Demolition Angel

Robert Crais, Author
Robert Crais, Author Doubleday $24.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-385-49584-4
Reviewed on: 05/01/2000
Release date: 05/01/2000
Compact Disc - 978-0-553-71208-7
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Open Ebook - 266 pages - 978-1-299-21675-4
Paperback - 371 pages - 978-0-7528-4293-6
Hardcover - 386 pages - 978-0-7528-3217-3
Hardcover - 978-0-7528-3218-0
Hardcover - 448 pages - 978-0-7540-2434-7
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Hardcover - 371 pages - 978-1-4072-0836-7
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Acclaimed for his Elvis Cole mystery series (L.A. Requiem, etc.), Crais deserves further garlands for this stand-alone crime novel. The book features one of the most complex heroines to grace a thriller since Clarice Starling locked eyes with Hannibal Lecter, a deliciously spooky villain in the person of a mad bomber known as Mr. Red, and an aggressively involving plot. Carol Starkey was a rising light in the LAPD Bomb Squad until, two years back, a bomb blew up in her face, maiming her and killing her lover/partner. Now Carol's a bitter, chain-smoking alcoholic with the LAPD's Criminal Conspiracy Section, who gets drawn into a literally explosive conspiracy when a bomb kills Charlie Riggio, one of her former bomb squad colleagues. Forensic evidence points toward the bomb being the work of John Michael Fowles, aka Mr. Red, a coldhearted young bomber-assassin-for-hire and master of disguise. Much of the narrative concerns Carol's pursuit of him, most excitingly on the Net through a secret mad-bombers' site, aided by a saturnine federal (ATF) agent, Jack Pell. Intercut are scenes of Mr. Red's various mad plottings, which take a hairpin turn when he learns that the cops think he killed Riggio: for in fact he didn't. That murder pans out as a copycat crime for personal gain, and now Carol must pursue both Riggio's killer and Mr. Red, who in turn has taken an intimate interest in this bomb-savvy female cop. The subsequent pas de deux between Carol and Mr. Red is too reminiscent of the dance between Starling and Lecter, but otherwise this novel gets high marks for originality, and even higher ones for suspense and, above all, for multidimensional, wounded characters who give all the excitement a rare depth. BOMC and Literary Guild featured selection; Mystery Guild main selection; author tour; film rights sold to Columbia/Tri-Star. (May)
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