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The Promise: An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel (Anglais) Relié – 10 novembre 2015

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CHAPTER 1: Mr. Rollins

The woman stood in the far corner of the dimly lit room, hiding in shadows like a fish in gray water. She was small, round,  and dumpy. The fringed leather jacket probably made her seem rounder,  but she’d never been a looker.  She reminded  Mr. Rollins of an overripe peach, and the peach was clearly afraid.
A steady rain fell from the overcast night. The dingy, one-bedroom bungalow west of Echo Park reeked of bleach and ammonia, but the windows  were closed, the shades were  down, and the doors were locked. A single yellow twenty-five-watt lamp provided the only light. The chemical smell gave Mr. Rollins  a headache, but he could not open the windows. They were screwed shut.
Rollins wasn’t his real name, but the man and the woman probably weren’t using their true names, either. Amy and Charles. Amy hadn’t  said three words since they arrived. Charles did the talking and Charles was getting impatient.
“How long does this take?”
The chemist’s answer was resentful.
“Two minutes,  dude. Relax. Science takes time.”
The chemist was a juiced-up, sleeved-out rock pile hunched over the coffee table. A hiker’s LED headlamp blazed on his forehead. He was heating the contents of a glass jar with a small torch while watching two meters  that looked like swollen  TV remotes. Rollins had found him cooking  meth  eight years ago and used him often.
Charles  was a trim man in his forties with neat brown hair and the tight build of a tennis player. Mr. Rollins had made three buys off Charles in the past year, and all had gone well. This was why Mr. Rollins let him bring the woman,  only now, seeing her, Rollins wondered why she wanted to come. She damned near pissed herself when Rol- lins searched her and made them put on the gloves. He made everyone who entered the house wear vinyl gloves. Rollins did not allow food or drinks. No one could chew gum or smoke cigarettes. The list was pretty long. Mr. Rollins had rules.
He smiled as he adjusted  his gloves.
“They make your hands sweat, don’t they, Amy? I know it’s a pain, but we’re almost finished.”
Charles answered for her.
“She’s fine. Tell your man to finish up so we can get out of here.” The chemist mumbled without looking up.
“Fuck off.”
Rollins smiled at Amy again and glanced at the round plastic container beside the chemist. It was filled with a material that looked like yogurt and felt like modeling clay.
“Where’d you get this?”
Charles stepped on her answer again. “I told you where we got it.”
Rollins considered pushing his pistol up Charles’s ass and popping a cap, but he did not let his feelings show.
“I’m just making conversation. Amy seems nervous.” Charles glanced at Amy.
“She’s fine.”
Amy’s voice was whisper-soft when she finally  spoke. “I made it.”
The chemist snorted. “Yeah. Right.”
Then the chemist sat up and gazed at Rollins.
“Whoever made it did a righteous job. It’s the real deal, brother.” Charles crossed his arms. Smug.
“You see?”
Rollins was impressed. The material in the Tupperware was not easy to come by. Charles claimed the woman had two hundred kilo- grams.
“What about tags?”
The chemist turned off the torch and unplugged the meters. “Ethylene test shows zero. I’ll know parts per million when I run a sample at home, but the stuff is clean, bro. No tags. Untraceable.” Rollins thanked the chemist, who packed his equipment into a green backpack and let himself out through the kitchen. A light win- ter shower pattered the roof.
Charles said, “So now what? Are we in business?” Rollins  sealed the lid on the Tupperware.
“The buyer will test it himself. If his results are the same, we’re golden.”
Amy spoke again and this time she sounded anxious.
“I’ll make more for the right buyer. I can make all they want.” Charles took her arm, trying to turn her away.
“Let’s see their money first.” Amy did not move.
“I have to meet them, you know. That’s a requirement.” “Not now.”
Charles steered her toward the front door like a shopping  cart. Rollins quickly stopped them.
“Back door, Charles. Never the front.”
Charles swung  the woman around and aimed her toward  the kitchen. After insisting she come, Charles couldn’t get her out of the house fast enough.
Rollins opened the back door and asked for their gloves. He gave Amy a gentle smile.
“Buyers don’t like to be met, but they’ll make an exception for you, Amy. I promise.”
She seemed ready to cry, but Charles pulled her out and they dis- appeared into the rain.
Rollins locked the kitchen door and hurried  to the front door, where he peered through  a peephole. When Charles and Amy reached the street, he returned to the kitchen and opened the back door to air the place out. The tiny backyard was dark and hidden from neighbors by overgrown bushes and a sprawling  avocado tree.
Rollins stood in the door breathing air that didn’t stink of ammo- nia and called his buyer.
“Good news.”
A coded way of saying the tests were positive. “Very good. I will send someone.”
“Tonight.” “Yes. Now.”
“You have the other things here, too. I’ve told you for a week to come get this stuff.”
“I am sending someone.” “I want it gone. All of it.” “He will take it.”
Rollins put the Tupperware in the bedroom with the other things and returned to the kitchen. He still wore his gloves and would wear them until he left. He took a one-liter spray bottle from beneath the sink and sprayed bleach on the kitchen counters and floor and door. He sprayed the coffee table where the chemist had done his work and the stool on which the chemist had sat. He sprayed the living room floor and the doorjamb between the kitchen and living room. Rollins believed the bleach would destroy the enzymes and oils left in fingerprints or spit and erase DNA evidence. He wasn’t convinced this was true, but it seemed sensible, so he bleached out the house whenever he used it.
