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Robert Crais books in order

Robert Crais is an American New York Times bestselling author of Elvis Cole novels.

Born in Louisiana, he attended Louisiana State University where he studied mechanical engineering

Robert’s literary influences include Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Ernest Hemingway, Robert B. Parker, and John Steinbeck. He has published his works in 62 countries, with his books being bestsellers across the globe.

A recipient of the Ross Macdonald Literary Award (2006) and the Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America (2014), Crais currently lives in the Santa Monica mountains with his wife, two cats, and thousands of books.

More about Robert Crais

Genres: Mystery, Thriller

Born: 1953

United States


Non Series

  • Demolition Angel (2000)
  • Hostage (2001)
  • The Two-Minute Rule (2006)
  • The Best American Mystery Stories (2012)
  • Suspect (2013)

Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Series

  1. The Monkey's Raincoat (1987)
  2. Stalking the Angel (1989)
  3. Lullaby Town (1992)
  4. Free Fall (1993)
  5. Voodoo River (1995)
  6. Sunset Express (1996)
  7. Indigo Slam (1997)
  8. L.A. Requiem (1999)
  9. The Last Detective (2003)
  10. The Forgotten Man (2005)
  11. The Watchman (2007)
  12. Chasing Darkness (2008)
  13. The First Rule (2010)
  14. The Sentry (2011)
  15. Taken (2012)
  16. The Promise (2015)
  17. The Wanted (2017)
  18. A Dangerous Man (2019)
  19. Racing the Light (2022)
  20. Elvis Cole and Joe Pike: A Mysterious Profile (2022)

Detailed book overview

Non Series

Demolition Angel

Los Angeles bomb squad veteran Carol Starkey is having a hard time working as a Detective-2 with LAPD’s Criminal Conspiracy Section. She is still haunted by the events of three years ago when “Sugar” Boudreaux, her partner and lover, saved her life just to lose his in a bomb explosion—ending her career as a bomb specialist. To momentarily forget her sorrows, she drowns herself in Tagamet and gin.

When a bomb however explodes into a charred murder scene, Carol takes up an investigation which reveals a series of shocking intentions.

The bombs are specifically designed to kill bomb techs, and Carol knows she has to fight for her life, having already escaped the most dreadful blast ever.

Author: Robert Crais
First Release: 2000
ISBN: 978-1409138235
Publisher: Orion

Jeff Talley was known for being a good husband, a responsible father, and a front line negotiator with LAPD's SWAT unit.

The high stress and unforgiving nature of his job however took a terrible toll on his psyche.

When his negotiation with a dispirited father goes south, the man ends up killing his wife and son before taking his own life. This failure marks the spiraling of Talley’s life.

Jobless and divorced, he tries to forget about his former life by drowning himself in a chief-of-police job; one far away from the crime and commotion of Los Angeles.

Director: Florent Emilio Siri
Cast: Bruce Willis, Kevin Pollak, Ben Foster, Jonathan Tucker, Jimmy Bennett, Michelle Horn
Author: Robert Crais
First Release: 2001
ISBN: 978-1409138242
Publisher: Orion
The Two-Minute Rule

There certainly isn’t any experienced criminal who doesn’t know about the two minute rule: the two minutes before the cops show up during a robbery. Following it translates to a life of change while breaking it equivalent to lifetime in jail.

When Max Holman, an ex-con, is released from jail, his primary motive is to make peace with his distant son who is ironically a police officer. Freedom however doesn’t feel as sweet when he receives news that his son and three other LAPD officers were gunned down the night before his release.

On finding out that the killing was a revenge hit, Holman’s last duty as a father is to catch the killer and exonerate his son.

Author: Robert Crais
First Release: 2006
ISBN: 978-1416527282
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
The Best American Mystery Stories

The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the best fiction and nonfiction short stories that America has to offer.

The editor of every volume series selects outstanding works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites before choosing around twenty of the best stories to publish.

The Best American Mystery Stories include contributions by Peter S. Beagle, Mary Gaitskill ,Kathleen Ford, Lou Manfredo, Jesse Goolsby, Gina Paoli, Thomas McGuane, T. Jefferson Parker, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Daniel Woodrell, Charles Todd among others.

Author: Robert Crais
First Release: 2012
ISBN: 978-0547553986
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Scott James, an LAPD cop, is a devastated man. Unidentified assailants attacked him and his partner Stephanie eight months ago, killing her and living him within an inch of his life.

