The Promise (Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Series #16)

The Promise (Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Series #16)

by Robert Crais

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Elvis Cole and Joe Pike are joined by Suspect heroes LAPD K-9 Officer Scott James and his German shepherd, Maggie, in this heart-stopping thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Robert Crais.
Elvis Cole and Joe Pike keep their promises. Even if it could get them killed...
Elvis Cole is hired to find a woman who’s disappeared, a seemingly ordinary case, until he learns the missing woman is an explosives expert and worked for a Defense Department contractor. Meanwhile, LAPD K-9 Officer Scott James and his patrol dog, Maggie, track a fugitive to a house filled with explosives—and a dead body. As the two cases intertwine, they all find themselves up against shadowy arms dealers and corrupt officials, and the very woman they promised to save may be the cause of their own deaths.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780698146280
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/10/2015
Series: Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Series , #16
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 3,945
File size: 735 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Robert Crais is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty novels, many of them featuring private investigator Elvis Cole and his laconic ex-cop partner, Joe Pike. Before writing his first novel, Crais spent several years writing scripts for such major television series as Hill Street BluesCagney & LaceyMiami ViceQuincyBaretta, and L.A. Law. He received an Emmy nomination for his work on Hill Street Blues, and one of his standalone novels, Hostage, was made into a movie starring Bruce Willis. His novels have been translated into forty-two languages and are bestsellers around the world. A native of Louisiana, he lives in Los Angeles.


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

CHAPTER 1: Mr. Rollins

The woman stood in the far corner of the dimly lit room, hiding in shadows like a fish in gray water. She was small, round,  and dumpy. The fringed leather jacket probably made her seem rounder,  but she’d never been a looker.  She reminded  Mr. Rollins of an overripe peach, and the peach was clearly afraid.
A steady rain fell from the overcast night. The dingy, one-bedroom bungalow west of Echo Park reeked of bleach and ammonia, but the windows  were closed, the shades were  down, and the doors were locked. A single yellow twenty-five-watt lamp provided the only light. The chemical smell gave Mr. Rollins  a headache, but he could not open the windows. They were screwed shut.
Rollins wasn’t his real name, but the man and the woman probably weren’t using their true names, either. Amy and Charles. Amy hadn’t  said three words since they arrived. Charles did the talking and Charles was getting impatient.
“How long does this take?”
The chemist’s answer was resentful.
“Two minutes,  dude. Relax. Science takes time.”
The chemist was a juiced-up, sleeved-out rock pile hunched over the coffee table. A hiker’s LED headlamp blazed on his forehead. He was heating the contents of a glass jar with a small torch while watching two meters  that looked like swollen  TV remotes. Rollins had found him cooking  meth  eight years ago and used him often.
Charles  was a trim man in his forties with neat brown hair and the tight build of a tennis player. Mr. Rollins had made three buys off Charles in the past year, and all had gone well. This was why Mr. Rollins let him bring the woman,  only now, seeing her, Rollins wondered why she wanted to come. She damned near pissed herself when Rol- lins searched her and made them put on the gloves. He made everyone who entered the house wear vinyl gloves. Rollins did not allow food or drinks. No one could chew gum or smoke cigarettes. The list was pretty long. Mr. Rollins had rules.
He smiled as he adjusted  his gloves.
“They make your hands sweat, don’t they, Amy? I know it’s a pain, but we’re almost finished.”
Charles answered for her.
“She’s fine. Tell your man to finish up so we can get out of here.” The chemist mumbled without looking up.
“Fuck off.”
Rollins smiled at Amy again and glanced at the round plastic container beside the chemist. It was filled with a material that looked like yogurt and felt like modeling clay.
“Where’d you get this?”
Charles stepped on her answer again. “I told you where we got it.”
Rollins considered pushing his pistol up Charles’s ass and popping a cap, but he did not let his feelings show.
“I’m just making conversation. Amy seems nervous.” Charles glanced at Amy.
“She’s fine.”
Amy’s voice was whisper-soft when she finally  spoke. “I made it.”
