Cover image for L.A. requiem
Title:
L.A. requiem
Author:
Crais, Robert.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : [Random House], 1999.
Physical Description:
[382] pages ; [24] cm
General Note:
Paging and size varies.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780385495837

9780345434470
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Los Angeles is a city of perpetual reinvention. Inviting, with a promise of infinite hope, it can also be a glittering landscape of debilitating isolation. The city's lost souls take comfort in its promise--the notion that tomorrow could be the day to start all over again, to transform oneself into someone else. Someone more powerful, more beautiful, more daring. At the core ofL.A. Requiemis Joe Pike, a former cop with a past as dark and foreboding as his demeanor. His only stable relationship is with his partner of twelve years, Elvis Cole, a talented and quick-witted PI with skeletons in his own past. When Pike's former lover is found dead at a reservoir in the Hollywood Hills, the duo is brought in by the woman's father to monitor the police investigation. But Pike's no stranger to the men and women in the LAPD's elite Robbery-Homicide Division, at least one of whom has been harboring a long-buried desire for revenge. With a rich cast of characters reminiscent of Raymond Chandler's classicThe Long Goodbye,L.A. Requiemis the apotheosis of Crais's writing career--a gripping novel that envelops Cole and Pike in an ever-tightening web of conspiracies, secrets, and mortal passions that threatens to destroy their friendship, and leave one, or both, dead.


Author Notes

Robert Crais was born in 1953 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Before becoming a writer, he was a mechanical engineer. In 1976, he began writing scripts for television series including Miami Vice, Cagney and Lacey, and Hill Street Blues. He is the author of the Elvis Cole series and the Joe Pike series. The Monkey's Raincoat won the Anthony and Macavity Awards in 1988. In 2005, his novel Hostage was adapted into a movie starring Bruce Willis. He is the 2006 recipient of the Ross Macdonald Literary Award. In 2017 his title, The First Rule, made the IBook Best Seller List.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Karen Garcia is shot in the head while jogging in an L.A. preserve. It would have been written off as just another violent death, but her father, Frank, is the most powerful Hispanic politician in L.A. Frank Garcia's Hispanic background tells him not to trust the cops, so he asks Joe Pike, an ex-cop, to observe the investigation. Many on the force still believe Pike killed his partner 12 years earlier. Pike is also one of Karen Garcia's former lovers. Pike's partner, Elvis Cole, serves as our guide through an investigation sullied by politics, personal ambition, and a growing media spotlight. Cole finds his own life thrown into chaos when Pike becomes a suspect, the lead female detective on the case takes an interest in him, and it appears that the killer may be connected to the death of Pike's old partner. The eighth Elvis Cole^-Joe Pike novel is easily the most ambitious in an outstanding series. Readers will learn what drives Pike; how he uses his taciturn demeanor as a shield; and why the toughest thing he ever did involved neither guns nor physical bravery. This is an extraordinary crime novel that should not be pigeonholed by genre. The best books always land outside preset boundaries. A wonderful experience. --Wes Lukowsky


Publisher's Weekly Review

In his eighth book about wise-cracking Los Angeles private detective Elvis Cole, Crais has expanded his narrative reach and broadened his characters' horizons to produce a mature work that deserves to move him up a notch or twoÄinto Parker or Connelly country. He's done this by focusing on Joe Pike, Cole's tough and hitherto totally enigmatic partner. It's Pike who breaks in on Cole's reunion with Lucy Chenier, his lawyer/broadcaster lover who has just moved from New Orleans, to ask for Elvis's help in tracking down the missing daughter of a rich and powerful Hispanic businessman. When the girl turns up murdered in Griffith Park, it's Pike who gives a nerdy medical examiner valuable assistance; and when it turns out that the girl's death is linked to several other murders, it's Pike who is charged with killing the chief suspect. Through flashbacks to Joe's past life as an abused child, a highly motivated teenage soldier and an L.A. cop fighting to keep a corrupt partner from destroying his family, we learn more about Pike than we did in the seven previous Cole books. This new focus also allows Crais to keep Elvis's often annoying throwaway lines to a minimumÄalthough more pruning could have been done with no loss of flavor. The book's scope is wide enough to include many other memorable characters, especially a rough-edged, vulnerable police officer named Samantha Dolan, plus a choice of plausible villains. There may be one too many metaphoric descriptions attempting to link aspects of the L.A. landscape with the moods and deeds of its inhabitants, but overall Crais seems to have successfully stretched himself the way another Southern California writerÄRoss MacdonaldÄalways tried to do, to write a mystery novel with a solid literary base. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Investigating the murder of a former lover may wreck the only thing edgy P.I. Joe Pike has left: the relationship with his cool partner, Elvis Cole. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