Maggie, a sniffing German shepherd who survived three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, has PTSD having lost her handler to an IED.

When paired up, a furious Scott and a determined Maggie embark on a mission to uncover Stephanie’s killers.

The mission will however take both of them to a path where no one truly knows whether they will come out alive.

Author: Robert Crais
First Release: 2013
ISBN: 978-0425278277
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons

Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Series

The Monkey's Raincoat

Elvis Cole is a Los Angeles Private Detective and a witty Vietnam veteran determined to never grow up.

When the muted Ellen Lang makes her way into his Disney-Deco office to solicit for help regarding her missing husband and her young son, Elvis isn’t excited by the case—given how simple it sounds.

He however isn’t the only one who feels that way, as Joe Pike—his partner and firepower—also shares the same sentiments.

Their investigations down the side of Hollywood’s studio reveals a terrible world of drugs, sex and murder.

And everyone, right from the cops to the criminals, proclaims war on Ellen and Elvis.

Author: Robert Crais
First Release: 1987
ISBN: 978-1409135623
Publisher: Orion
Stalking the Angel

Walking into Elvis Cole’s office was a blonde who was the most dashing woman he had seen in weeks. In fact, the only thing that prevented him from rating a flawless “10” was the briefcase on one arm and the anxious hotel magnate on the other.

Bradley Warren had just lost the Hagakure, a rare thirteenth-century Japanese manuscript, and he needed Elvis to help him recover it.

Although what Elvis knew about the Japanese culture was limited to his readings from Shogun, he knew a lot about criminals. And whatever he didn’t know, his sociopathic partner, Joe Pike, always knew.

The two partners dig up the Little Tokyo of Los Angeles in search of a Japanese mafia by the name yakuza in an adventure of madness, murder and sexual obsession.

Author: Robert Crais
First Release: 1989
ISBN: 978-1409136538
Publisher: Orion
Lullaby Town

Peter Alan Nelsen, the talented and unreliable director otherwise referred to as the King of Adventure, is the youngest and most successful man in Hollywood.

Although his films make money by the billions, his manners draws his more enemies. Used to getting what he wants, he hires Elvis Cole to help him find his missing wife and child.

It’s the kind of case that the L.A detective would solve in his sleep, until it becomes a complete nightmare. Nelsen’s ex-wife, whom Cole finds in a tiny Connecticut town, turns out, has deadly links with the mob.

Looks like there is will have to be an East Coast branch of his private eye office.

Author: Robert Crais
First Release: 1992
ISBN: 978-0593157992
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Free Fall

Elvis Cole has a hard time saying no to girls, especially when they are in a word of trouble. That was the case when Jennifer Sheridan came to solicit for help over her missing fiancé, Mark Thurman.

Thurman, an accomplished LA cop with a great plainclothes unit, is missing and Jennifer believes that Cole is the only one who can help.

When their investigations lead them to the underbelly of South Central gangs, corrupt cops, and conspiracies of silence, Elvis and Joe Pike suddenly find themselves running for their own lives, as they are accused of murder.

Author: Robert Crais
First Release: 1993
ISBN: 978-1409138211
Publisher: Orion
Voodoo River

Jodie Taylor, a celebrated TV star, seeks for the help of L.A private investigator Elvis Cole. Her sole purpose is to learn who her biological parents are; the same ones that gave her up for adoption some thirty-six years ago.

The case seems simple enough, and Cole goes to Louisiana to begin his search. The P.I is however shocked to discover that other people are also looking for Taylor's parents—some of whom are ending up dead.

That's when Cole discovers that his employer has been hiding some devastating details.

This is an absorbing tale of identity, secrets and murder.

Author: Robert Crais
First Release: 1995
ISBN: 978-1409136545
Publisher: Orion
Sunset Express

When Teddy Martin, an eminent L.A. restaurateur, is accused of killing his wife, his attorney hires Elvis Cole to help prove that police Detective Angela Rossi took part in malicious evidence alternation.

Some five years ago, Detective Rossi failed terribly during an internal investigation, and a way back to the fast track would certainly suffice. All Cole however needs to do is prove that she tampered with the evidence in order to secure her own position.

As Elvis and his partner Joe Pike bury themselves in the investigations, it becomes more and more apparent that the lawyers are more suspicious than the cops.

Author: Robert Crais
First Release: 1996
ISBN: 978-1409136552
Publisher: Orion
Indigo Slam

Elvis Cole’s perfect life in the California sun is disrupted when a fifteen-year-old girl, and her two younger siblings, walk into his office.