The chemist snorted. “Yeah. Right.”
Then the chemist sat up and gazed at Rollins.
“Whoever made it did a righteous job. It’s the real deal, brother.” Charles crossed his arms. Smug.
“You see?”
Rollins was impressed. The material in the Tupperware was not easy to come by. Charles claimed the woman had two hundred kilo- grams.
“What about tags?”
The chemist turned off the torch and unplugged the meters. “Ethylene test shows zero. I’ll know parts per million when I run a sample at home, but the stuff is clean, bro. No tags. Untraceable.” Rollins thanked the chemist, who packed his equipment into a green backpack and let himself out through the kitchen. A light win- ter shower pattered the roof.
Charles said, “So now what? Are we in business?” Rollins  sealed the lid on the Tupperware.
“The buyer will test it himself. If his results are the same, we’re golden.”
Amy spoke again and this time she sounded anxious.
“I’ll make more for the right buyer. I can make all they want.” Charles took her arm, trying to turn her away.
“Let’s see their money first.” Amy did not move.
“I have to meet them, you know. That’s a requirement.” “Not now.”
Charles steered her toward the front door like a shopping  cart. Rollins quickly stopped them.
“Back door, Charles. Never the front.”
Charles swung  the woman around and aimed her toward  the kitchen. After insisting she come, Charles couldn’t get her out of the house fast enough.
Rollins opened the back door and asked for their gloves. He gave Amy a gentle smile.
“Buyers don’t like to be met, but they’ll make an exception for you, Amy. I promise.”
She seemed ready to cry, but Charles pulled her out and they dis- appeared into the rain.
Rollins locked the kitchen door and hurried  to the front door, where he peered through  a peephole. When Charles and Amy reached the street, he returned to the kitchen and opened the back door to air the place out. The tiny backyard was dark and hidden from neighbors by overgrown bushes and a sprawling  avocado tree.
Rollins stood in the door breathing air that didn’t stink of ammo- nia and called his buyer.
“Good news.”
A coded way of saying the tests were positive. “Very good. I will send someone.”
“Tonight.” “Yes. Now.”
“You have the other things here, too. I’ve told you for a week to come get this stuff.”
“I am sending someone.” “I want it gone. All of it.” “He will take it.”
Rollins put the Tupperware in the bedroom with the other things and returned to the kitchen. He still wore his gloves and would wear them until he left. He took a one-liter spray bottle from beneath the sink and sprayed bleach on the kitchen counters and floor and door. He sprayed the coffee table where the chemist had done his work and the stool on which the chemist had sat. He sprayed the living room floor and the doorjamb between the kitchen and living room. Rollins believed the bleach would destroy the enzymes and oils left in fingerprints or spit and erase DNA evidence. He wasn’t convinced this was true, but it seemed sensible, so he bleached out the house whenever he used it.
When Mr. Rollins acquired the house, he made several changes to better serve his needs, like screwing shut the windows and installing peepholes. Nothing  fancy, nothing  expensive, and nothing  to attract the neighbors’ attention, none of whom knew him, had met him or, hopefully, seen him.  Rollins did only enough maintenance  to prevent the house from becoming an eyesore. He let people stay from time to time, never anyone he personally knew and only long enough so the neighbors would think the house was a rental.  Mr. Rollins had not built a fortress when he acquired the house, just a place of relative safety from which to do his crime.
Rollins put away the bleach, returned  to the living room, and turned off the lamp. He sat in the darkness, nose burning  as he lis- tened to the rain.
9:42 p.m.
2142 hours.
1742 Zulu Time.
Mr. Rollins hated to wait, but there was big money at stake if Charles and Amy were real. Rollins wondered if Charles beat her. He seemed like the type.  She seemed like the type, too. Rollins’s older sister married  a man who abused her for years until  Rollins  killed  him.
Rollins checked the time again.
Rollins put his pistol on the couch. He rested his hand on the gun, checked the time, and closed his eyes.
The rain stopped.
Someone knocked at the front door.
Rollins jerked to his feet and moved quickly into the kitchen. The buyer’s man would  never use the front door. That was a rule. Every- one used the back.