That Sunday, the sun floated bright and hot over the Los Angeles basin, pushing people to the beaches and the parks and into backyard pools to escape the heat. The air buzzed with the nervous palsy it gets when the wind freight-trains in from the deserts, dry as bone, and cooking the hillsides into tar-filled kindling that can snap into flames hot enough to melt an auto body. The Verdugo Mountains above Glendale were burning. A column of brown smoke rose off the ridgeline there where it was caught by the Santa Anas and spread south across the city, painting the sky with the color of dried blood. If you were in Burbank, say, or up along the Mulholland Snake over the Sunset Strip, you could see the big multiengine fire bombers diving in with their cargoes of bright red fire retardant as news choppers crisscrossed the scene. Or you could just watch the whole thing on television. In L.A., next to riots and earthquakes, fires are our largest spectator sport. We couldn't see the smoke column from Lucy Chenier's second-floor apartment in Beverly Hills, but the sky had an orange tint that made Lucy stop in her door long enough to frown. We were bringing cardboard moving boxes up from her car. "Is that the fire?" "The Santa Anas are bringing the smoke south. Couple of hours, the ash will begin to fall. It'll look like gray snow." The fire was forty miles away. We were in no danger. Lucy shifted the frown to her Lexus, parked below us at the curb. "Will it hurt the paint?" "By the time it settles it'll be cool, just like powder. We'll wash it off with the hose." Elvis Cole, Professional Angeleno, educating the recent transplant, who also happens to be his girlfriend. Wait'll we get a big temblor. Lucy didn't seem convinced, but then she stepped inside, and called her son. "Ben!" Less than a week before, Lucille Chenier and her nine-year-old son had left Louisiana and settled into the apartment that they had taken in Beverly Hills, just south of Wilshire Boulevard. Lucy had been a practicing attorney in Baton Rouge, but was beginning a new career as a legal analyst for a local television station (a nouveau occupational fruit growing from the ugly tree that was the Simpson trial). Trading Baton Rouge for Los Angeles, she gained a larger salary, more free time to spend with her son, and closer proximity to moi . I had spent all of Friday, Saturday, and most of Sunday morning arranging and rearranging the living room. That's love for you. The television was tuned to the station she now worked for, KROK-8 ("Real News for Real People!"), which, like every other station in town, had interrupted regular programming with live coverage of the fire. Twenty-eight homes were threatened and had been evacuated. Lucy handed Ben the box. "Too heavy?" "No way." "Your room. Your closet. Neatly ." When he was gone I slipped my hand around her waist, and whispered, "Your room. Your bed. Messy." She stepped away and considered the couch. "First we have to get this house in order. Would you please move the couch again?" I stared at the couch. I had moved it maybe eight hundred times in the last two days. "Which wall?" She chewed at her thumb, thinking. "Over there." "That's where it was two moves ago." It was a big couch. It probably weighed three thousand pounds. "Yes, but that was when the entertainment center was by the fireplace. Now that we've put the entertainment center by the entry, the look will be completely different." " We? " "Yes. We ." I bent into the couch and dragged it to the opposite wall. Four thousand pounds. I was squaring the couch when the phone rang. Lucy spoke for a minute, then held out the phone. "Joe." Joe Pike and I are partners in the detective agency that bears my name. He could have his name on it if he wanted, but he doesn't. He's like that. I took the phone. "Hernias R Us." Lucy rolled her eyes and turned away, already contemplating new sofa arrangements. Pike said, "How's the move going?" I walked the phone out onto the balcony. "It's a big change. I think she's finally realizing how big. What's up?" "You heard of Frank Garcia?" "The tortilla guy. Regular, large, and Monsterito sizes. I prefer the Monsterito myself." You could walk into any food store in Los Angeles and see Frank Garcia smiling at you from the packages of his tortillas, eyes bright, bushy black mustache, big smile. Pike said, "Frank's a friend of mine and he's got a problem. I'm on my way there now. Can you meet me?" Pike and I have owned a detective agency for twelve years, and I have known him even longer since his days as a Los Angeles police officer. He