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The Best American Mystery Stories 2012

by Robert Crais Otto Penzler

The Best American Series®First, Best, and Best-SellingThe Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volume's series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected -- and most popular -- of its kind.The Best American Mystery Stories 2012 includesPeter S. Beagle, Kathleen Ford, Mary Gaitskill, Lou Manfredo, Thomas McGuane,Gina Paoli, T. Jefferson Parker, Kristine Kathryn Rusch,Charles Todd, Daniel Woodrell, and others

Chasing Darkness (Elvis Cole #11)

by Robert Crais

Private Investigator Elvis Cole learns that LA fires bring more than heat, they bring his old friend Joe Pike and the past. Cole's fight to clear his name brings murder and corruption terrifyingly close to home.It's fire season, and the hills of Los Angeles are burning. When police and fire department personnel rush door to door in a frenzied evacuation effort, they discover the week-old corpse of an apparent suicide. But the gunshot victim is less gruesome than what they find in his lap: a photo album of seven brutally murdered young women--one per year, for seven years. And when the suicide victim is identified as a former suspect in one of the murders, the news turns Elvis Cole's world upside down. Three years earlier Lionel Byrd was brought to trial for the murder of a female prostitute named Yvonne Bennett. A taped confession coerced by the police inspired a prominent defense attorney to take Byrd's case, and Elvis Cole was hired to investigate. It was Cole's eleventh-hour discovery of an exculpatory videotape that allowed Lionel Byrd to walk free. Elvis was hailed as a hero. But the discovery of the death album in Byrd's lap now brands Elvis as an unwitting accomplice to murder. Captured in photographs that could only have been taken by the murderer, Yvonne Bennett was the fifth of the seven victims--two more young women were murdered after Lionel Byrd walked free. So Elvis can't help but wonder--did he, Elvis Cole, cost two more young women their lives? Shut out of the investigation by a special LAPD task force determined to close the case, Elvis Cole and Joe Pike desperately fight to uncover the truth about Lionel Byrd and his nightmare album of death--a truth hidden by lies, politics, and corruption in a world where nothing is what it seems to be. Chasing Darkness is a blistering thriller from the bestselling author who sets the standard for intense, powerful crime writing.

Demolition Angel

by Robert Crais

With the most unforgettable female lead character since Clarice Starling, Demolition Angel is a blistering stand-alone thriller from the freshest bestselling voice in crime fiction. Carol Starkey is struggling to pick up the pieces of her former life as L. A.'s finest bomb squad technician. Fueled with liberal doses of alcohol and Tagamet, she's doing time as a Detective-2 with LAPD's Criminal Conspiracy Section. Three years have passed since the event that haunts her--a detonation that killed her partner and lover, David "Sugar" Boudreaux. Fragments from the same explosion sliced through Starkey's protective Kevlar, scarred her beyond repair, and left her outside looking in at the life she left behind. Now she can't bear her reflection in the mirror, and hasn't been with another man since Sugar left her bed the morning they rolled out to the bomb site. When a seemingly innocuous bomb call turns into a devastating murder scene, Carol catches the case and embarks on an investigation of a series of explosions that reveal intentions far more disturbing than one-shot acts of anarchy. The bombs are designed expressly to kill bomb technicians, and as the one tech who survived the deadliest of blasts, Carol is in for the most intense fight of her life. Against the dazzling and lonely backdrop of contemporary Los Angeles, Robert Crais has crafted a work of ingenious depth of character, matched with a transcendent narrative velocity. Demolition Angelis sure to take its place among the finest thrillers of the modern age.

The First Rule (Joe Pike #2)

by Robert Crais

When Frank Meyer and his family are executed in their home, the police begin investigating the secret life they're sure Meyer had. Joe Pike's on a hunt of his own: to clear his friend's name, and to punish the people who murdered him. What starts out as a simple trail gets twisted fast by old grudges, double crosses, blood vengeance, and a crime so terrible even Pike and his partner Elvis Cole have no way to measure it.

The Forgotten Man (Elvis Cole #10)

by Robert Crais

A dying man claims to be the unknown father of Elvis Cole, private eye.

Free Fall (Elvis Cole #4)

by Robert Crais

Private detective Elvis Cole takes Jennifer Sheridan's case, which involves her decorated Los Angeles cop boyfriend in some mysterious trouble, and Cole and his partner Pike are soon plunged in police corruption, gangs, and the depiction of themselves as armed killers.

