A recurring theme of the Elvis Cole series has been the fact that Cole has never known who his biological father was. What he has been told about him may in fact be nothing more than lies. Raised first by his mentally ill mother and then later by grandparents, Cole has always been haunted by the question. That theme becomes the focus of the Robert Crais novel, “The Forgotten Man.”

Cole is still dealing with the fact that Lucy and her son, Ben, have left him behind as well as other recent events. His personal life has taken a tremendous toll on him physically and mentally with one sign of it being that he hasn’t been seen out in public or at his office in weeks. As the novel begins, Cole is asked to come out to a crime scene by Detective Kelly Diaz of the LAPD. It isn’t the first time P. I. Cole has been asked to come to a crime scene. What makes it different this time is, according to Diaz, the man as he died told her he was Cole’s father and was looking for him.

Forced into going to the crime scene to look at a man who he wouldn’t be able to recognize even if it was his father, Cole gradually moves back into the land of the living.  Not only does he begin to once again appear in his office, he begins to work the case driven by a need to know if it was his father. After all, not only did the man tell Diaz that he was Cole’s father, he was carrying press clippings featuring various news stories about Cole and his cases.  He does it, not because he really believes the man was his father, but because he needs something to do to occupy his mind and tamp down his always prevalent self-destructive impulses. Since the aftermath of Ben’s kidnapping and the violent rescue, which resulted in their leaving town, Cole has been in a deep depression. Now he has a mission. Identify the deceased and investigate the circumstances surround his death.

While the novel does involve other characters, the work primarily revolves around Cole and his resurrection. Cole faces great trials, both physical and mental, and by the time he is through, as in any resurrection style story, he has becomes reborn in a sense. In so doing, the further emotional evolution of the character, especially across the last several novels, continues.

While it does, Robert Crais does not allow that exploration and thematic messages, to get in the way of an outstanding story. Featuring interesting characters, a complex mystery, and plenty of action, this novel in the Elvis Cole series is another strong read and should please his legion of fans.

The Forgotten Man

By Robert Crais




ISBN 0-385-50428-4


342 Pages

$24.95 US

$34.95 Canada

Kevin R. Tipple © 2008

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