Rollins quietly  closed and locked the kitchen door as knocking came from the front.
Knock knock knock.
Rollins slipped off his shoes and hurried  to the front. Knock knock knock.
Mr. Rollins peered through  the peephole and saw an adult male in a dark rain shell. The hood was back and the unzipped shell exposed a loud patterned shirt. Average height, Anglo, dark hair. The man pressed the bell, but the bell didn’t work, so he knocked again.
Rollins  held his pistol  close as he watched.
The man waited a few seconds and finally  walked  away.
Rollins watched for another two minutes. Cars passed and a cou- ple went by huddled beneath an umbrella even though  the rain no longer fell. The world appeared normal,  but a siren wailed in the dis- tance. Rollins had a bad feeling.
Rollins phoned the buyer again.
“The person you sent, he knows to go to the back?” “Yes. Of course. He has been there before.”
“If you sent someone, he didn’t show.” “Hold on. I will find out.”
A second siren was screaming. Closer. The man’s voice returned.
“He should have been there. This is not right.” “I’m jammed up here, man. I want to leave.”
“Bring the material to me. Not here. Someone will meet you by
MacArthur Park, there on the northeast corner.”
Rollins felt a flash of anger, but kept his voice cool. Rollins had made a fortune  off this man and stood to make more.
“You know the rules, Eli. I’m not driving around with your things in my car. Come get this crap.”
Rollins was pocketing his phone when he heard a wet crunch in the yard and pounding on the back door.
Rollins hurried to the kitchen,  checked the peephole, and saw a face he recognized. Carlos, Caesar, something  like that. His eyes were bright and he was breathing hard when Rollins opened the door.
Rollins scratched gloves from his pocket. “Put on the gloves, you idiot.”
Carlos ignored the gloves and ran to the living room, trailing mud and grass. He peeked out the nearest window,  bare fingers touching the shade. A helicopter passed overhead  so low the little house shook. “Fuck your gloves. You hear that? The police are on me, bro. Ain’t
this fuckin’ cool? I smoked their blue ass!”
The helicopter rumbled away, but circled the area.
Rollins felt a burst  of fear. Thoughts of mud, grass, and fingerprints on the shade vanished. He touched  aside the shade and saw a blazing searchlight sweep the next street.
“You brought the police.” Carlos turned away, laughing.
“I lost them, bro. I could be anywhere.”
Rollins felt as if his head were filling with angry maggots. The helicopter orbited overhead, lighting up the shades. The chop of the rotor moved away and slowly circled.
“How the fuck did this happen?”
“They made my face. I got warrants, y’know? Relax.”
Carlos flopped onto the couch, giggling, wired on adrenaline and chemicals. His muddy  shoes were on the cushions.
“They don’t know where I am. They gonna roll over us and keep right on rollin’.”
Rollins  gathered his thoughts. The house  was now lost. The goods in the bedroom were history. The mud and the grass no longer mattered. Rollins could not allow himself to be found here with the material in the bedroom and this giggling idiot on the couch. Rollins accepted these facts and the acceptance brought  calm.
The pistol was no good to him now. Rollins returned to the cabi- net where he kept the bleach and took out a rusted,  fourteen-inch pipe wrench. The wrench easily weighed three or four pounds.
Carlos was still stretched on the couch when Mr. Rollins went back to the living room. He strode directly to Carlos without  saying a word and brought the wrench down hard. He felt the head go on the first blow, but gave it two more. Rollins dropped the wrench and put on a fresh  pair of gloves. He pressed the pistol into Carlos’s hands, both hands so it would look like Carlos had handled the gun, and dropped it beside the wrench. If Rollins was picked up, he did not want a gun in his possession.
The helicopter  passed again. The shades flashed  into blinding white rectangles and once more filled with black.
Rollins trotted to the front door and looked through the peep- hole. A police officer  passed on the sidewalk  and another  spoke with people across the street. Rollins  closed his eyes. He took slow, mea- sured  breaths  as he counted to one hundred. He put his eye to the peephole again. The policemen were gone.
