Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong mystery, Elvis Cole
Cons: Needless flashback, Starkey
The Bottom Line:
A man from the past
Is he who he says he is?
Another strong case
Has The Forgotten Man Walked Back into Elvis Cole’s Life?
When the main character of a series has a mystery in his or her past, you know that will come into play at some point in the future. That’s exactly what happens for PI Elvis Cole in The Forgotten Man.
You see, Elvis never knew his father. His mother never told a sole who he was, in fact, feeding Elvis a story when he was a boy, but not enough information to track the man down. However, a man who was shot in the alley of a Los Angeles used his dying breath to say he was Elvis’ father. He even has some recent articles about the detective on him. Could this man really be Elvis’ long lost father? What lead him to the alley where he was shot?
Before we go any further, I do have to issue a warning. This book spoils all the twists of the previous book in the series, The Last Detective. Believe me, you don’t want to go into that book already knowing what happens, so read that book before you read this one. Part of what plays out here, especially in Elvis’ personal life, plays off that book, so I certainly understand why the details are brought up here.
The recurring characters are a mixed bag in this book. Obviously, we see a lot of Elvis since he remains our first-person narrator for much of the story. However, Joe Pike, Elvis Cole’s partner, actually takes a back seat to Carol Starkey, a character first introduced in Demolition Angel. I must admit I have never particularly liked the character, but I hate what author Robert Crais did to her here. She needs a personality transplant stat! Of course, part of that is that we are now back to the early books where every woman wants to throw themselves at Elvis. The rest of the main characters in the book are introduced here, and they are well developed for their parts in the story.
The story itself is good. We get a needless flashback to Elvis as a young teen. It’s designed to help flesh out his character in relation to what is going on here, but instead it felt like it slowed things down. We get bits and pieces from some other characters that take a while to feed into the main story, but my faith that these would eventually come into play was rewarded. As always, the climax is suspenseful, and there are some good twists along the way.
As usual, I listened to the audio version of the book, this time narrated by James Daniels. He does a great job of bring the story and characters to life without being overly dramatic.
Despite my complaints, The Forgotten Man is a solid PI novel. If you’ve missed this entry in the series, be sure to pick it up today.
Looking for more good mysteries? Check out the rest of the Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Mysteries.