Sunday, 3 August 2014

The Monkey's Raincoat

I was unsure if I was going to like this one. A first look at Elvis Cole in chapter one, quipping his way through what should have been a standard private eye office/client opening ,he mainly comes across as highly random and off the charts rude. What kept me reading was being intrigued by Cole's mysteriously absent partner Joe Pike, or to give him his full title; that bastard Pike. While I waited for that sonofabitch Pike ( it takes a while) I started to become aware that Cole had more to him than being an annoying wise-ass. He's a complex character who likes to think of himself as 'thoughtful, smart and sensitive'. In reality he's highly reckless and suffers from a rampaging hero complex that douses failure in booze and plunges him in love or lust with a speed that Cotton Hawes would envy. It's a persona shaped by dealing with war (tours in Viet Nam) at an early age.
Written in the late 80s the book is a goldmine for nostalgia of that time, the script is riddled with all sorts of pop culture that will be familiar with people like me who grew up in the 70s and 80s. Cole has a bit of a nostalgia addiction, surrounding himself with favourite books, music and items from his youth that he employs as comfort props to his psyche.
The aforementioned Pike remains a voice on the phone until things start to get hot. He turns out to be a laconic Rambo type who thinks Clint Eastwood talks too much.
In the end I was very impressed with the book and will look forward to the further adventures of the chalk and cheese duo Cole and Pike. We'll see how the series goes.

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