Rollins returned to the kitchen. He wore a dark sport coat and slacks. There would be blood splatter, but the blood would be difficult to see at night on the dark fabric. He had a nylon rain shell, but de- cided not to put it on. The sport coat was better. The police were looking for a young Latin guy in a black T-shirt,  not an older, well- dressed Anglo.  His car was several blocks away. If Rollins could get away from the house and beyond the police perimeter, he still might survive.
The light returned and slid away again.
Rollins moved in the moment of darkness. He opened the kitchen door, peeled off his gloves, and stepped out. A cop and a German shepherd were in the backyard. The dog was a deep-chested brute with angry eyes and fangs like daggers. The cop shouted as the dog charged.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Praise for Suspect
“Action-packed, deeply touching, and sure to be one of the best-written and most original crime novels of the year. Crais is one of the masters of modern crime fiction.” —Associated Press
“An exceptional novel. A rare hybrid—a first-class crime thriller and a story about love between two friends.” —The Huffington Post

Customer Reviews

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Promise 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 57 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can't wait until the next book in series comes out
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm sad to finish this book, I really enjoyed it. Great story, love the crossover, love the story. Hope Mr. Crais doesn't take so long for his next one (even if it was worth the wait).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
More, please!!!!?
Kittyb1 More than 1 year ago
One of his best yet!..... This book brings together all the exciting characters who make his novels exceptional. Joe, Jon, Scot and Maggie work with Elvis to stop a major terrorist threat, disguised as something else. Jon Stone is in the book more than usual, which is over the top gratifying with all his "magic". The way Mr. Crais writes about Maggie, as if she were speaking, is sometimes funny but most times affectionately protective. You'll love this book, even if you have never read any of the hard hitting Elvis Cole adventures before.
Carstairs38 More than 1 year ago
Elvis Cole is hired to track down a woman, and the most promising clue takes him to a house that appears to be empty. When Cole gets no answer, he tries to leave only to be trapped by the police swarming into the neighborhood looking for a suspect on the run. Meanwhile, K-9 officer Scott James and his dog, Maggie, are tracking the suspect to the very house Cole was interested in. Inside, they find a dead body and a room full of explosives. As the two cases intertwine, can the two find a way to work together? Knowing Scott and Maggie were going to be featured very heavily in this book was what got me reading the Cole and Pike books several years ago, so it was nice to finally get to read this one. I’m happy to say it lived up to the promise of the premise. The book is another great thriller with plenty of things happening to keep us interested. Both sets of characters contribute something to the eventual outcome. I did think there was a plot hole early on in the book, but it was resolved by the time we reach the climax. The characters were a little thin again, although I enjoyed getting to see a bit of a different side to John Stone here. The violence, language, and general depravity is definitely toned down from the previous book, although there is still more than in my typical cozies, which is no surprise. Fans of author Robert Crais or either set of characters will be pleased by this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this author, he never disappoints.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Liked the unique blend of characters and the weave of story entwining them. Wish his Dectrctive agency truly existed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This may be my fav in the series. But I think I say that every time. Hey, Crais! Can’t you write any faster? I’m looking forward to the next one. And seriously, thanks for writing them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Outstanding! What more is there to say. Thank you, Mr. Crais!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the way all the parts become integrated and while a bit predictable,not so much for a pleasant surprise or two! Well done!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read. You rock, Crais!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Crais delivers as always. I was really pleased to hear from Scott and his dog Maggie. I have yet to read a Robert Crais that I did'nt love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Promise is the 16th novel in the continuing saga of LA private investigator Elvis Cole and his taciturn partner, Joe Pike. The premise has Pike hired to find the whereabouts of a missing chemical engineer who has disappeared with $460,000 of her company's money. His only lead is the name of an acquaintance of the embezzler's deceased son. Cole stakes out an address given to him by the missing woman's boss, and stumbles upon a murder instead. LAPD K9 officer Scott James is on the scene as the murder unfolds, and almost takes Cole down by accident. Their chance acquaintance leads to trouble for James and his German Shepherd dog Maggie, but he comes to trust Cole and they work their way through a very convoluted, but interesting plot together. I'm a longtime fan of Crais' Cole and Pike series, and the Promise is a very satisfying addition to their legacy. I enjoyed the presence of Scott James and Maggie, the heroes of 2013's Suspect, and also that of ex-Special Forces operator Jon Stone. He plays a vital part in unraveling the mystery of this suspected terrorist plot. I highly recommend The Promise, and hope to see a new volume in the series coming our way soon. Thanks Mr. Crais!