When Mr. Rollins acquired the house, he made several changes to better serve his needs, like screwing shut the windows and installing peepholes. Nothing  fancy, nothing  expensive, and nothing  to attract the neighbors’ attention, none of whom knew him, had met him or, hopefully, seen him.  Rollins did only enough maintenance  to prevent the house from becoming an eyesore. He let people stay from time to time, never anyone he personally knew and only long enough so the neighbors would think the house was a rental.  Mr. Rollins had not built a fortress when he acquired the house, just a place of relative safety from which to do his crime.
Rollins put away the bleach, returned  to the living room, and turned off the lamp. He sat in the darkness, nose burning  as he lis- tened to the rain.
9:42 p.m.
2142 hours.
1742 Zulu Time.
Mr. Rollins hated to wait, but there was big money at stake if Charles and Amy were real. Rollins wondered if Charles beat her. He seemed like the type.  She seemed like the type, too. Rollins’s older sister married  a man who abused her for years until  Rollins  killed  him.
Rollins checked the time again.
9:51.
Rollins put his pistol on the couch. He rested his hand on the gun, checked the time, and closed his eyes.
9:53.
The rain stopped.
10:14.
Someone knocked at the front door.
Rollins jerked to his feet and moved quickly into the kitchen. The buyer’s man would  never use the front door. That was a rule. Every- one used the back.
Rollins quietly  closed and locked the kitchen door as knocking came from the front.
Knock knock knock.
Rollins slipped off his shoes and hurried  to the front. Knock knock knock.
Mr. Rollins peered through  the peephole and saw an adult male in a dark rain shell. The hood was back and the unzipped shell exposed a loud patterned shirt. Average height, Anglo, dark hair. The man pressed the bell, but the bell didn’t work, so he knocked again.
Rollins  held his pistol  close as he watched.
The man waited a few seconds and finally  walked  away.
Rollins watched for another two minutes. Cars passed and a cou- ple went by huddled beneath an umbrella even though  the rain no longer fell. The world appeared normal,  but a siren wailed in the dis- tance. Rollins had a bad feeling.
10:32.
Rollins phoned the buyer again.
“The person you sent, he knows to go to the back?” “Yes. Of course. He has been there before.”
“If you sent someone, he didn’t show.” “Hold on. I will find out.”
A second siren was screaming. Closer. The man’s voice returned.
“He should have been there. This is not right.” “I’m jammed up here, man. I want to leave.”
“Bring the material to me. Not here. Someone will meet you by
MacArthur Park, there on the northeast corner.”
Rollins felt a flash of anger, but kept his voice cool. Rollins had made a fortune  off this man and stood to make more.
“You know the rules, Eli. I’m not driving around with your things in my car. Come get this crap.”
Rollins was pocketing his phone when he heard a wet crunch in the yard and pounding on the back door.
Rollins hurried to the kitchen,  checked the peephole, and saw a face he recognized. Carlos, Caesar, something  like that. His eyes were bright and he was breathing hard when Rollins opened the door.
Rollins scratched gloves from his pocket. “Put on the gloves, you idiot.”
Carlos ignored the gloves and ran to the living room, trailing mud and grass. He peeked out the nearest window,  bare fingers touching the shade. A helicopter passed overhead  so low the little house shook. “Fuck your gloves. You hear that? The police are on me, bro. Ain’t
this fuckin’ cool? I smoked their blue ass!”
The helicopter rumbled away, but circled the area.
Rollins felt a burst  of fear. Thoughts of mud, grass, and fingerprints on the shade vanished. He touched  aside the shade and saw a blazing searchlight sweep the next street.
“You brought the police.” Carlos turned away, laughing.
“I lost them, bro. I could be anywhere.”
Rollins felt as if his head were filling with angry maggots. The helicopter orbited overhead, lighting up the shades. The chop of the rotor moved away and slowly circled.
“How the fuck did this happen?”
“They made my face. I got warrants, y’know? Relax.”
Carlos flopped onto the couch, giggling, wired on adrenaline and chemicals. His muddy  shoes were on the cushions.
“They don’t know where I am. They gonna roll over us and keep right on rollin’.”
Rollins  gathered his thoughts. The house  was now lost. The goods in the bedroom were history. The mud and the grass no longer mattered. Rollins could not allow himself to be found here with the material in the bedroom and this giggling idiot on the couch. Rollins accepted these facts and the acceptance brought  calm.
The pistol was no good to him now. Rollins returned to the cabi- net where he kept the bleach and took out a rusted,  fourteen-inch pipe wrench. The wrench easily weighed three or four pounds.
Carlos was still stretched on the couch when Mr. Rollins went back to the living room. He strode directly to Carlos without  saying a word and brought the wrench down hard. He felt the head go on the first blow, but gave it two more. Rollins dropped the wrench and put on a fresh  pair of gloves. He pressed the pistol into Carlos’s hands, both hands so it would look like Carlos had handled the gun, and dropped it beside the wrench. If Rollins was picked up, he did not want a gun in his possession.
The helicopter  passed again. The shades flashed  into blinding white rectangles and once more filled with black.
Rollins trotted to the front door and looked through the peep- hole. A police officer  passed on the sidewalk  and another  spoke with people across the street. Rollins  closed his eyes. He took slow, mea- sured  breaths  as he counted to one hundred. He put his eye to the peephole again. The policemen were gone.
Rollins returned to the kitchen. He wore a dark sport coat and slacks. There would be blood splatter, but the blood would be difficult to see at night on the dark fabric. He had a nylon rain shell, but de- cided not to put it on. The sport coat was better. The police were looking for a young Latin guy in a black T-shirt,  not an older, well- dressed Anglo.  His car was several blocks away. If Rollins could get away from the house and beyond the police perimeter, he still might survive.
The light returned and slid away again.
Rollins moved in the moment of darkness. He opened the kitchen door, peeled off his gloves, and stepped out. A cop and a German shepherd were in the backyard. The dog was a deep-chested brute with angry eyes and fangs like daggers. The cop shouted as the dog charged.