had never once asked a favor, or asked for my help on a personal problem in all of that time. "I'm helping Lucy set up her house. I'm wearing shorts, and I've spent the morning wrestling a ten-thousand-pound couch." Pike didn't answer. "Joe?" "Frank's daughter is missing, Elvis. She's a friend of mine, too. I hope you can make it." He gave an address in Hancock Park, then hung up without another word. Pike is like that, too.Uniformed LAPD Officer Joe Pike could hear the banda music even with the engine idling, the a.c. jacked to meat locker, and the two-way crackling callout codes to other units. The covey of Latina street kids clumped outside the arcade giggled at him, whispering things to each other that made them flush. Squat brown men come up through the fence from Zacatecas milled on the sidewalk, shielding their eyes from the sun as veteranos told them about Sawtelle over on the Westside where they could find day labor jobs, thirty dollars cash, no papers required. Here in Rampart Division south of Sunset, Guatemalans and Nicaraguans simmered with Salvadorans and Mexican nationals in a sidewalk machaca that left the air flavored with epizote, even here within the sour cage of the radio car. Pike watched the street kids part like water when his partner hurried out of the arcade. Abel Wozniak was a thick man with a square head and cloudy, slate eyes. Wozniak was twenty years older than Pike and had been on the street twenty years longer. Once the best cop that Pike had then met,Wozniak's eyes were now strained. They'd been riding together for two years, and the eyes hadn't always been that way. Pike regretted that, but there wasn't anything he could do about it. Especially now when they were looking for Ramona Ann Escobar. Wozniak lurched in behind the wheel, adjusting his gun for the seat, anxious to roll even with the tension between them as thick as clotted blood. His informant had come through. "DeVille's staying at the Islander Palms Motel." "Does DeVille have the girl?" "My guy eyeballed a little girl, but he can't say if she's still with him." Wozniak snapped the car into gear and rocked away from the curb. They didn't roll Code Three. No lights, no siren. The Islander Palms was less than five blocks away, here on Alvarado Boulevard just south of Sunset. Why send an announcement? "Woz? Would DeVille hurt her?" "I told you, a fuckin' perv like this would be better off with a bullet in his head." It was eleven-forty on a Tuesday morning. At nine-twenty, a five-year-old girl named Ramona Ann Escobar had been playing near the paddleboatconcession in Echo Park when her mother, a legal emigre from Guatemala, had turned away to chat with friends. Witnesses last saw Ramona in the company of a man believed to be one Leonard DeVille, a known pedophilewho'd been sighted working both Echo and MacArthur parks for the past three months. When the dispatch call had come about the missing girl, Wozniak had begun working his street informants. Wozniak, having beenon the street forever, knew everyone and how to find them. He wasatreasure trove of information that Pike valued and respected, anddidn'twant to lose. But Pike couldn't do anything about that,either. Pike stared at Wozniak until Wozniak couldn't handle the weight any longer and glanced over. They were forty seconds away from the Islander Palms. "Oh, for Christ's sake, what?" "It isn't too late, Woz." Wozniak's eyes went back to the street, and his face tightened. "I'm telling you, Joe. Back off with this. I'm not going to talk about it anymore." "I meant what I said." Wozniak wet his lips. "You've got Paulette and Evelyn to think about." Wozniak's wife and daughter. The cloudy eyes flicked to Pike, as bottomless and as dangerous as a thunderhead. "I've been thinking about them, Pike. You bet your ass." For just an instant, Pike thought Wozniak's eyes filled. Then Wozniak gave a shudder as if he were shaking out his feelings, and pointed. "There it is. Now shut the fuck up and play like a cop." The Islander Palms was a white stucco dump: two stories of frayed carpets, stained beds, and neon palms that looked tacky even in Los Angeles, all of it shaped into an L around a narrow parking lot. The typical customers were whores renting by the hour, wannabe pornographers shooting "amateur" videos, and rent jumpers needing a place to stay while they found a new landlord to stiff. Pike followed Wozniak into the manager's office, a skinny Hindu with watery eyes. First thing he said was, "I do not wan' trouble, please." Wozniak had the lead. "We're looking for a man with a little girl. His name is Leonard DeVille, but he might've used another name." The Hindu didn't know the name, or about a little girl, but he told them that a man matching the description Woz provided could be found on the second floor in the third room from the top of the L. Pike said, "You want me to call it in?" Wozniack went out the door and up the stairs without answering. Pike thought then that he should go back to the car and call, but you don't let your partner go up alone. Pike followed. They