cover image Voodoo River

Voodoo River

Robert Crais. Hyperion Books, $21.45 (298pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-6076-0

``Efficiency and focus are the keys to success,'' says L.A. PI Elvis Cole in the fifth (after Free Fall) and best to date of this outstanding series. Although Cole's comment is a little facetious, it's an accurate commentary on his approach here. Popular 36-year-old TV star and adoptee Jodi Taylor hires Cole to identify her birth parents and uncover her medical background. His investigation takes him to Ville Platte, La., where he encounters a lovely attorney, an ancient snapping turtle and Jimmy Ray Rebenack, auto mechanic and part-time investigator who has already uncovered some facts about Jodi that he may turn to his own advantage. Cole's attention to Rebenack worries Milt Rossier, a local crime lord involved in assorted illegal activities, but Cole cares only about his own investigation--until one of Rossier's thugs murders an old man for protecting a small child. Finally, Cole calls on Joe Pike, his silent and deadly partner, to help put a stop to Rossier's exploitive pursuits and expose the old crime that threatens Jodi Taylor's career. Cole has never been wittier, more passionate or more violently committed to his clients. Crais makes not a single misstep here. Author tour. (June)