, he doesn't like his client's friend because she is apparently a strong woman who thinks her friend is wasting her time. So Elvis, to get her to shut up, says, "I'd like to pour choclate on you and lick it off." Now, would anybody ever say that?
The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon)
I started with Elvis Cole #13, which was actually Joe Pike #1. As the second book of the series, I liked Joe Pike #1 best. Having said that, this was a walk in the past for me. I'd call it an entertaining story, more your basic Magnum P.I./Mike Hammer Gumshoe detective novel. Perhaps more along the lines of "Rockford Files" with a more active and ass-kicking, younger James Garner.

What a walk down memory lane, where consensual sex with strangers was possible, people actually used pay phones with
Nov 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
Set in the Hollywood of the 1980s this feels a bit dated, but only because it was written then as the debut novel of screenwriter Robert Crais, who wrote scripts for Hill Street Blues and Miami Vice amongst others so it has that authentic 1980s feel about it. At first Crais' PI, Elvis Cole seems like a wise-cracking smart-arse but he grows on you as his smart, compassionate side comes out. Apart from quoting Jiminny Cricket and being a yoga and martial arts practitioner, Cole is a Vietnam vet wh ...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
Mort Lang disappears after picking up his 5-year-old son Perry from school. Mort runs a Hollywood talent agency. Ellen Lang, a homemaker who has never written out a check or paid a bill, scared to death, is dragged by her best friend, Janet Simon, into Elvis Cole's office.

Cole is a private detective. He partners with another Vietnam vet, Joe Pike. Pike is a seriously PTSD-damaged Vietnam vet, no longer able to do the social niceties.

Ellen and Mort have two other children, Cindy and Carrie, who
Mike (the Paladin)
Nov 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: action
My first introduction to Robert Crais' work was through the Joe Pike character. Having read several of the books and being "introed" to Elvis Cole, I (true to my usual form) went back and got the first volume.

Pretty good book. Related in first person rather than third as the Pike books were/are we get Cole's voice telling the story. Pike in the first book I read told one of their client's that "Elvis thinks he's funny"'s true, he does. Cracking jokes along the way Elvis chronicles the story
Linda ~ they got the mustard out! ~
Hm... Well, I had to skim the last 15% to finish this. The writing is decently competent but I felt like the book just dragged on a bit too long. Cole is attempting to be a wise-cracking smartass, but he falls short of the mark, and that was before he slept with his client and her best friend. Pike is supposed to be this dour muscleman type with a heart of gold. They both come across more anti-hero than hero though, going all vigilante in order to bring their case to a satisfying closing, but th ...more
Apr 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just love good authors' first books... The rough, often unsure or clichéd start, the growing confidence, and then the finding of their true voice. Truly magic.

Crais's first book is this way in the first third, a bit overwrought and familiar, with too much genre-imitation. The second third rings more true, more relaxed and natural, his true voice gaining power.

And BLAM, the final third coming on heroic and gang-busters and confident. A masterpiece of L.A. noir, with villains and heroes, damsel
Aug 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
When Ellen Lang walks into Elvis Cole detective agency she asks him to find her missing husband Mort & their son Perry as they are nowhere to be found the case seems simple enough but Elvis isn't thrilled neither is his partner & gun dealer Joe Pike.

Their search down the seamy side of Hollywood's studios lots & sculpted lawns leads them deep into a nasty world drugs, sex & murder. Everybody from cops to starlets & crooks turn on Elvis & Pike, i found this to be okay but i thought it dragged a bi
Scott Rhee
Feb 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robert Crais published his first novel featuring his now-famous L.A. private detective, Elvis Cole, in 1987. "The Monkey's Raincoat" was an instant success, garnering nearly every single award for the mystery genre, including nominations for the Edgar and Shamus (which, in the mystery writer's world is akin to the Oscar and the Golden Globe). He deserved every single accolade. Cole is (like Robert Parker's Spenser, who is his most obvious literary blood-brother) a lovable, wise-cracking detectiv ...more
Mar 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of hard-boiled detective fiction
What drew me to read this was a review from Orson Scott Card recommending the latest Elvis Cole novel by Robert Crais, but since I like to read things in order, I decided to start with The Monkey's Raincoat instead of Taken.