found the third door, listened, but heard nothing. The drapes were pulled. Standing on the exposed balcony, Pike felt as if they were being watched. Wozniak took the knob side of the door, Pike the hinges. Wozniak rapped on the door, identifying himself as a Los Angeles police officer. Everything about Joe made him want to be the first one inside, but they had settled that two years ago. Wozniak drove, Wozniak went in first, Wozniak called how they made the play. Twenty-two years on the job against Pike's three bought you that. They had done it this way two hundred times. When DeVille opened the door, they pushed him backward, Wozniak going first and pushing hard. DeVille said, "Hey, what is this?" Like he'd never been rousted before. The room was tattered and cheesy, with a closet and bath off the rear. A rumpled double bed rested against the wall like some kind of ugly altar, its dark red bedspread stained and threadbare, one of the stains looking like Mickey Mouse. The room's only other piece of furniture was a cheap dresser edged with cigarette burns and notches cut by a sharp knife. Wozniak held DeVille as Pike cleared the bathroom and the closet, looking for Ramona. "She's not here." "Anything else? Clothes, suitcase, toothbrush?" "Nothing." Indicating that DeVille hadn't been living here, and didn't intend to. He had other uses for the room. Wozniak, who had busted DeVille twice in the past, said, "Where is she, Lennie?" "Who? Hey, I don't do that anymore. C'mon, Officer." "Where's the camera?" DeVille spread his hands, flashing a nervous smile. "I got no camera. I'm telling you, I'm off that." Leonard DeVille was five-eight, with a fleshy body, dyed blond hair, and skin like a pineapple. The hair was slicked straight back, and held with a rubber band. Pike knew that DeVille was lying, but waited to see how Woz would play it. Even with only three years on the job, Pike knew that pedophiles were always pedophiles. You could bust them, treat them, counsel them, whatever, but when you released them back into the world, they were still child molesters and it was only a matter of time. Wozniak hooked a hand under the foot of the bed and heaved the bed over. DeVille jumped back and stumbled into Pike, who caught and held him. A rumpled overnight bag was nesting in about a million dust bunnies where the bed had been. Wozniak said, "Lennie, you are about as dumb as they get." "Hey, that ain't mine. I got nothing to do with that bag." DeVille was so scared that he sprouted sweat like a rainstorm. Wozniak opened the bag and dumped out a Polaroid camera, better than a dozen film packs, and at least a hundred pictures of children in various stages of undress. That's how a guy like DeVille made his living, snapping pictures and selling them to other perverts. Wozniak toed through the pictures, his face growing darker and more contained. Pike couldn't see the pictures from where he stood, but he could see the vein pulsing in Wozniak's temple. He thought that Wozniak must be thinking about his own daughter, but maybe not. Maybe Wozniak was still thinking about the other thing. Pike squeezed DeVille's arm. "Where's the little girl? Where's Ramona Escobar?" DeVille's voice went higher. "That stuff isn't mine. I never saw it before." Wozniak squatted, fingering through the pictures without expression. He lifted one, and held it to his nose. "I can still smell the developing chemicals. You didn't take this more than an hour ago." "They're not mine!" Wozniak stared at the picture. Pike still couldn't see it. "She looks about five. She matches the physical description they gave us. Pretty little girl. Innocent. Now she's not innocent anymore." Abel Wozniak stood and drew his gun. It was the new Beretta 9-millimeter that LAPD had just mandated. "If you hurt that child, I'll fucking kill you." Joe said, "Woz, we've got to call in. Put your gun away." Wozniak stepped past Pike and snapped the Beretta backhand, slamming DeVille in the side of the head and dropping him like a bag of garbage. Pike jumped between them, grabbing Wozniak by the arms and pushing him back. "That doesn't help get the girl." Then Wozniak's eyes came to Pike; hard, ugly little rivets with something behind the clouds. When the two police officers went up the stairs, Fahreed Abouti, the manager, watched until they pushed the blond man back into his room. The police often came to his motel to bust the prostitutes and johns and drug dealers, and Fahreed never passed up a chance to watch. Once, he had seen a prostitute servicing the officers who had come to arrest her, and another time he watched as three officers beat a rapist until all the man's teeth were gone. There was always something wonderful to see. It was better than Wheel of Fortune. You had to be careful, though. As soon as the upstairs door closed, Fahreed crept up the stairs. If you got too close, or if they caught you, the police grew angry. Once, a SWAT officer in the armor and the helmet and with the big gun had grown so angry that he'd knocked Fahreed's turban into a puddle of transmission