Los Angeles County sheriff 's deputy Charlie Hood is attached to the ATF, working undercover on the iron river that flows across the U.S.-Mexican border. Read more...
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- More About The Famous and the Dead by T. Jefferson ParkerOverviewThe explosive conclusion to T. Jefferson Parker's "New York Times" bestselling Charlie Hood series
Los Angeles County sheriff 's deputy Charlie Hood is attached to the ATF, working undercover on the iron river that flows across the U.S.-Mexican border. The diamond fillings he wears in his left canine glimmer, distracting the men who sell the illegal firearms that enable the unspeakable violence on both sides of the map. Spotting the sparkle when "Charlie Diamonds" opens his mouth is often their first step toward life behind bars.
Meanwhile, Bradley Jones, sheriff 's deputy and employee of the Baja Cartel, son of the love of Charlie's life, the deceased L.A. outlaw Suzanne Jones, is expecting a son of his own. Suzanne was descended from famed Mexican desperado Joaquin Murrieta, whose embalmed head Bradley inherited from her and keeps nestled among piles of cash, proceeds from Bradley's own life of crime.
Charlie knows all of Bradley's secrets; the question is what he'll do with the information. Until he decides, his obsession remains the inexplicable existence of Mike Finnegan, the diminutive devil who flits in and out of both men's lives, knowing things he shouldn't, seemingly immortal.
Three men: earnest law-enforcer, inveterate lawbreaker, and the man who pits them against each other--hurtle toward one another in the jaw-dropping conclusion to T. Jefferson Parker's mesmerizing vision of the border. Their climactic showdown brings to a spectacular close a crime series that obliterated the boundaries of the genre.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-02-11
- Reviewer: Staff
Edgar-winner Parker’s complex, ambitious, sixth and final Charlie Hood novel (after 2012’s The Jaguar) finds the affable, tireless deputy in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office working undercover for the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Posing as an arms dealer named Charlie Hooper, Hood is trying to stop the flow of guns between Southern California and Mexico—and locate the elusive Mike Finnegan, a mixture of Professor Moriarty and Doctor Faustus who featured prominently in The Jaguar. Meanwhile, Bradley Jones continues to work both sides of the fence as a deputy with the sheriff’s office and as a courier for the Baja Cartel, while trying to reconcile with his pregnant wife, Erin. And Clint Wampler, a wannabe gun runner, is looking to make a score. As usual, Parker combines an artfully constructed plot with memorable prose (e.g., “the dusty burnt breath of a space heater”). This highly impressive thriller demonstrates how genre fiction can take on substantial themes in an entertaining and provocative way. Agent: Robert Gottlieb, Trident Media Group. (Apr.)BookPage Reviews
Final showdown on the border
Since the early 1990s, T. Jefferson Parker has been lauded as the go-to guy for contemporary California noir, thanks to such genre classics as Laguna Heat, Silent Joe and Little Saigon. In recent years, he has crafted a supernatural, suspense-laden series featuring Charlie Hood, a Los Angeles County sheriff on loan to the ATF, who works along the U.S.-Mexican border to try to stem the flow of illegal arms northward. In Parker’s latest, The Famous and the Dead, Hood and his nemesis, the otherworldly Mike Finnegan, battle for the allegiance (or perhaps the soul) of Bradley Jones, a young cop on the take. Lives hang in the balance, including that of Jones’ unborn son, who is of considerable interest to Finnegan and his diabolical cohorts. As always, Parker’s depictions of the Baja cartel violence, the corruption endemic in law enforcement circles and the uneasy relationship between the protagonist and antagonist are flawlessly rendered.
The Famous and the Dead is said to be the last of the Charlie Hood series, but we have seen characters rise up from the ashes before, and can but fervently hope that Parker will see fit to resurrect Hood for more outings.
PEACE, LOVE, MURDER
Speaking of characters reappearing from the thin edge of oblivion, Walter Mosley’s complex and well-loved Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins returns after a several-year hiatus in the gripping Little Green. Rawlins has been in a coma for some months following a terrifying car crash on the Pacific Coast Highway in Southern California. His recovery may never be complete, but with the help of some voodoo meds from his longtime friend Mama Jo, he can survive on an hour-by-hour basis, just barely enough to launch an investigation into the whereabouts of a missing teenager, a potential casualty of California’s late-1960s, drug-addled Summer of Love. There are complications in this case, however: Rawlins’ best friend, Ray “Mouse” Alexander, is responsible for the death of the missing boy’s father. With the help of a resourceful hippie girl, Rawlins infiltrates the inner circle of a Hollywood drug dealer, and from that point forward, both he and the reader will have to hang on for a wild and bumpy ride. Easy Rawlins, welcome back!
SUSPENSE’S NEW WARRIOR
Richard Crompton’s excellent debut novel, Hour of the Red God, opens in Little Mombasa, a small lakeside area of Nairobi’s Uhuru Park, named after Kenya’s main coastal city. It may not be particularly evocative of its namesake, but it nonetheless serves as a weekend playground for the hot and weary denizens of East Africa’s chief metropolitan hub. One weekend in 2007, however, there is little merrymaking after a horribly mutilated body is found: a young Maasai woman, perhaps a prostitute. Maasai policeman Mollel is summoned to investigate the killing. At first blush, the death appears to be attributable to a botched female circumcision, but as Mollel delves into the case, he begins to sense something much deeper, and certainly much darker, than the random killing of a prostitute. Hour of the Red God, character-driven from the get-go, offers up a splendid protagonist in Detective Mollel: outwardly ritually scarred, inwardly emotionally scarred and always a bit at odds with fellow cops (especially the higher-ups) and his own family. I look forward to whatever author Crompton may have up his sleeve for a sequel.
TOP PICK IN MYSTERY
It has been the better part of five decades since the publication of John le Carré’s signature work, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. The intervening years have been kind to le Carré’s hordes of fans, as the iconic espionage writer has moved from strength to strength, crafting such thrillers as The Tailor of Panama, The Russia House, The Constant Gardener and The Little Drummer Girl. Le Carré’s latest, A Delicate Truth, begins in 2008 Gibraltar, where a covert operation pairing Brits and Americans goes stunningly wrong, leaving a young Muslim woman and her baby shot to bits on a seaside cliff. Details of the botched operation are closely guarded and never released to the media. Fast-forward three years, and a couple of the principals find themselves in wildly disparate circumstances: One has been knighted for his foreign service work; the other has fallen on hard times, unable to reconcile his innate goodness with the Gibraltar carnage for which he was at least partly responsible. After a chance meeting in which the two compare notes about their respective parts in the operation, they resolve to pursue the matter further, deciding to go public with graphic evidence if necessary. They enlist the aid of Toby Bell, former personal secretary to the member of Parliament who signed off on the Gibraltar fiasco, and the three undertake an oh-so-covert investigation—one that, if they live through it, may well have the potential to topple governments. Line up at the bookstalls for this one, folks: It is le Carré at the top of his game.