The Forgotten Man (Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Series #10)

The Forgotten Man (Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Series #10)

by Robert Crais

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With his acclaimed bestsellers, Hostage and Demolition Angel, Robert Crais drew raves for his unstoppable pacing, edgy characterizations, and cinematic prose. Now, Crais returns to his signature character, Los Angeles private investigator Elvis Cole, in a masterful page-turner that probes the meaning of family and the burdens of the past.

Elvis Cole is back...

Elvis Cole's relationship with attorney Lucy Chenier is strained. When she moved from Louisiana to join Elvis in Los Angeles, she never dreamed that violence would so easily touch her life—but then the unthinkable happens. While Lucy is away on business and her ten-year-old son, Ben, is staying with Elvis, Ben disappears without a trace. Desperate to believe that the boy has run away, evidence soon mounts to suggest a much darker scenario.

Joining forces with his enigmatic partner, Joe Pike, Elvis frantically searches for Ben with the help of LAPD Detective Carol Starkey, as Lucy's wealthy, oil-industry ex-husband attempts to wrest control of the investigation. Amid the maelstrom of personal conflicts, Elvis and Joe are forced to consider a more troubling lead—one indicating that Ben's disappearance is connected to a terrible, long-held secret from Elvis Cole's past.

Venturing deep inside a complex psyche, Crais explores Elvis's need for family—the military that embraced him during a troubled adolescence, his rock-solid partnership with Pike, and his floundering relationship with Lucy—as they race the clock in their search for Ben. The Last Detective is Robert Crais' richest, most intense tale of suspense yet.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345451910
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/31/2006
Series: Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Series , #10
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

ROBERT CRAIS is the bestselling author of Hostage, Demolition Angel, and L.A. Requiem, as well as seven previous novels featuring Elvis Cole. For additional information about the author and his novels, visit


Los Angeles, California

Date of Birth:

June 20, 1953

Place of Birth:

Baton Rouge, Louisiana


B.S., Louisiana State University, 1976; Clarion Writers Workshop at Michigan State University

Read an Excerpt

The Forgotten Man

By Robert Crais

Random House

Robert Crais
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0385504314

Chapter One


They called me to view the body on a wet spring morning when darkness webbed my house. Some nights are like that; more now than before. Picture the World's Greatest Detective, reluctant subject of sidebar articles in the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles magazine, stretched on his couch in a redwood A-frame overlooking the city, not really sleeping at 3:58 A.M. when the phone rang. I thought it was a reporter, but answered anyway.


"This is Detective Kelly Diaz with LAPD. I apologize about the time, but I'm trying to reach Elvis Cole."

Her voice was coarse, reflecting the early hour. I pushed into a sitting position and cleared my throat. Police who call before sunrise have nothing to offer but bad news.

"How'd you get my number?"

I had changed my home number when the news stories broke, but reporters and cranks still called.

"One of the criminalists had it or got it, I'm not sure. Either way, I'm sorry for calling like this, but we have a homicide. We have reason to believe you know the deceased."

Something sharp stabbed behind my eyes, and I swung my feet to the floor.

"Who is it?"

"We'd like you to come down here, see for yourself. We're downtown near Twelfth and Hill Street. I can send a radio car if that would help."

Thehouse was dark. Sliding glass doors opened to a deck that jutted like a diving platform over the canyon behind my house. The lights on the opposite ridge were murky with the low clouds and mist. I cleared my throat again.

"Is it Joe Pike?"

"Pike's your partner, right? The ex-cop with the sunglasses?"

"Yes. He has arrows tattooed on the outside of his delts. They're red."

She covered the phone, but I heard muffled voices. She was asking. My chest filled with a growing pressure, and I didn't like that she had to ask because asking meant maybe it was.

"Is it Pike?"

"No, this isn't Pike. This man has tattoos, but not like that. I'm sorry if I scared you that way. Listen, we can send a car."

I closed my eyes, letting the pressure fade.

"I don't know anything about it. What makes you think I know?"

"The victim said some things before he died. Come down and take a look. I'll send a car."

"Am I a suspect?"

"Nothing like that. We just want to see if you can help with the ID."

"What was your name?"


"Okay, Diaz-it's four in the morning, I haven't slept in two months, and I'm not in the mood. If you think I know this guy, then you think I'm a suspect. Everyone who knows a homicide victim is a suspect until they're cleared, so just tell me who you got and ask whatever it is you want to ask."

"What it is, we have a deceased Anglo male we believe to be the victim of a robbery. They got his wallet, so I can't give you a name. We're hoping you can help with that part. Here, listen-"

"Why do you think I know him?"

She plowed on with the description as if I hadn't spoken.