Despite the protagonist's propensity to dress like a Miami Vice extra, and his obsession with Disney trinkets (the reasons for which are not adequately explored), I enjoyed this 80s-era detective story on steroids, which culminated in a finale that read like the climax of Arn
Jan 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: robert-crais
Not so long ago I read my first Robert Crais book "the Two Minute Rule" and simply adored it. The humanity of the characters touched me greatly. I wanted to read more Robert Crais and so I started to read the Elvis Cole books in the right order and I'm glad I purchased the first three (so far).
This introduction to the Elvis Cole series is a highly entertaining read. The outstanding characters make up for an average plot. I enjoy how well the author pulls off the combo of the taciturn Pike and t
Mar 15, 2013 rated it liked it
That was a fun thriller with a couple of very memorable characters. I see Joe Pike has his own series & I'm intrigued. Luckily, I got the first 2 of his series with this book. Hopefully there won't be as many attempts at humor. They got rather flat after a while.

The writing wasn't bad. Good action scenes, but I didn't appreciate all the road directions through L.A.. They didn't mean a thing to me. Maybe if I knew the area. As it was, they read like filler.

All in all, it was fun.
Sean Peters
Hello friends,

My first Robert Crais book, many author friends recommended Robert Crais to me. His main character is this Elvis Cole, a PI, with a sense of humour, with lightens the book and the reading.

The reason for three stars, well after so many gripping, fast paced, tense and powerful stories of recent reads by David Baldacci, Simon Kernick, Lee Childs, Daniel Silva, Sharon Bolton, Karin Slaughter this was a little lightweight, no strong villains, no strong twists, no shocks, no brutal murde
S.P. Aruna
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first of the Elvis Cole series.
When Cole takes on a job to find missing husband Mort and young son Perry for housewife Ellen Lang, it looks like a simple case of a husband running away with his son. But of course, things are more complicated, eventually leading to a despicable Hollywood agent and a high profile Mexican criminal.

For crime fiction readers, we have seen plenty of these formula books, right up to Nelson DeMille . The protagonist a wisecracking private investigator, who exhibits
Jan 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Better than the first time around. I love these guys as much and in a different way than Spenser and Hawk. Spenser and Hawk have a tough guy relationship, but more funny than tough. Elvis and Joe have a one sided funny relationship, but both never give an inch when the sh!t hits the fan. I love Joe's arrows...always move forward! Great book and great series! ...more
Debbi Mack
Feb 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-reads
At Sleuthfest one year, I remember author Robert Crais giving a speech about how he published his first novel. It was a private eye novel released at a time when the word was that the private eye novel was dead. That novel, THE MONKEY'S RAINCOAT went on to win the Anthony and Macavity Awards and get nominated for the Edgar and Shamus Awards. Some dead genre, huh? :)

The book launched a successful series of mysteries featuring detective Elvis Cole (yes, Elvis) who (according to the back of the boo
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Play Book Tag: The Monkey's Raincoat / Robert Crais - 3.5*** 2 16 Nov 06, 2016 04:44AM  

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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

Other books in the series

Elvis Cole and Joe Pike (1 - 10 of 18 books)
  • 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 Last Detective (Elvis Cole, #9)
  • The Forgotten Man (Elvis Cole, #10)
  • The Watchman (Elvis Cole, #11; Joe Pike, #1)

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“It's easy to sound good. All you do is leave in the parts where you act tough and forget the parts where you get shoved around.” 16 likes
“ ‘Prove yourself brave, truthful, and unselfish, and someday you will be a real boy.’ The Blue Fairy said that. In Pinocchio.” 4 likes
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