Just three years ago, the Seattle family ran for their lives after being sprayed by bullets. Now, the three kids hire the private investigator to help them find their missing father.

To however solve the case, Cole has to pick up the pieces from the drama that unfolded that night.

In his investigations, he uncovers dark insights into secret life of the father of the children whose only crime was their survival.

Author: Robert Crais
First Release: 1997
ISBN: 978-0316376358
Publisher: Hachette Books
L.A. Requiem

The day begins in Los Angeles much like any other. The sun blazes as the Santa Ana winds blow across the shimmering city.

For Joe Pike however, life in the city will never be the same again following the brutal death of his ex-lover. Karen Garcia, his ex, was shot on the head and murdered under mysterious circumstances.

Skeptical, Karen's influential father request for the help of Pike and his partner, Elvis Cole, to keep a keen eye on the LAPD as they search for his daughter's killer; for everyone has secrets, even the LAPD.

What however began as standard procedure turns into an intense of cat-and-mouse game, threatening Pike and Cole's friendship that has lasted for a staggering twelve years.

Author: Robert Crais
First Release: 1999
ISBN: 978-1409135609
Publisher: Orion
The Last Detective

Elvis Cole and his longtime girlfriend, Lucy Chenier, may have had their fair share of problems recently, but Ben—her son—isn’t one of them. And things aren’t as bad as they used to be.

As Lucy heads out of town, she leaves her son under the care and protection of Elvis.

Ben however disappears out of nowhere. He was at one moment in Elvis's house playing computer game, and then completely vanished in the next.

Elvis can’t find him, and neither can Lucy when she gets back. When Elvis receives a phone call about Ben, it doesn’t take long for him to realize that something from his past has come to haunt his present.

Author: Robert Crais
First Release: 2003
ISBN: 978-1409136569
Publisher: Orion
The Forgotten Man

Elvis Cole is slowly rebuilding his life after the kidnapping of his girlfriend's young son when he receives an urgent call summoning him at the scene of a crime.

Upon arrival, he is told that the subject—an unidentified body—claimed that he was Cole’s father a few moments before his death.

Desperate for answers, Cole turns to his longtime partner, Joe Pike, to assist with the investigation.

Their quest to find out the dead man's identity however uncovers the shocking possibility of the horrific crimes committed by the man.

The search for his killer has only just begun.

Author: Robert Crais
First Release: 2005
ISBN: 978-1409135616
Publisher: Orion
The Watchman

Young and incredibly wealthy, Larkin Conner Barkley lives as though the world is her oyster. She speeds through L.A in her Aston Martin during lonely hours, as if running for her dear life.

When she however witnesses a terrible accident, Larkin suddenly becomes the only witness in a secret federal investigation. She for the first time in her life wants to do something right, but doing the right thing makes her the target for a vicious team of assassins.

Desperate to ensure her safety, her affluent family turns to former Marine and ex-mercenary, Joe Pike, for help.

But Larkin is a lost soul who will destroy herself unless Joe teaches her the importance of life…and love.

Author: Robert Crais
First Release: 2007
ISBN: 978-1409135593
Publisher: Orion
Chasing Darkness

As the seasonal fires rage over the Los Angeles hills, the police and fire department officers evacuate residents in households when they discover the week-old corpse of an apparent suicide.

Although his gunshot wound is grotesque, what is even scarier is the photo they find in his lap. On the album is the picture of seven young women who were terribly murdered—one woman killed per year for seven years.

When it emerges that the suicide victim was a former suspect in one of the killings, the discovery turns Elvis Cole's world upside down.

It becomes a race against time for Elvis and his partner Joe Pike to uncover the truth about the suicide victim and his album of death.

Author: Robert Crais
First Release: 2008
ISBN: 978-1416571315
Publisher: Pocket Books
The First Rule

Frank and Cindy Meyer had high hopes for the American dream; a dream that ended one fateful day when a group of experienced robbers stormed their home and murdered everyone.

Although Frank had a family, a business, and what was practically a normal life, he spent his younger years working as a professional mercenary with one Joe Pike.

This however wasn’t the first time that the robbery crew stormed a house, as it’s something they had previously done; targeting criminals with huge hoardings of cash or drugs.

However believing in his innocence and determined to clear Frank‘s name, Pike embarks on a mission to avenge the death of his friend.

