Robert Crais (born June 20, 1953) is an American author of detective fiction. Crais began his career writing scripts for television shows such as Hill Street Blues, Cagney & Lacey, Quincy, Miami Vice and L.A. Law. He lists amongst his literary influences the authors Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Ernest Hemingway, Robert B. Parker and John Steinbeck. Crais lives in California’s Santa Monica mountains with his family.
Born in Independence, Louisiana, near Baton Rouge, he was adopted by a childless couple and raised as an only child. Attended Louisiana State University, where he studied mechanical engineering for a time before turning to writing.
Crais moved to Hollywood in 1976 where he found work as a screenwriter for such television series as Hill Street Blues, Cagney & Lacey and Miami Vice, as well as pilots, TV movies and the NBC mini series Cross of Fire. He was nominated for an Emmy award for his writing on Hill Street Blues.
In the 1980s Crais decided to abandon scriptwriting and become a novelist. Following the death of his father in 1985, Crais was inspired to create his character Elvis Cole writing The Monkey’s Raincoat, which won the 1988 Anthony Award for "Best First Novel", the 1988 Mystery Readers International Macavity Award for "Best Paperback Original" at Bouchercon XIX, and has since been named one of the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association.
Crais’s usual protagonist and first-person narrator is private detective Elvis Cole, an ex-Ranger. Cole’s partner is Joe Pike, a former Marine. Except for Demolition Angel, Hostage, Suspect, and The Two-Minute Rule, all of Crais’ books feature Cole and Pike, with The Watchman (2007), The First Rule (2010) and The Sentry (2011) centering on Joe Pike.
The author tackles a variety of subjects in his novels. Free Fall was inspired by the Rodney King riots and Sunset Express dealt with a killer who bore an uncanny resemblance to O.J. Simpson. The most frequently recurring theme in Crais’s books is the value of honesty; in his works, the long-term value of coming clean always outweighs the short-term benefits of covering up the problem. Crais also delves into issues of family and loyalty.
Robert Crais has stated that "Thematically, again and again my books are about people who are trying to be better than they have been."
In March 2005, Bruce Willis appeared in Hostage, the first Hollywood adaptation of one of his books. Crais has no plans to sell the rights to his Elvis Cole novels, preferring to allow his readers to keep their own personal conceptions of the characters.
Elvis Cole series
Robert Crais – The Monkey’s Raincoat (read by Patrick G. Lawlor)
Robert Crais – Stalking The Angel (read by David Stuart)
Robert Crais – Lullaby Town (read by Mel Foster)
Robert Crais – Free Fall (read by William Roberts)
Robert Crais – Voodoo River (read by Mel Foster)
Robert Crais – Sunset Express (read by David Stuart)
Robert Crais – Indigo Slam (read by William Roberts)
Robert Crais – L.A. Requiem (read by Ron McLarty)
Robert Crais – The Last Detective (read by William Roberts)
Robert Crais – The Forgotten Man (read by James Daniels)
Robert Crais – The Watchman (read by James Daniels)
Robert Crais – Chasing Darkness (read by James Daniels)
Robert Crais – The First Rule (read by Robert Crais)
Robert Crais – The Sentry (read by Luke Daniels)
Robert Crais – Taken (read by Luke Daniels)
Robert Crais – The Promise (read by MacLeod Andrews)
Robert Crais – The Wanted (read by Luke Daniels)
Robert Crais – Demolition Angel (read by Paul Hecht)
Robert Crais – Hostage (read by James Daniels)
Robert Crais – The Two-Minute Rule (read by Christopher Graybill)
Robert Crais – Suspect (read by MacLeod Andrews)
Elvis Cole series