"Anglo male, dyed black hair thin on top, brown eyes, approximately seventy years but he could be older, I guess, and he has crucifix tattoos on both palms."

"Why do you think I know him?"

"He has more tats of a religious nature on his arms-Jesus, the Virgin, things like that. None of this sounds familiar?"

"I don't have any idea who you're talking about."

"What we have is a deceased male as I've described, one gunshot to the chest. By his appearance and location, he appears indigent, but we're working on that. I'm the officer who found him. He was still conscious at that time and said things that suggested you would recognize his description."

"I don't."

"Look, Cole, I'm not trying to be difficult. It would be better if-"

"What did he say?"

Diaz didn't answer right away.

"He told me he was your father."

I sat without moving in my dark house. I had started that night in bed, but ended on the couch, hoping the steady patter of rain would quiet my heart, but sleep had not come.

"Just like that, he told you he was my father."

"I tried to get a statement, but all he said was something about you being his son, and then he passed. You're the same Elvis Cole they wrote the stories about, aren't you? In the Times?"


"He had the clippings. I figured you would recognize the tats if you knew him, me thinking he was your father, but it sounds like you don't."

My voice came out hoarse, and the catch embarrassed me.

"I never met my father. I don't know anything about him, and as far as I know he doesn't know me."

"We want you to come take a look, Mr. Cole. We have a few questions."

"I thought I wasn't a suspect."

"At this time, you aren't, but we still have the questions. We sent a radio car. It should be pulling up just about now."

Approaching headlights brightened my kitchen as she said it. I heard the car roll to a slow stop outside my house, and more light filled my front entry. They had radioed their status, and someone with Diaz had signaled their arrival.

"Okay, Diaz, tell them to shut their lights. No point in waking the neighbors."

"The car is a courtesy, Mr. Cole. In case you were unable to drive after you saw him."

"Sure. That's why you kept offering the car like it was my choice even though it was already coming."

"It's still your choice. If you want to take your own car you can follow them. We just have a few questions."

The glow outside vanished, and once more my home was in darkness.

"Okay, Diaz, I'm coming. Tell them to take it easy out there. I have to get dressed.

"Not a problem. We'll see you in a few minutes."

I put down the phone but still did not move. I had not moved in hours. Outside, a light rain fell as quietly as a whisper. I must have been waiting for Diaz to call. Why else would I have been awake that night and all the other nights except to wait like a lost child in the woods, a forgotten child waiting to be found?

After a while I dressed, then followed the radio car to see the dead.

From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpted from The Forgotten Man by Robert Crais Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