Revue de presse

Praise for The Promise

“What a perfect book: It has layered, appealing characters, a riveting plot, a most satisfying ending – and a German shepherd!” — Cleveland Plain Dealer

“After 20 novels, Crais remains one of crime fiction's smartest and most effortless plotters. The story unfolds with supreme ease.” — Kirkus Reviews
 
“Master crime fiction writer Crais delivers another winner.... For readers who long for character crossovers and unambiguous resolutions, this excellent thriller should fit the bill. A skillfully convoluted plot evolves ever so slowly and culminates in a satisfying finish that also successfully ties up multiple story lines.” — Library Journal

Praise for Suspect
 
“Action-packed, deeply touching, and sure to be one of the best-written and most original crime novels of the year. Crais is one of the masters of modern crime fiction.” —Associated Press
 
“An exceptional novel. A rare hybrid—a first-class crime thriller and a story about love between two friends.” —The Huffington Post

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Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
There are two gripes I have to get off my chest before I even start on the book, Firstly, I ordered this book as soon as it was announced - some 18 months ago. The publisher changed the release date twice, the second time was announced only days before I was expecting the book to arrive on my Kindle and delayed the publication by 6 months. I would put this down to last minute problems if it weren't for the mysterious blurb which accompanied the book details on Amazon's site for the entire 18 months before publication. The blurb described Scott and Maggie being attacked in a warehouse by a shadowy figure while a 'beaten and bloodied' Joe Pike looks on. I cannot have been alone in wanting to know who on earth could have got the better of Joe. This blurb has now disappeared from the description page and no such scene takes place in the story. Either the publishers are incompetent or they have no respect for the reader.
Maybe my frustration coloured my reaction to the book but I don't think so - Elvis seems to have lost all of his wit and sparkle, Joe is barely present in the story and contributes little when he is, relinquishing his place to Jon Stone - Stone's presence in the novel is a puzzler, surely Joe could have performed all that Stone does? Scott seems remarkably indecisive all the way through and even Maggie is denied her big scene in the park at the end of the novel. I felt utterly let down by the latest in a series I have loved.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x99d5a00c) étoiles sur 5 798 commentaires
74 internautes sur 82 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x99d6db88) étoiles sur 5 A bit of a letdown from someone capable of much better. 2 octobre 2015
Par tom4416 - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
I'm a huge and long time Robert Crais fan and so hold him to an extremely high standard and this book, frankly, fell short of that which he is capable. There is a whole lot less personality to Elvis and Pike - Pike is almost an afterthought at times and Cole's sense of humor has mostly vanished. The story line at times felt disjointed while at the same time having a very predictable conclusion.

