Robert Crais, along with George Pelecanos, Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly, is part of a new generation of crime writers that are sometimes as good as older masters like Robert Parker and Donald Westlake but sometimes miss the mark. The vocabulary and situations in their books are sometimes more modern, but attempts to be more hip sometimes fall flat.
I mention this because this book by Crais encounters some of those problems, although it could be just a matter of the book, published in 2000, not dating well. Unlike his better books featuring Elvis Cole, a private eye, this one is about Carol Starkey, a detective in a case in which a bomb technician was blown up. Starkey herself had been almost killed—and her lover was killed—when a bomb they worked together as part of a bomb squad blew up due to—get this—a California earthquake.
Now Starkey, who, of course, has a drinking problem, has to face down her past as she tries to solve the case.
The story has a few surprises and twists, but is way too predictable overall.
A subplot involving a Web site and chat room where bombers and bomb enthusiasts congregate rubbed this reviewer the wrong way, since it just seemed so implausible that a detective and a serial bomber would sit online chatting to each other.
Overall, the book is a good thriller, as long as you can stifle the urge to guess what you think will happen next.
I give it a 7.