The Forgotten Man (Elvis Cole Series #10) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 85 reviews.
Mark Farmer More than 1 year ago
I've read a bunch of his stuff, and he just consistently puts out a superb product. His sense of flow for dialogue, plot, and character development are just head and shoulders above. If you're lookin for good drama/detective genre reading, this won't disappoint you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have recently discovered Elvis and read every single book in about 5 weeks. Would give each one a 4.5 or 5 star rating. Not so with The Forgotten Man. The plot is rather convoluted to give us flashbacks and tell us about the childhood, etc., of Elvis growing up. Frankly, I think Elvis is perfect and I don't need to hear about the past. If it ain't broke,don't fix it. This book was not as good in my opinion and also seemed to lack the typical wisecracking gumshoe and bad boy Pike we have grown to love in previous novels. As much as I hate to say so, I would suggest you skip this one. It is not up to a par with the previous books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the Elvis Cole/Joe Pike books, but there was never enough about Joe. This book was good enough to read twice, which I did. The story flowed from the first paragraph to the end and sucked you in like a black hole. Robert Crais writes some of the very best books in this genre.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just really enjoy the Cole/Pike series. If you see a book by Robert Craise, do'nt hesitate, just get it. You won't be dissapointed.
1dachsmom More than 1 year ago
HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!! Love the main characters - Elvis & Joe. Kept me awake many nights, but it was well worth it. Don't miss this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great character development. Not as much heroic action as the series reader might be used to. I liked it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Always an excellent story. Love Joe Pike and don't like selfish Lucy. Cole should get together with Carol.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great plot, different & kept me guessing as to what was going on. Love Starky, she's a great character. Lucy is sickening - I was sorry to see her come back, I was thrilled when she moved away. Hope she's gone for good in next novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Robert Crais has done it again. Delivering us a novel you can not put down. Elvis Cole is an amazing character in this book. I would recommend this book to everyone who loves a good mystery crime story. Keep em coming Robert, can't wait to see what you come up with next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
creighley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Elvis Cole is searching for the person who has murdered a man who claims to be his father for whom he has looked and never found. A lot of Elvis's childhood is brought forth here as his childhood stories unfold as he seeks to solve the mystery.
smik on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
THE FORGOTTEN MAN begins with a horrifying glimpse into a house where a triple homicide has taken place. It is only later that we work out what relevance this has to the main story.This is a gripping story, made more poignant by the fact that Elvis Cole has been searching for his father all of his life. But the more Elvis, the "world's greatest detective", investigates the dead man in the alley, the more he is convinced they are not related. Why then did Herbert Faustina say he was, and why did he have a heap of press cuttings about Elvis Cole?The listener is helped in tracking the multiple points of view from which this story is written by the narrator identifying the character at the beginning of each chapter, if a narrative point of view change has taken place. It doesn't seem that this was used in the original printed version.You can read most of the first 90 pages of THE FORGOTTEN MAN online on AmazonThis is #10 in the 13 title Elvis Cole/Joe Pike series. It was nominated for a Shamus Award.
TonyaSB on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If I had to come up with a "problem" to talk about with this book, it would be to say that it's a little predictable but only because the story in the prologue seems to have nothing to do with the rest of the book. When I stopped to ask why, I figured out the mystery of the book.What I loved most about this book was that Crais was able to give a unique voice to each character. It probably has something to do with James Daniels (the reader on the audio book) but I think Daniels was able to read each character this way because of the material Crais gave to work with. At one point in the story, Carol Starkey makes a phone call to Elvis Cole. I won't tell you what was said because that will give away an important part of the story, but I was impressed with how Crais wrote Starkey's lines in her own unique voice while still writing from Cole's point of view. The exchange was also a perfect example of the miscommunication between a man and a woman that showed both sides. I thought to myself, "How can this man know how to write a woman so well?"Speaking of unique voices, I must also mention that Daniels is fairly talented at voices. I loved the different voices he used to each character, especially Joe Pike. He sounded like a cross between Kris Kristofferson and Clint Eastwood.Like I said, I predicted the end of the book but this did not stop me from enjoying the book any. I highly recommend this book.
cmeilink on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the second book I've read by Robert Crais with Elvis Cole as the lead character. Although the writing was good, the plot was somewhat predictable and left me a little disappointed.Elvis Cole fans will still enjoy Crais' writing style and his ability to get inside each of his characters and bring them to life.
agual on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite "airplane" authors. Very absorbing read and fast paced. Love the ElvisCole books.
littleboris on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Quite a good detective story. A good twist at the end, but the build up is quite slow.
Erithrius on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not as good as some of his others; the ending was sort of dissapointing.
Carstairs38 More than 1 year ago
Has The Forgotten Man Walked Back into Elvis Cole’s Life? When the main character of a series has a mystery in his or her past, you know that will come into play at some point in the future. That’s exactly what happens for PI Elvis Cole in The Forgotten Man. You see, Elvis never knew his father. His mother never told a sole who he was, in fact, feeding Elvis a story when he was a boy, but not enough information to track the man down. However, a man who was shot in the alley of a Los Angeles used his dying breath to say he was Elvis’ father. He even has some recent articles about the detective on him. Could this man really be Elvis’ long lost father? What lead him to the alley where he was shot? Before we go any further, I do have to issue a warning. This book spoils all the twists of the previous book in the series, The Last Detective. Believe me, you don’t want to go into that book already knowing what happens, so read that book before you read this one. Part of what plays out here, especially in Elvis’ personal life, plays off that book, so I certainly understand why the details are brought up here. The recurring characters are a mixed bag in this book. Obviously, we see a lot of Elvis since he remains our first-person narrator for much of the story. However, Joe Pike, Elvis Cole’s partner, actually takes a back seat to Carol Starkey, a character first introduced in Demolition Angel. I must admit I have never particularly liked the character, but I hate what author Robert Crais did to her here. She needs a personality transplant stat! Of course, part of that is that we are now back to the early books where every woman wants to throw themselves at Elvis. The rest of the main characters in the book are introduced here, and they are well developed for their parts in the story. The story itself is good. We get a needless flashback to Elvis as a young teen. It’s designed to help flesh out his character in relation to what is going on here, but instead it felt like it slowed things down. We get bits and pieces from some other characters that take a while to feed into the main story, but my faith that these would eventually come into play was rewarded. As always, the climax is suspenseful, and there are some good twists along the way. As usual, I listened to the audio version of the book, this time narrated by James Daniels. He does a great job of bring the story and characters to life without being overly dramatic. Despite my complaints, The Forgotten Man is a solid PI novel. If you’ve missed this entry in the series, be sure to pick it up today.
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I've read this book before, but needed a copy to fill out my collection. Crais is the best thing going today.
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