fluid. The cleaning cost had been horrendous. The shouting started when Fahreed was still on the stairs. He couldn't understand what was being said, only that the words were angry. He eased along the second-floor balcony, trying to get closer, but just as he reached the room, the shouting stopped. He cursed the fates, thinking he'd missed all the fun, when suddenly there was a single loud shout from inside, then a thunderous, deafening explosion. People on the street stopped in their tracks and looked. People pointed, and a man across the parking lot ran. Fahreed's heart pounded, because even a Hindu knew a gunshot. He thought the blond man might be dead. Or perhaps he had killed the officers. Fahreed heard nothing within the room. "Hallu?" Nothing. "Is everyone all right?" Nothing. Perhaps they had jumped from the bathroom window into the alley behind. Fahreed's palms were damp, and all his swirling fears demanded that he race back to his office and pretend to have heard nothing, but instead he threw open the door. The younger officer, the tall one with the dark glasses and the empty face, spun toward him and aimed an enormous revolver. Fahreed thought in that instant that he would surely die. "Please. No!" The older officer was without a face, his remains covered in blood. The blond man was dead, too, his face a mask of crimson. The floor and walls and ceiling were sprayed red. "No!" The tall officer's gun never wavered. Fahreed stared into his dark bottomless glasses, and saw that they were misted with blood. "Please!" The tall officer dropped to his fallen partner, and began CPR. Without looking up, the tall officer said, "Call 911." Fahreed Abouti ran for the phone. I stayed out on the balcony and watched Lucy. She was moving from box to box as if she could no more decide what to unpack next than where to put the couch. She had been like that since she arrived from Louisiana, and it wasn't like her. We had had a long-distance relationship for two years, but now we had made a very real move to further that relationship, and she had carried the weight of it. She's the one who had left her friends. She's the one who had left her home. She was the one taking the risk. I turned off the phone, went back inside, and waited for her to look at me. "Hey." She smiled, but seemed troubled. I stroked her upper arms and smiled back. She has beautiful amber-green eyes. "You okay?" She looked embarrassed. "I'm fine." "It's a big move. Big changes for both of us." She glanced back at the boxes as if something might be hiding in them. "It's going to work out, Luce." She snuggled against me, and I could feel her smile. I didn't want to leave. She said, "What did Joe want?" "The daughter of a friend of his is missing. He wants me to help check it out." Lucy looked up at me, her face now serious. "A child?" "He didn't say. You mind if I go?" She glanced at the couch again. "You'll do anything to avoid this couch, won't you?" "Yeah. I hate that damned couch." Lucy laughed, then looked into my eyes again. "I'd mind if you didn't go. Take a shower and go save the world." Hancock Park is an older area south of the Wilshire Country Club, lesser known to outsiders than Beverly Hills or Bel Air, but every bit as rich. Frank Garcia lived in an adobe-walled Spanish villa set behind a wrought-iron fence just west of the country club. It was a big place, hidden by lush green tree ferns and bird-of-paradise plants as big as dinosaurs and leafy calla lilies that were wilting from the heat. Forty minutes after Pike gave me Garcia's address, I followed an older Latina with a thick waist and nervous hands through Garcia's rambling home and out to where Frank Garcia and Joe Pike waited beside a tile-lined pool. As I approached, Pike said, "Frank, this is Elvis Cole. We own the agency together." "Mr. Garcia." Frank Garcia wasn't the smiling man with the bushy mustache you see on his tortillas. This Frank Garcia looked small and worried, and it had nothing to do with him being in a wheelchair. "You don't look like a private investigator." I was wearing one of those terrific Jam's World print shirts over the shorts. Orange, yellow, pink, and green. "Gee, did I wear this on a Sunday?" Garcia looked embarrassed, then raised his hands in apology. "I'm sorry, Mr. Cole. I'm so worked up about this thing with Karen, I'm not thinking. I don't care how you dress. I just want to find my daughter." He touched Joe's arm. It was a loving gesture, and surprised me. "That's why I called Joe. Joe says if anyone can find Karen, it's you. He says you're the best there is at finding people." Here's the scene: The three of us are by the Olympic-sized pool. The Latina with the thick waist is hovering in the shade of the veranda up by the house, her eyes on Frank in case he might want something, but so far he doesn't and he hasn't offered anything to me. If he did, I would ask for sunblock because standing here next to his pool is like standing on the sun side of Mercury. Gotta be ninety-six and climbing. Behind us is a pool house larger than my home, and through the