ROBERT CRAIS: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONSTable of Contents
I just discovered RC’s work. Should I start reading the Elvis Cole series with the first book, or does it matter?
We asked RC for his opinion on this. Here is his answer in his own words:
“At this writing, the Elvis Cole series now includes ten novels, and, altogether, I have published thirteen books. My readership has grown dramatically over the last several books, and continues to grow. Thankfully, new readers are coming to me all the time, and, inevitably, many want to start with my first book. I understand this, but part of me always cringes because my books and their nature has changed over the course of the ten Cole novels. When a new reader asks me which book they should start with, or whether or not they should begin at the beginning with THE MONKEY’S RAINCOAT, I always suggest they begin with L. A. REQUIEM, or even one of the standalones like DEMOLITION ANGEL or THE TWO MINUTE RULE. It isn’t that I feel the earlier books aren’t as ‘good’ as my more recent efforts—I am intensely proud of those early novels—but my newer books are richer, broader in scope, and way more complex in their structure, so I believe them to be more representative of the work I am doing today.”
We get this question all the time so we asked RC. Here is The Man's answer: "Funny you should ask. When I wrote the first Elvis Cole novel way back in the day, Elvis and Joe were a few years older than me. Who knew they would be around all these books later and become so popular? I didn't! So a funny thing happened as the years passed and the number of books grew. Elvis and Joe didn't age as quickly as me! Man, I wish I knew their secret! These days, Elvis and Joe are a lot younger than me. I slowed their aging for a simple reason. I love Elvis and Joe as tough, physical men who can take on dangerous bad guys head on, straight up, and toe-to-toe. I love writing (and reading!) the thrilling, high-speed action sequences and live-or-die shootouts where my guys risk everything for clients and each other and I know my readers also enjoy this aspect of my novels. If Elvis and Joe aged in "real time," they wouldn't be able to do these things. So I had to make a choice. Slow their aging, cut the action, or pretend a couple of old codgers were action heroes. I went with option #1. I hope you agree I made the right choice."
We get this question a couple of times every week from new readers who have started reading the series at the beginning (see FAQ #1 above!), but haven’t yet reached the later books. Once more, we went to RC for the definitive answer.
“I wrote THE MONKEY’S RAINCOAT
twenty years ago. I began making
notes about Elvis Cole and Joe Pike
late in 1985 when I was living in a
cabin in the San Bernadino Mountains
at Lake Arrowhead, California, and
finished TMR in the summer of ’86.
Hey, nobody had cell phones back
then! Check out reruns of shows like
MIAMI VICE—Sonny Crockett (Don
Johnson) was using a clunky old car
phone the size of a shoe box!
No. Even though these titles often show up on Amazon.com and in catalogs, no books by Robert were published with these titles. Robert often has a 'working title' for a manuscript, and most often that title changes several times before Robert selects the 'real title' for publication. THE DEVIL'S CANTINA was once the title for L. A. REQUIEM; HAGAKURE was the working title for STALKING THE ANGEL; and JUNGLELAND was the working title for FREE FALL.
SUSPECT is currently being developed
as a feature motion picture by
producers Nina Jacobson and Brad
Simpson for Fox 2000.
Unfortunately, no. If we're in a position to offer photos of Robert or bookplates in the future, we'll announce it on the site.
Robert loves to personalize his books, and did sign books and bookplates through the mail for years, but the number of requests has risen to a level where he's had to discontinue the practice. Robert regrets this, as he truly enjoys interacting with his readers and appreciates the compliment of an autograph request, but we'd much rather have him writing new novels. We hope you agree.
Our policy is to cull Robert's email of rude commentary, business propositions, and other inappropriate correspondence. All other email is read and answered by Robert, but please be patient.
Due to legal reasons, as well as the unfortunate fact that Robert doesn't have enough time to write many of his own ideas, he cannot read, consider, or comment upon any unsolicited material. We are under strict orders from the lawyer to cull all such requests and we do not forward them to Robert. Although many of you have wonderful literary ideas, please do not send stories, notions, ideas, concepts, or anything of this sort. We return all such submissions unread. Robert wishes all of you who may be aspiring writers the best of luck with your writing endeavors.
Robert doesn't believe that the books need to be read in order, but if
THE MONKEY'S RAINCOAT (1987)
DEMOLITION ANGEL (2000)
Have Elvis Cole and
Harry Bosch appeared in each other’s
Again, we went to the source and asked RC
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Photo of Robert Crais by Greg Gorman
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