Hostage

by Robert Crais

The bestselling author of Demolition Angel and L.A. Requiem returns with his most intense and intricate thriller yet. As the Los Angeles Times said, Robert Crais is "a crime writer operating at the top of his game." His complex heroes and heroines, his mastery of noir atmosphere, and his brilliant, taut plots have catapulted him into the front rank of a new breed of thriller writers. Hostage proves his earlier success was no fluke. It's an unstoppable read.An ex-con with delusions of grandeur and his tagalong brother unwittingly team up with a psychopath one wrong word away from meltdown. When their late afternoon joyride turns into a random act of violence, they take a family hostage in the affluent bedroom community of Bristo Camino. Enter Chief of Police Jeff Talley, a stressed-out former LAPD SWAT negotiator who is hiding from his past. Plunged back into the high-pressure world that he desperately wants to forget, Talley soon learns that his nightmare has only begun. The hostages are not who they seem, and the home contains secrets that even L.A.'s most lethal and volatile crime lord, Sonny Benza, fears. As Talley tries to hold himself together and save the people inside, the full weight of Benza's wrath descends on him, putting the police chief and his own family at risk. Soon, all involved are held hostage by the exigencies of fate and the only one capable of diffusing the standoff is the least stable of them all.Hostage is a blistering stand-alone thriller with superb characters in crisis, multistranded plotting, and pitch-perfect Southern California sensibility.From the Hardcover edition.

Indigo Slam (Elvis Cole #7)

by Robert Crais

Available for the first time as an ebook!Life in the California sun suits Elvis Cole--until the day a fifteen-year-old girl and her two younger siblings walk into his office. Then everything changes.Three years ago, a Seattle family ran for their lives in a hail of bullets. Hired by three kids to find their missing father, Elvis now must pick up the cold pieces of a drama that began that night. What he finds is a sordid tale of high crimes and illicit drugs. As clues to a man's secret life emerge from the shadows, Elvis knows he's not just up against ruthless mobsters and some very angry Feds. He's facing a storm of desperation and conspiracy--bearing down on three children whose only crime was their survival...

L.A. Requiem (Elvis Cole #8)

by Robert Crais

A reckoning has come to the City of Angels . . . Karen Garcia is missing and her father doesn't trust the cops - he wants someone he knows on the case - so he enlists the help of Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. It seems that Karen is the latest victim of a distinctive serial killer and the police are determined to pin her death, and four others, on the witness who found her body. Cole doesn't believe the man has the guts to murder, and with his partner and the police at each other's throats, it's down to him to find the connection that will reveal the killer. But nailing the murderer means choosing between the two people he cares most about . . .

The Last Detective (Elvis Cole #9)

by Robert Crais

Elvis Cole is once again coming to terms with his life as a PI on the streets of LA. He loves his girlfriend, Lucy Chenier, but his constant exposure to the Californian underclasses has stretched their relationship to the limit - especially when Cole's job brings danger too close to her beloved son. The young boy, Ben, is rapidly becoming the light in both their lives. Then one sunny afternoon, the demons from Elvis's past finally come to visit. Ben is snatched from Cole's secluded home. The kidnappers call. They don't want money. They only want retribution. But who from his past is capable of such a crime? The only clue is that the kidnappers mention the words 'five-two'. Five-two was his unit designation in Vietnam - a life he has avoided thinking about for over twenty years. But now he must embark on a journey into his own past to try to protect his future. For it seems that this kidnapper is not only someone who knows him, but someone who owes him.

Lullaby Town (Elvis Cole #3)

by Robert Crais

Hollywood's newest wunderkind is Peter Alan Nelson, the brilliant, erratic director known as the King of Adventure. His films make billions, but his manners make enemies. What the boy king wants, he gets, and what Nelson wants is for Elvis to comb the country for the airhead wife and infant child the film-school flunkout dumped en route to becoming the third biggest filmmaker in America. It's the kind of case Cole can handle in his sleep -- until it turns out to be a nightmare. For when Cole finds Nelson's wife in a small Conneticut town, she's nothing like what he expects. The lady has some unwanted -- and very nasty -- mob connections, which means Elvis could be opening the East Coast branch of his P.I. office . . .at the bottom of the Hudson River.From the Paperback edition.

The Monkey's Raincoat (Elvis Cole #1)

by Robert Crais

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.

The Promise

by Robert Crais

Elvis Cole and Joe Pike are joined by Suspect heroes LAPD K-9 Officer Scott James and his German shepherd, Maggie, in the new heart-stopping thriller from #1 New York Times-bestselling author Robert Crais. Loyalty, commitment, and the fight for justice have always driven Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. If they make a promise, they keep it. Even if it could get them killed. When Elvis Cole is secretly hired to find a grief-stricken mother, he's led to an ordinary house on a rainy night in Echo Park. Only the house isn't ordinary, and the people hiding inside are a desperate fugitive and a murderous criminal with his own dangerous secrets. As helicopters swirl overhead, Scott and Maggie track the fugitive to this same house, coming face-to-face with Mr. Rollins, a killer who leaves behind a brutally murdered body and enough explosives to destroy the neighborhood. Scott is now the only person who can identify him, but Mr. Rollins has a rule: Never leave a witness alive. For all of them, the night is only beginning. Sworn to secrecy by his client, Elvis finds himself targeted by the police even as Mr. Rollins targets Maggie and Scott. As Mr. Rollins closes in for the kill, Elvis and Joe join forces with Scott and Maggie to follow a trail of lies where no one is who they claim -- and the very woman they promised to save might get them all killed.From the Hardcover edition.