Author: Robert Crais
First Release: 2010
ISBN: 978-0425238127
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
The Sentry

Dru Rayne and her uncle, Smith, had to flee to Los Angeles five years ago after Hurricane Katrina.

Now, they face greater danger from a famous protection gang that ends up thoroughly beating up Smith. Joe Pike, who witnesses the assault, offers to help—only for his proposal to be denied by both the family, and the federal agents that have been secretly watching them.

As the violence intensifies, Pike and Elvis Cole come to the shocking discovery that there’s more than what meets the eye when it comes to Dru and her uncle.

An unforgiving force is coming their way, and only Pike and Cole can save them.

Author: Robert Crais
First Release: 2011
ISBN: 978-0425245729
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons

Nita Morales seeks the services of Elvis Cole when her daughter goes missing. Although the kidnappers ask for ransom, she doesn't take their demand seriously, thinking that her daughter is just off with “that boy,” and they need money.

She however couldn’t be more wrong! Her daughter and the boyfriend have actually been abducted by by bajador—bandits who steal drugs, guns, and people. Their business is buying and selling victims, and executing the ones who don’t translate to money.

When Elvis Cole is however taken during an undercover mission to buy back the young couple, it’s up to Joe Pike to save his partner before it’s too late.

Author: Robert Crais
First Release: 2012
ISBN: 978-0425250594
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
The Promise

A secretly hired Elvis Cole goes to what looks like an ordinary Echo Park house in search of a missing and depressed mother. The only thing however is that neither the house nor the people hiding in it are ordinary.

As helicopters scout the house, Scott James—an LAPD K9 Officer—and his German shepherd, Maggie, trace a vicious murderer to the same house in Echo Park.

Mr. Rollins, a career criminal infamous for living behind a brutal tail of blood, has a shocking connection to the missing woman.

Although Scott is the only one who can correctly identify Mr. Rollins, his chances of making it out alive are minimal, as the killer never leaves behind any witness.

Author: Robert Crais
First Release: 2015
ISBN: 978-0425272855
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
The Wanted

Single-mother Devon Connor seeks the help of Elvis Cole when her anxious teenage son, Tyson, starts showing up with too much cash; unsettled that he’s dealing drugs.

It turns out that Tyson, and some two other friends, have been involved in high-end burglaries.

When the group however steals from the wrong man, one of them ends up dead, while Tyson and his girlfriend go missing.

Smart and well trained assassins are leaving a trail of bodies behind.

Cole and Joe Pike have to be proceed with caution, or lose their own lives in the process.

Author: Robert Crais
First Release: 2017
ISBN: 978-0399573897
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
A Dangerous Man

When Joe Pike went to the bank that day, the last thing he expected was to save a woman from harm’s way. Isabel Roland, the lonely young teller who served him, is kidnapped by two assailants as she leaves for her lunch break.

Witnessing the act is Joe who chases them and ensures their arrest.

The two assailants are then released on bail, only to end up dead, while Izzy goes missing without a trace.

Pairing up with his long-term friend Elvis Cole, the two discover an aberrant family tale involving corporate whistleblowing, the Witness Relocation Program, a lot of money and an endless thread of lies.

Author: Robert Crais
First Release: 2019
ISBN: 978-1471157622
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Racing the Light

Adele Schumacher isn't a typical worried mom. When she hires Elvis to find her missing son, a controversial podcaster named Josh Shoe, she brings a bag filled with cash, bizarre tales of government conspiracies, and a squad of professional bodyguards. Finding Josh should be simple, but Elvis quickly learns he isn't alone in the hunt—a deadly team of mysterious strangers are determined to find Josh and his adult film star girlfriend first.

With dangerous secrets lurking behind every lead, Elvis needs his friend Joe Pike more than ever to uncover the truth about Josh, corrupt politicians, and the vicious business cartels rotting the heart of Los Angeles from within. And when Elvis's estranged girlfriend Lucy Chenier and her son, Ben, return, he learns just how much he has to lose...if he survives.

Author: Robert Crais
First Release: 2022
Ebook: B09RP51VDG
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Elvis Cole and Joe Pike: A Mysterious Profile

In this short piece, Robert Crais brings us into the world of quirky and likable Los Angeles PI Elvis Cole and his friend Joe Pike, a survivor and an enigmatic man of few words. The discussion revolves around the choices they’ve made, the obstacles they’ve overcome, the things that drive them to be who they are, and the hope that keeps them persevering through the darkness.

Author: Robert Crais
First Release: 2022
Ebook: B09S32FH8M
Publisher: Road