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Voodoo River

(Elvis Cole/Joe Pike #5)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  11,023 ratings  ·  401 reviews
L.A. private eye Elvis Cole is hired by popular television star Jodie Taylor to delve into her past and identify the biological parents who gave her up for adoption thirty-six years before. Cole's assignment is to find out their biological history and report back.

It seems all too clear cut. But when he gets to Louisiana and begins his search, he finds that there's somethin
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 2nd 2000 by Orion Paperbacks (first published June 2nd 1995)
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4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,023 ratings  ·  401 reviews

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Crais surprised me again. Not so much with the mystery as a very sweet subplot that I didn't expect in a mystery-thriller. Connections from the last book have given Elvis more referrals from the movie world, and a famous small-screen actress Jodi Taylor is looking for the parents who gave her up as an infant. The trail takes Elvis to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, giving readers a change from the familiar L.A. scene.

When Elvis landed in a small town and started getting a feel for the place, I felt like
Dan Schwent
Feb 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elvis Cole is hired to find the birth parents of a TV star. He and Pike head to Baton Rouge and quickly uncover more than they bargained for. Can Cole and Pike find Jodie Taylor's birth parents and leave Lousiana with their hides intact?

It's been a lot time since my last Robert Crais book. Too long, in fact. Voodoo River is a prime example of why I stuck with Crais despite my initial impression that he was ripping off Robert B. Parker's Spenser.

In this outing, Cole's case takes him to Louisiana
Sep 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nothing deep or convoluted here. Just a basic, entertaining mystery. I listened to this book and I'm having trouble with the narrator's voice. It's just not how I've imagined Elvis Cole.
Elvis Cole - Cajun style!

Jodi Taylor is an actress starring on a hit TV show who was adopted. She hires Elvis to track down her birth parents but claims she just wants her medical history. Elvis journeys to Louisiana, but what seems like a routine case soon turns into a tangled mess of blackmail and murder.

Robert Crais is originally from Louisiana, and he brings some real depth to his depiction of the area and it’s people. You can feel the humidity as he describes Elvis making his way through ba
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
2nd read - Enjoyable Crais story, with Elvis in the middle of the Hollywood elite and their lies, and the Louisiana smuggling of illegal immigrants. A blossoming love story starts with Lucy, a beautiful, smart lawyer with a son, who is Elvis' liaison down South. Thankfully, he has Pike to drolly pull his fat from the fire.

1st read - Elvis is hired by a Hollywood agent to investigate the birth family of a famous television actress. He heads to Louisiana, and along the way encounters boudin sausa
John Culuris
May 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Private Investigator Elvis Cole’s fifth outing is reputed to be one of Crais’ best. Ostensibly about a search for the medical history of a popular TV actress who was adopted as a child, once in her home state of Louisiana Cole finds things are more complicated than expected. The process of the untangling her past brings to light other reprehensible activities permeating a small parish about an hour outside of Baton Rouge. It is the early stages of the investigation that keeps this from being a g ...more
Rex Fuller
Dec 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very good read. Elvis goes to Baton Rouge to help an adoptee find her birth parents. He begins his relationship with Lucy Chenier, which carries forward in ups and downs for the remainder of the series. When he discovers his client is being blackmailed, he brings Joe Pike to the scene. You just know, it being Louisiana, that double-cross is coming. And you just know that Joe will somehow rescue Elvis from a seemingly hopeless situation. If you like Crais, you will like this one too.
Maureen DeLuca
I'm being kind with the 3 star read. I added 1 star cause I just love the Elvis Cole character. Nothing really that great here, just your typical Hollywood gal wanting to know who here real parents are.. blah..blah..blah.... I will admit, I skimmed through a lot of this book- but, I am reading them in order so I hope the next one will be good. Can't believe this book was published in 1995! And the series is still going strong.
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
I was really disappointed with this outing in the Elvis Cole series. The plot was too convoluted, the writing poor, the ending rushed and, due to it's setting in Louisiana, it was uncomfortably obvious that the author doesn't compare favourably to the brilliance of James Lee Burke's Robicheaux series. Even the humour was flat in this one: seriously, how many times do we need reference to Joe Pike's aloof manner?

I'll still persevere with this series as I have enjoyed the previous books. I just ho
An inventive and thoughtful plot. Pulling into clarity and full definition the range and depth of racism in the USA, and the heartbreak, endless emptying of souls, and complete absurdity of it. In Crais' novel 'good' people are trapped by racism's taint, not just in the South, but on Happy Nordic TV.

Our LA based detective with the made-for-TV name Elvis Cole is sent to Louisiana on one task which morphs into a bigger and much uglier one, or many. Elvis is a mid-1990s Bogart with a tad of Groucho
Enjoyed this one by Crais, especially because we get to meet Lucille Chenier, who will be a key figure in future Elvis Cole adventures. I'll give Voodoo River 3 Stars as we do have to wait to the very end for the inevitable action. Joe Pike is here, always a great partner to have when the stuff hits the fan. Can't tell you the criminal action at the root of the story but the action begins when a Hollywood star hires Elvis to find out what happened in the past. A good read.
Returning to my reading of Robert Crais's Elvis Cole/Joe Pike series, I've reached entry number five, Voodoo River. I think it may be my favorite so far, although it's hard to say just why that is.

