If, after the O.J. trial, you can stand the thought of reading about a high-profile legal case concerning a Los Angeles celebrity who is accused of killing his wife, you should run out and get Robert Crais ' latest Elvis Cole private eye thriller, "Sunset Express."
Elvis is hired by high-flying defense attorney Jonathan Green to look into a case of possible evidence tampering by LAPD Detective Angela Rossi. Green is defending Teddy Martin, a celebrity restaurant owner accused of murdering his wife.
The evidence against Martin is so overwhelming that the only way to explain it away is to say it was planted. (I know, sounds very familiar, but stay with me here.) Rossi, meanwhile, has a somewhat checkered past with a Miranda violation - and an accusation by a convict that she planted evidence.
Much to the chagrin of her colleagues, Elvis investigates Rossi but comes away very impressed with her as a police officer. He says so in his report to Green, who, in turn, gives him leads to run down from the reward line they have set up.
The case is blown wide open, though, when Elvis finds a witness who claims to have overheard two men bragging about kidnaping and killing Martin's wife. This makes Elvis the hero of the day and Rossi, by implication, the goat.
Green takes to the airwaves, praising Elvis as the most valuable member of the so-called Big Green Machine, and he becomes the uncomfortable poster boy for cop bashing.
While Elvis' girlfriend, attorney Lucy Chenier, is impressed to death with his high-profile clientele, his ex-cop partner - the enigmatic and deadly Joe Pike - is less enamored of Green and company.
But when Green begins distorting Elvis' findings to the media hordes and witnesses start turning up dead, Elvis decides that he's been a team player for long enough.
Robert Crais really hit his stride three books ago with "Lullaby Town," and "Sunset Express" keeps the Elvis train on track. It's timely, witty, suspenseful and a whole lot of fun.
Best of all, Elvis' sweet romance with Lucy and his growing attachment to her young son give the book an emotional center that is quite special in the genre.
Since Spencer's abdication through a dozen or so mediocre misadventures, Elvis is now the King of the private eye novel. Crais ' books have the same snap, crackle and pop of the early novels in Robert Parker's series but with less posturing.
This Elvis sighting is for real, and you shouldn't miss it.