As you people know by now, my boss The Famous Author is a big fan of Robert Crais. He's read all the books. He met RC on a mystery convention panel. He stole a story RC told him privately and ran it all over the internet for two years! TFA has no shame.
So the other day TFA opened his email and there was word from RC about a new essay he wrote. Called The Man Behind the Sunglasses, the essay is all about Joe Pike. If you're a fan, too, you'll love RC's take on Elvis Cole's tough-guy sidekick.
A shorter version will appear in THE LINEUP, a collection of essays edited by Otto Penzler to be published by Little, Brown next year, but you guys are getting it here first because -- well, TFA stole it and is putting it up here. Or at least the start. TFA wants you to visit RC's official website to actually read the whole thing.
The Man Behind the Sunglasses
by Robert Crais
The sunglasses, twenty-four/seven. The eerie silence. The red arrows driving him forward.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Joe Pike.
Tens of thousands of women (and more than a few men) would happily take him.
I don’t need to be a mind reader to know this. Like Elvis Cole, Joe had always gotten a lot of mail, but a tsunami of email flooded my website when The Watchman was published. They wrote, “I love Joe Pike,” but not in a way suggesting they were simply fond of him or maybe kinda crushing on him. Both then and now, the women who write to Joe are feral.
They say, “I WANT Joe Pike.”
Which means, because it’s oh so easy to infer their dripping fangs and pheromone fog even through the filter of internet fan mail, “I’d suck the marrow from his bones.”
I first saw Joe Pike at the Florida Drive-In Theater in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Would have been one of those triple bills Southern drive-ins are famous for. I would have been a kid, snuck across the marshy fields to slip between rows of sleeping cars, the cars wired to speaker trees like tethered cattle. The darkness was my friend, masking my entrance to that wonderful old theater.
I remembered him years later when I created the characters and story that would become The Monkey's Raincoat. Gun fighter eyes in a face burned dark by the sun; his eyes as cold as an empty heart. Humorless lips. Your worst nightmare if he paints you with his rattlesnake gaze.
To read the rest of RC's essay on his character Joe Pike, click here.