Elvis Cole, star of Robert Crais' super-successful detective novels, usually has fun. Even when the sleuthing gets rough, he cracks wisecracks while he cracks the case. Not so in Crais' latest and best so far, The Last Detective, read with compelling intensity by James Daniels. This case gets to Elvis in a visceral way. The 10-year-old son of his inamorata, Lucy Chenier, has been kidnapped, and the surly voice on the phone says it's payback time for something Cole did as an army Ranger in Vietnam. Desperate, disturbed Cole and his enigmatic, tough-as-nails partner, Joe Pike, can't wait to go after these guys, but to do that Cole must go into the Vietnam past he wanted to forget. When the cool Cole gets crazed and the invincible Joe shows signs of vulnerability, you know you're in for a nail-biter to the bitter end.

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