The Sentry (Joe Pike #3, Elvis Cole #12)

by Robert Crais

After Joe Pike saves a man's life, the man's family seems oddly resentful. Maybe because they're not who they seem to be-including the seductive Dru. But it's more than a charade-it's a trap. And Pike's already been hooked...

Stalking the Angel (Elvis Cole #2)

by Robert Crais

Hired by a hotel magnate to locate a priceless Japanese manuscript, L.A. private eye Elvis Cole encounters the notorious Yakuza, the Japanese Mob, and is drawn into a game of sexual obsession, amorality, and evil.From the Paperback edition.

Sunset Express: An Elvis Cole Novel

by Robert Crais

Available now as an ebook for the first time! Prominent restaurateur Teddy Martin is facing charges in his wife's brutal murder. But he's not going down without spending a bundle of cash on his defense. So his hotshot attorney hires P.I. Elvis Cole to find proof that Detective Angela Rossi tampered with the evidence. Rossi needs a way back to the fast track after falling hard during an internal investigation five years ago. But Cole needs to know if she's desperate enough to falsify the case against Martin in order to secure her own position. As Cole and his partner Joe Pike work their way through a tangle of witnesses and an even greater tangle of media, they begin to suspect that it's not the police who are behind the setup.

Suspect

by Robert Crais

LAPD cop Scott James is not doing so well. Nine months ago, a shocking assault by unidentified men killed his partner, Stephanie, nearly killed him, and left him enraged, ashamed, and ready to explode. He is unfit for duty--until he meets his new partner.<P><P> Maggie is not doing so well, either. A German shepherd who survived two tours in Afghanistan sniffing explosives before losing her handler, her PTSD is as bad as Scott's. <P> They are each other's last chance. And they're about to investigate the one case no one wants them to touch: identifying the men who murdered Stephanie. But what they find could ultimately break them both.

Taken (Joe Pike #4, Elvis Cole #13)

by Robert Crais

When Elvis Cole and Joe Pike are hired to find her missing girl, the investigation derails into a nightmare. Cole himself disappears and it's left to Pike to burn through the deadly world of human traffickers to find his friend. But he may already be too late.

The Two Minute Rule

by Robert Crais

From the author of The Last Detective and Hostage, comes a thriller featuring a father searching for vengeance in the City of Angels. But for an ex-con fresh on parole, finding answers in the corruption of the LAPD means asking for help from the person least expecting it: the FBI officer who put him away...Every seasoned criminal knows the two minute rule: the two minutes before the cops show up at the scene of a robbery. Keeping the rule means changing your life, breaking it means a lifetime in jail. But not everyone plays by the rules... When a decisive four minutes put Max Holman in prison, he spent the next decade planning one thing: reconciliation with his estranged son. Determined to put the past behind him, Max sets out on the morning of his parole only to discover his son, a cop, was gunned down in cold blood hours earlier. When the hit is exposed as a revenge killing, Max is determined to track down the murderer--at any cost. From the author that sets the standard of gripping, edgy suspense, The Two Minute Rule delivers all the surprising plot twists and powerful characters that make Robert Crais one of the top crime writers today.

Voodoo River (Elvis Cole #5)

by Robert Crais

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 something much darker going on. Other people are also looking for Taylor's parents, and some are ending up dead.And when Cole realizes that his employer knew more than she was telling, Voodoo River becomes a twisting tale of identity, secrets, and murder.

The Watchman (Joe Pike #1)

by Robert Crais

At last, the enigmatic partner of Elvis Cole (The Two Minute Rule) takes center stage in this pulse-racing thriller. When Joe Pike is charged with safeguarding a wealthy heiress, he discovers protecting the sole witness to a crime is nothing compared to protecting an LA party girl from her own self-destruction...Larkin Conner Barkley lives like the City of Angels is hers for the taking. Young and staggeringly rich, she speeds through the city during its loneliest hours, blowing through red after red in her Aston Martin as if running for her life. Then suddenly she sees another car's metal-on-metal explosion of a terrible accident and, dazed, finds herself the single witness in a secret federal investigation. For maybe the first time in her life, Larkin wants to do the right thing. But in doing so she becomes the target for a relentless team of killers. And when the US Marshals and the finest security money can buy can't protect her, Larkin's wealthy family turns to the one man money can't buy-Joe Pike. Pike lives a world away from the palaces of Beverly Hills. He's an ex-cop, ex-Marine, ex-mercenary who owes a bad man a favor, and that favor is to keep the uncontrollable Larkin alive. Pike commits to protecting the girl, but it becomes clear someone in their circle is selling them out. Taking matters into his own hands, Joe drops off the gird with Larkin and follows his own survival rules: strike fast, hit hard, hunt down the hunters. With the help of private investigator Elvis Cole, Pike uncovers a web of lies and betrayals, and the stunning revelation that even the cops are not who they seem. As the body count rises, Pike's biggest threat might come from the girl herself, a lost soul in the City of Angels, determined to destroy herself unless Joe Pike can teach her the value of life...and love.

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