sliding glass doors I can see a pool table, wet bar, and paintings of vaqueros in the Mexican highlands. It is air-conditioned in there, but apparently Frank would rather sit out here in the nuclear heat. Statues of lions dot the landscape, as motionless as Joe Pike, who has not moved once in the three minutes that I have been there. Pike is wearing a gray sweatshirt with the sleeves cut off, faded Levi's, and flat black pilot's glasses, which is the way he dresses every day of his life. His dark brown hair is cut short, and brig ht red arrows were tattooed on the outside of his deltoids long before tattoos were au courant . Watching Joe stand there, he reminds me of the world's largest two-legged pit bull. I said, "We'll do what we can, Mr. Garcia. How long has Karen been missing?" "Since yesterday. Yesterday morning at ten o'clock. I called the police, but those bastards wouldn't do anything, so I called Joe. I knew he'd help." He patted Joe's arm again. "The police refused to help?" "Yeah. Those pricks." "How old is Karen, Mr. Garcia?" "Thirty-two." I glanced at Pike. Together, we had worked hundreds of missing persons cases, and we both knew why the police had brushed off Frank Garcia. I said, "A thirty-two-year-old woman has only been missing since yesterday?" "Yes." Pike's voice was soft. Frank Garcia twisted in his chair, knowing what I was saying and angry about it. "What's your point, asking that? You think just because she's a grown woman she'd meet some man and run off without letting anyone know?" "Adult people do that, Mr. Garcia." He shoved a piece of yellow legal paper into my hands, and now the nervous eyes were rimmed with frustration, like I was his last best hope and I wasn't going for it, either. "Karen would've called. She would've told me if she had to change her plans. She was gonna go run, then bring me a bowl of machaca , but she never came back. You ask Mrs. Acuna in her building. Mrs. Acuna knows." He said it as though if he could only get it out fast enough, it would become as important to me as it was to him. But then Frank wheeled toward Joe, and now his voice held anger as well as fear. "He's like the goddamned police. He don't want to do anything." He spun back at me, and now you could see the man he had been before he was in the chair, a teenaged gang-banger out of East L.A. with the White Fence gang who had turned his life around and made a fortune. "Sorry I pulled you away from your donuts." From a million miles away behind the dark glasses, Joe said, "Frank. We're going to help you." I tried not to look embarrassed, which is hard to do when your face is red. "We'll look for your daughter, Mr. Garcia. I just want you to know that the police have their policy for a reason. Most people we think are missing aren't. Eventually they call or show up, and they're embarrassed that everyone went to so much trouble. You see?" He didn't look happy about it. "You know where she was going to run?" "Somewhere around Hollywood up by the hills. Mrs. Acuna said she was going to this Jungle Juice, one of those little juice places? Mrs. Acuna said she always got one of those things, a smoothie. She offered to bring one back." "Jungle Juice. Okay, that gives us a place to start." How many Jungle Juices could there be? Frank was looking more relieved by the second. Like he could breathe again. "I appreciate this, Mr. Cole. I want you to know that I don't care how much this costs. You tell me how much you want, it's yours." Joe said, "Nothing." Garcia waved his hands. "No, Joe, c'mon." "Nothing, Frank." I stared at the pool. I would've liked some of Frank Garcia's money just fine. Garcia took Joe's arm again. "You're a good boy, Joe. You always were." He hung on to Joe's arm as he looked at me. "We know each other since Joe was a policeman. Joe and my Karen, they used to see each other. I was hoping maybe one day this boy might be part of the family." Joe said, "That was a long time ago." He said it so softly that I could barely hear him. I smiled. "Joe. You never told me about this." Joe turned my way, the flat black lenses reflecting sun. "Stop." I smiled wider and shook my head. That Joe. You learn something every day. The old man looked up at the sky as the first flecks of ash swirled around us, the flecks catching on his hands and legs. "Look at this mess. The goddamned sky is melting." The woman with the thick waist showed us out through the cool of Frank Garcia's home. Joe's red Jeep Cherokee was parked beneath an elm tree at the curb. My car was parked behind it. Pike and I walked down the drive without speaking until we came to the street, and then Joe said, "Thanks for coming." "I guess there are worse ways to spend a Sunday. I could be wrestling that damned couch." Pike canted the glasses my way. "We finish this, I'll move the couch for you." Friends. We left my car where it was, climbed into Pike's Jeep, and went to find Karen Garcia. Excerpted from L. A. Requiem by Robert Crais All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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