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RACING THE LIGHT by Robert Crais: Book Review

When two official-looking people walk into Elvis Cole’s office, at first he takes them for federal agents.  They do a quick but thorough search of his office and the adjacent one, then usher in a nondescript older woman, rather plain with her lack of makeup and her vaguely outdated dress.  But looks can be very deceiving.

She introduces herself as Adele Schumacher, and she wants to hire Elvis to find her son.  Joshua Schumacher considers himself an investigative reporter, hosts a podcast called In Your Face with Josh Shoe, and his show consists of uncovering what he views as government secrets and conspiracies.

Adele had contacted the police, but they dismissed her concerns.  She tells Elvis that the two people who first entered the office, who are vaguely described as bodyguards/agents, tried to locate Josh with no results.  Elvis reluctantly agrees to look for Josh, although he, like the police, doesn’t find it especially concerning that a twenty-six-year-old man missed a lunch date with his mother and hasn’t responded to her phone calls or texts for several days.  Perhaps he would have felt differently if Adele had been more open about her past.

Elvis has gotten the name of her son’s closest friends from Adele, so he first visits Ryan Seborg, Josh’s partner in the podcast.  Ryan reluctantly admits that Josh hadn’t shared information with him about his latest investigation, which was very unusual, and he gives Elvis the name of another friend to contact, Skylar Lawless.

Skylar was formerly a porn star who now works as an “escort” and also as an artist.  Ryan tells Elvis that he knew that Skylar and Josh had had several conversations recently, the subject of which Josh refused to share with him.  But Elvis’ search for Skylar is no more successful than his search for Josh.

On the personal side, Elvis receives a phone call from Lucy Chenier, his former lover.  She tells him that she and her son Ben are coming to Los Angeles the following day and would like to stay with him.  He instantly agrees, but he’s certain something is wrong; Lucy is a wonderful woman but definitely not a spontaneous one.  There’s a reason she and Ben are coming to California from New Orleans, and Elvis thinks it’s not just for the pleasure of his company, although he fervently wishes it was only that.

Elvis’ investigation into Josh’s disappearance becomes ever more involved, and he enlists the help of his closest friend and partner, Joe Pike.  As the duo begins to realize there is government involvement in the case, and a need for more secret information than they are able to obtain, they bring in Jon Stone.  Stone is a soldier of fortune with specialized skills that Elvis and Joe will need to find Josh.

Robert Crais’ latest novel is a welcome addition to the Elvis Cole series.   Its plot will keep you guessing with its many twists along the way, and the rapport between Elvis, Joe, Lucy, and Ben is believable and heartwarming.  You can read more about Robert Crais at this website.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden OldiesPast Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.

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