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Average: 3 (1 vote)

2labz's picture
Written on Thursday, February 5, 2015
Pros: it's by t. jefferson parker
Cons: what's this supernatural stuff?

Charlie Hood, back on the border after his thrilling rescue mission on the Yucatan, remains assigned to BATF's office in Buenavista, Cali. The hostage he brought home from Mexico, Erin McKenna, is about ten months pregnant. Erin’s still living in Charlie’s little house, mainly to avoid moving back in with her husband, crooked Sheriff’s Deputy Bradley Jones. Jones  has occasional visitation rights, but Erin remains furious with him after she was kidnapped by a cartel at war with the one that pays his bribes. It's complicated…

At work, Charlie's been scoping out a visiting trio from Missouri (two of them dirty cops) who’ve come to town with a trailer load of weapons they lifted from their local seize-and-destroy program. Meanwhile, a mysterious "Dr. Strenn" has been visiting a bipolar drifter, currently off his meds, supposedly to return confiscated weapons – actually, to give him a little gift: one of those infamous Love 32s. The drifter, you can bet, is due to cause Hood a boatload of trouble; trouble that can reach all the way to the halls of Congress. Mike Finnegan’s back, but this time there's an opposing angel: I kid you not…

In the third (and, presumably, last) installment of the Charlie Hood series, The Famous and the Dead, T.Jefferson Parker ties off some loose plot threads while others he leaves dangling. What started out as a classic crime-novel conflict between Charlie and Bradley's gorgeous but slightly bent mother, Suzanne Jones, somehow grew into something more basic over the course of six novels. By now, Hood’s no longer up against garden-variety cartel baddies, he's found himself caught up in the ancient war between Good and Evil. Yes, the capital letters are appropriate.

Mike Finnegan’s character, a vaguely supernatural being allied with a power he calls "The Prince," was originally a puzzling nod to the prevalence of supernatural themes in current crime literature. By the fourth book, The Border Lords, Finnegan had assumed a major role; wreaking havoc at every opportunity. After a reduced role in The Jaguar, the guy is back in all his evil glory; and Charlie Hood’s just the sort of innocent he likes to screw with.

In a writing career that’s spanned three decades and twenty novels, T. Jefferson Parker has snapped many well-deserved awards; among them being the first author to have won three Edgar Awards. I’ve been a devoted Parker fan since first reading Laguna Heat  in 1985, and haven’t missed a single book from an author who belongs up there with the likes of Burke, Connelly and Hall. I must admit, though, that the supernatural element of the Hood series was puzzling at first, and ultimately became irritating. If is the Hood series is done, I'm kind of glad. Jeff. I look forward to your next novel – but leave the likes of Mike Finnegan out of it, OK?

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2labz recommends The Famous and the Dead. T. Jefferson Parker

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