It follows the by now familiar formula. Elvis, "The World's Greatest Detective," is hired by someone in trouble, usually a beautiful woman, to extricate her from that trouble. He noodles around doing his detecting thing until he more or less stumbles into a theory of what's going on and how to solve th
May 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: c, 2013
Hired to uncover the past of Jodi Taylor, an actress in a hit TV show, Elvis leaves his native Los Angeles to head for Louisiana in search of Jodi's biological parents. But before he can tackle the mystery of the actress's background, he is up against a whole host of eccentrics, including a crazed Raid-spraying housewife, a Cajun thug who looks like he's been made out of spare parts, and a menacing hundred-year-old river turtle named Luther. As Elvis learns about the enigma
Nov 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mar-16
Book 5 in the Elvis Cole series and another great read!
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nothing to dislike here. Crais' detective Elvis Cole is a likeable, wise-cracking presence in a serviceable mystery with the usual healthy dollop of violence towards the end of the novel. Cole's sidekick, Joe Pike, is as enigmatic as ever and the supporting cast engaging. Moving Cole out of his comfort zone and into the deep south is interesting, even if there are times the novel starts to read more like a foodie travelogue.
Professionally written and the author makes it easy to forgive the plent
Barbara Talbott
Nov 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Elvis Cole is hired by television star, Jodie Taylor, to discover her biological parents who gave her up for adoption 36 years ago. A simple adoption investigation turns into something much more. He discovers illegal immigration and much more. Exciting book. Elvis meets Lucy Chenier, a lawyer in Baton Rouge, who will be his love interest in future books.
Marty Fried
Good mix of humor, seriousness, and sadness. Addresses some issues of adoption that most of us probably never thought about. I think Cole's humor fits in well, without going overboard. And Pike's humor, is as usual, very subtle and understated.

Also, The talk about the Louisiana cuisine made me hungry. I have some family there, and have visited a few times, but I had never even heard of boudin sausage, but it sounds really good.
C.C. Thomas
Feb 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
I am a huge Elvis Cole fan. I think he is probably my favorite detective and this is my favorite series, so perhaps I am a bit biased with this review.

But, WOW! This is, by far the best one in the series so far. I love it when a series gets better and better rather than petering out like a limp firework.

Elvis has been hired by a superstar who wants to know the truth about her biological family. What Elvis uncovers is a multi-generational tragedy filled with racism. I was just expecting your typi
Tim Warner
Jan 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Well, I think this is a good book for me to read or anyone who has gotten into Robert Crais in the new millenium and wants to see the beginnings of Elvis, his relationship with Lucy Chenier, and how he and Joe worked together in the really tight situations. In other words this is a good foundational book for what has come later and lately from Robert Crais.

One thing I noticed this time. Robert Crais is such a good writer and knows where the plot is going and what the character are up to that it
Cathy DuPont
Nov 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes a shamus' work.
Liked it a lot but I just like Crais' writing, period. This was introduced Lucy which is Elvis' love interest and I like her, too. Elvis is such a great character, just love the guy. One sentence when he was talked about Pike made me just laugh out loud. I love it when I read something that makes me laugh like that. Re-read the paragraph a couple of time, and yes, it was, to me, a laugh out loud couple of sentences. With that said, wish I knew how to give 1/2 star because I would if I could, bum ...more
Morgan St.
Jun 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved it! This was an early Elvis Cole novel--the once where he meets Lucy, the attorney who captures his heart, and her young son. Characters are well-drawn, the story keeps the reader turning pages. It is everything that makes Robert Crais one of my favorite writers. I must admit I am influenced by him as I see some of his techniques occasionally turning up in my own work. I highly recommend this book.
Aug 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-series
This starts out as a lame-ish mystery about an adopted woman's origins and ends up in a different place as a suspenseful, moving story about smuggling illegals from Central America. Elvis travels to Louisiana to investigate the adoption of tv star Jodi Taylor and, among southern eccentrics and tough guys, he meets Lucy Chenier, the lawyer he falls in love with.
Apr 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
If I rated books in absolute terms of pure enjoyability, all of the Elvis Cole series would be five stars, but I reserve the five stars for the ones that are even better than the others--and that would be Voodoo River. The plot doesn't differ that much from its predecessers, but this one is just written a bit better and Elvis has never been such a smartmouth. I just love these guys.
Jul 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Crais never disappoints. He is one my favorite American mystery writers. While Los Angeles is usually featured as a character in his stories, in Voodoo River he goes to Louisiana to help an adopted woman find her natural parents.
One of Cole's most nuanced cases, and an intriguing one - Crais sets you up to think that the plot's one thing, but then takes it farther than you anticipate. Good small-town color, too.
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
My second Elvis Cole mystery in two days. If you are feeling a need for great characters, humor and lots of action, prepare to be entertained. In this one, Elvis takes the case of a television actress discreetly looking for her biological parents. He flys to Louisiana and soon learns that there are many secrets in this small town outside of Baton Rouge and even some that his client is keeping. Joe Pike lends a hand when things start to get nasty and they do get nasty. Nice subplot with a little ...more
Sep 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Elvis is hired by a TV star in LA to find her birth parents in Louisiana, supposedly for medical history reasons. Quickly turns out to be not the case. The plot then spirals into blackmail, illegal alien transport... Subplot with Elvis falling for Louisiana lawyer who is part of the adoption case. Not my favorite. Elvis is good, other stuff, not so much. Pike was underused in the book, but woefully underused. Ending was easily seen come, and abrupt. Probably 2 1/2.
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Absolutely love these books. Pike and Elvis are awesome characters and the crap they get into is always something else. But these books just grab a hold and keep me totally engaged. I highly recommend these books.
Linda Rowland
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another one down. Three more on the shelf and then hope to find more at book sale.
Cis Hinkle
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Still love Elvis and Joe Pike, even out of their LA element. Louisiana was an interesting change.
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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/Joe Pike (1 - 10 of 18 books)
  • The Monkey's Raincoat (Elvis Cole, #1)
  • Stalking the Angel (Elvis Cole, #2)
  • Lullaby Town (Elvis Cole, #3)
  • Free Fall (Elvis Cole, #4)
  • 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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