If this was some novel by a first timer, it would rank much higher but I've come to expect the very best from a pro like Crais and this just wasn't it. Some reviewers seem determined to summarize the entire book for you (book report versus book review) so no sense in re-examining the plot and story lines other than to save they were not all that creative. Suffice it to say that a great deal of this book was devoted to incorporating Maggie and Scott into the cast of characters that we'll likely see in future efforts. Not all bad as they insight into the dog was interesting but not that much different than when Maggie was first introduced in a previous novel.

As a reader, I wonder if Crais is trying to establish a platform from which to launch additional offshoots of these characters, much like he has done with the standalone Pike stories.
53 internautes sur 64 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9a170294) étoiles sur 5 Elvis, Joe, and Jon are joined by Scott and Maggie. 24 septembre 2015
Par J. Lesley - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
Elvis Cole stepped in the middle of a huge problem when he took on Meryl Lawrence as a client. What she wanted was for Cole to find where her missing friend and co-worker had gone after she embezzled a whole lot of money from the company they work for. Meryl thinks Amy Breslyn took the money because she met a man and he talked her into doing it. She wants Cole to find the identity of the man which will lead to the whereabouts of Amy. Elvis has worked with some squirrely clients before, but Meryl has to be the queen of paranoia. She pays in cash, demands instant meets in parking lots or behind businesses, and never gets out of her car. When Cole gets to the address she has given him where someone lives who might know something about Amy, he ends up almost being shot by a policeman and suspected of withholding evidence from the police about the murdered man found at the address. Wow! This story just goes on to get even more complicated from there.

If you haven't read any of the previous books in the series, you might want to know that Cole refers to himself as The World's Greatest Detective. Slightly tongue in cheek, slightly a statement of fact from his perspective. He has an amazing talent for solving the problems clients bring to him. They might not always like what he finds out, but that's what happens when you start turning over rocks. This novel brings in Cole's enigmatic partner in the detective business, Joe Pike, along with their friend Jon Stone, a black ops mercenary working in the deep, dark, back corridors of the government. Add to these wonderful characters the presence here of LAPD K-9 Officer Scott James and his dog Maggie (from a previous Crais novel, Suspect) and you only need the arch-villain to complete the picture. Well, this villain is one of the baddest of the bad! This particular novel features all the twists and turns you expect when everybody has secrets and most of them have made a profession out of fooling people.

As I've come to expect from a Robert Crais novel, this one is filled with characters who have been given full dimension by the author and the story is one which changes all the way through depending on what information Pike, Cole, or Stone come up with. The book is presented from the viewpoint of multiple characters, even Maggie the police dog. Don't worry, Maggie's portions make perfect sense while the author inserts interesting information about why dogs make such remarkable partners for police officers. This story was exciting, satisfying, and had an ending which managed to tie up all the loose ends in a believable way. Another great novel from Robert Crais.
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HASH(0x99d7a93c) étoiles sur 5 disappointing 13 novembre 2015
Par jd - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I've read all the Elvis Cole novels and this is easily the weakest one. It felt formulaic, like a 70s tv show. The main characters seem two dimensional. Elvis rarely shows his wit (although other characters note that he thinks he's funny). Pike does and says almost nothing ; he could have been omitted without changing the story. There is no physical action involving either Elvis or Pike.

The plot is clever and has a good twist which Elvis figures out but overall a disappointment.
20 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x99d7ab40) étoiles sur 5 Cole/ Pike Fans: Prepare to be Disappointed 17 novembre 2015
Par Margaret Kienzle - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
"The Promise" was a huge disappointment. I've been a fan of Robert Crais for years, and this is the first time I've bought one of his books the day it came out. It took days to finish it, rather than the one-day binge I'm used to. Jon Stone's character was more fleshed out than Joe Pike's, which isn't saying much. The German Shepherd, Maggie, a former military bomb dog who is now a police K-9 dog, was a nice addition but putting her in jeopardy throughout the book is a cheap ploy that did not work; it made me care less, not more. Separating her from her handler as a punitive measure hurt both of them, and to what end? As George Lucas once said (I'm paraphrasing here), "I can always get an audience involved - I put a puppy in jeopardy. But what about plot?" I think Robert Crais needs to take a well-deserved break to restore his spirit before he writes another book.
14 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x99d7a8b8) étoiles sur 5 I wonder who wrote this 11 novembre 2015
Par Michael - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I don't think Crais wrote this. Unlike every other book I have read by him, many of which were brilliant, all of which were rich with character and plot development and an outstanding sense of humor, the promise is one long flat stream of endless, insignificant detail - with no humor. As I said, I don't think Crais wrote this.
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