Miccox99 More than 1 year ago
I've died and gone to heaven! The author has combined my two favorite series into a crossover book that has Office Scott James and his K9 partner Maggie, teaming up with Elvis Cole and Joe Pike! Humor and action combined to make for a thrilling mystery that needs to be untangled before a catastrophe of epic proportions can be blown sky high in California. Elvis and Joe are ex-military men who own and operate a private detective agency. They have been hired to find a missing chemist who is distraught over the death of her son at the hands of terrorists. Scott and Maggie are brought into the mix as they are chasing a felon with an arrest warrant when the two seemingly unrelated cases crash head first into one another and nothing is as it seems. I have read or listened to via audiotape all the books in both series and highly recommend that you do so as well if you like a good suspense story. The character development is complex and unique to each character which helps to bring the plot to life. While you could easily pick up this book and enjoy it, don't short yourself. Read both series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this latest book, and it was as good as I have come expect with all the books in this series. Didn't seem to have quite as many witty remarks from Elvis Cole, but enough to have me laugh out loud a few times. Love the addition of Maggie. Would highly recommend.
1dachsmom More than 1 year ago
Highly Recommend! One of my favorite authors. Don't miss this one!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Twink More than 1 year ago
Robert Crais is another author I pick up without bothering to see what the book is about. He's never disappointed me yet. The Promise is his latest book and it's the 16th book featuring private eye Elvis Cole and the enigmatic Joe Pike. But Crais really mixes it up this time, bringing in characters from other series. LAPD officer Scott James and his K9 partner Maggie and the also enigmatic Jon Stone make appearances. Elvis is hired to find a missing woman as her employer is quite worried - for a number of reasons. Elvis's initial search takes him to a house in LA's Echo Park - and lands him in a load of trouble. There's a dead guy in the house, along with a huge amount of explosives. And Elvis talked to the guy who left the house and disappeared. I always enjoy Elvis's sense of humour, snappy comebacks and his attitude. He's loyal to his customers, dogged and determined. Not always by the book, but he gets results. Joe Pike is the quiet one, the dangerous one and yes, the mysterious, kinda sexy one. Scott James is a bit of an innocent, but his loyalty to his dog makes for a great look at K9 policing. And as he's fairly new to readers, it's nice to get to know him a bit better. Jon Stone is a friend of Pike and I enjoy the glimpses we get to see of this mysterious man. (I think it's time for Jon to have a book of his own.) There's a fifth character and she has her own voice in The Promise. That's Maggie - the K9 officer. I have to tell you, I was sniffling during her chapters. (and then I went and hugged my dog) Although I enjoyed seeing so many favourite characters in one place, it ended up being a very busy book. Lots of POV's. It changed the tone and timbre of the book, giving Elvis less time and space to be, well, to be Elvis. And I always want more Pike. Mr. Rollins, the antagonist in the book, is also given a voice. So many POV's took away from the plot for me. But The Promise was still a good read for me. On the other hand, if you haven't sampled Crais' writing yet, this is a great book to meet his protagonists and choose what series to delve into next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mixing Cole, Pike, Scott, Maggie and super agent Jon Snow together created a first rate thriller. Nasty bad guys and a fast moving plot sealed the deal. I can hardly wait for the next book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another fabulous read from Crais. Deftly plotted; intricately drawn, likeable characters; with writing that possesses heart, soul and empathy. Crais' books read like a beautifully sung Aria. Not a note wrong or out of place. Hopefully he's hard at work on his next book. I will wait patiently.