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Elvis Cole & Joe Pike Books In Order

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Publication Order of Elvis Cole & Joe Pike Books

Starring in the Robert Crais novels, Elvis Cole and Joe Pike are fictional detectives and partners. Most of these novels have Elvis as the first person narrator and the main focus. However, a few novels, The Watchman, The First Rule, as well as The Sentry center more on Joe Pike. Elvis and Joe are first introduced in Crais’s novel The Monkey’s Raincoat.

Elvis Cole

Named after “ The King ” and proclaimed the “ World’s Greatest Detective,” Elvis Cole is a private detective in Hollywood, California. The first case of his ever written about was with Elen Lang in The Monkey’s Raincoat, when she hires Elvis and Joe to find her missing son and husband. His unusually-decorated office leads readers to believe he is a Disney fanatic. He also drives a yellow 1966 Corvette and carries a Dan Wesson .38.

Elvis has been described as a tough, conscientious, somewhat unorthodox investigator who focuses mainly on cases with abused and battered women and children, although there are also several missing person’s cases such as in Monkey’s Raincoat, and Indigo Slam. Cole has several interests and hobbies including cooking, yoga, tai chi, and tae kwon do. He resides with a feral cat in Laurel Canyon above Hollywood and is not married. Little is known on Cole’s history prior to becoming a detective. Readers are aware that he has been partners with Joe for at least thirteen (13) years.

Joe Pike

Joe Pike plays the role of Elvis’s strong, silent partner in this detective series. Rumored to only supposed to be part of the first novel of this series, Crais decided after The Monkey’s Raincoat to give Pike a more permanent role after proving to be too difficult to kill off, and centered more on him for the first time in The Watchman, written in the year 2007. Joe is a former Marine and served for two combat tours. He is marked by his arrow tattoos and his constant wearing of sunglasses. In one of the books he is compared to Clint Eastwood, as “ The Man of Few Words.” He also qualified as a scout/sniper and served in Force Recon. He has black belts in tae kwon do, kung fu, wing chun, judo, and ubawazi. He enjoys working out and reading, and is not married.

The Monkey’s Raincoat

The first of the Cole and Pike novels, The Monkey’s Raincoat, introduces thirteen (13) year partners, Elvis and Joe working as private detectives in Hollywood. Their first case involves finding the missing husband and son of Ellen Lang in an investigation filled with drugs, sex, and murder.

Stalking the Angel

In the second novel of this series, Stalking the Angel, Elvis and Joe have to help Bradley Warren track down the lost thirteenth century Japanese manuscript, the Hagakure in Las Angeles’s Little Tokyo. Along the way the run into the notorious Japanese mafia known as the Yakuza.

Other Novels Starring Elvis and Joe

Elvis and Joe go on to star in 13 other novels including, Lullaby Town, published in the year 1992, Free Fall in 1993, Voodoo River in 1995, Sunset Express in 1996, Indigo Slam in 1997, L.A. Reqium in 1999, The Last Detective in 2002, The Forgotten Man in 2005, The Watchman in 2007, Chasing Darkness in 2008, The First Rule in 2010, and lastly The Sentry, that was published in the year 2011. In the most recent novel of the series, Taken (2012), readers are taken on an investigation in which Cole and Pike race to search for the daughter of Nita Morales and her boyfriend who have been kidnapped by a gang of banjadores involved in drugs and human trafficking. During the investigation, Cole, himself, is taken, and it is up to Pike to solve the investigation and save everyone. The synopsis for this novel leaves potential readers wondering whether or not Pike is too late to save his friend and partner.

Awards and Nominations

The Monkey’s Raincoat received an Anthony Award and a Macavity Award, and was nominated for an Edgar Award and Shamus Award. Lullaby Town was nominated for both an Anthony Award and Shamus Award. Free Fall was nominated for an Edgar Award. Sunset Express was the winner of the Shamus Award, and a Publisher’s Weekly – Best Books of 1996 Selection. Indigo Slam was nominated for the Shamus Award. L.A. Requiem received both the Dilys Award and the Edgar Award, and received nominations for the Anthony Award and The Shamus Award. The Last Detective was a finalist for the Audie Award. The Forgotten Man was nominated for the Shamus Award. The Watchman received the Barry Award and the Mystery Ink Gumshoe Award for Best Thriller of 2007. It was also nominated for the Anthony Award and the International Thriller Writers Thriller Award. Chasing Darkness was nominated for the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association for Best Mystery Award.


None of the Cole and Pike novels were ever made into films. It is unlikely that there ever will be films produced as Crais has no intention of selling the rights to these characters.

About the Author

Robert Crais was born on June 20, 1953 in Independence Louisiana and currently lives with his wife and three cats in the Santa Monica Mountains in California. He was adopted as a child and has no siblings. His inspirations for writing were Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammet, Ernest Hemmingway, Robert B. Parker, and John Steinbeck. In the year 1976, Crais moved to Hollywood where he began writing scripts for well known shows such as Miami Vice and Hill Street Blues. He continued his career as a script writer until the mid eighties when he decided to pursue his life long passion of becoming a novelist.

Inspired by the death of his father in the year 1985, Crais wrote The Monkey’s Raincoat, adding elements of his own life in the story. This was originally meant to be a standalone novel, however, he realized the potential of the main character Elvis Cole, and decided to continue his story through a series. In 1999, his career skyrocketed with L.A. Requiem, which was labeled both an L.A. Times and New York Times Best Seller. Crais’s career has lead to publications in forty two (42) countries with best sellers all over the world.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Elvis Cole & Joe Pike

5 Responses to “Elvis Cole & Joe Pike”

  1. mark: 8 months ago

    As a Viet vet and former lawyer, the appeal of this series was obvious. Other than John D MacDonald, Crais is the best at this genre (better even than Robert Parker).

  2. Wayne Lingenfelter: 2 years ago

    Are more Elvis Cole, Joe Pike books going to be published? I’ve read them all and loved them all. As a retired MarineCorps Force Recon Officer I miss Elvis and Joe. Hope we get more of them!!
    Semper Fi, Wayne Lingenfelter, Ed.D., Major USMC (Ret.)

  3. George R. Arrick: 3 years ago

    I’ve read the best: Connelly, Lescroart, Silva, Sandford — and Crais is the greatest. Joe and Elvis are the perfect partners, with interesting and necessary lives, and every novel shows some inherent research into an arcane topic, His novel ” The First Rule” is one of the best ones I’ve ever read, near perfect, with Joe Pike holding a sleeping baby all night. Sincerely, George Arrick

  4. -Nate: 7 years ago

    Good writing here ~ read them all in order if you can .


  5. Derrick: 9 years ago

    Robert Crais is an author I never knew I was a fan of. Hostage was a movie that was stand alone Awesome. I dint know it was a book, I jus liked th movie. But then I get th book Taken and it was so captivating and I found it Ironic that I was on vacation in Palm Springs, reading this book that happened in that vicinity which made it surreal, from his references of TG&Y to Hacienda Heights, to Calvin and Hobbes, to Palm Desert, i Truly enjoy all of His Works….. Hopefully they make an Elvis Cole Joe Pike movie!!!


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