The Famous and the Dead

( 8 )

Overview

The explosive finale in T. Jefferson Parker?s New York Times bestselling Charlie Hood series, which will bring together the destinies of three men caught between light and darkness.

Los Angeles County sheriff ?s deputy Charlie Hood is attached to the ATF, working undercover on the illegal arms trade that flows across the U.S.-Mexican border. The sparkle of the diamond fillings he wears in his left canine distracts his task force targets and is ...

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The Famous and the Dead: A Charlie Hood Novel

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Overview

The explosive finale in T. Jefferson Parker’s New York Times bestselling Charlie Hood series, which will bring together the destinies of three men caught between light and darkness.

Los Angeles County sheriff ’s deputy Charlie Hood is attached to the ATF, working undercover on the illegal arms trade that flows across the U.S.-Mexican border. The sparkle of the diamond fillings he wears in his left canine distracts his task force targets and is often the first step toward a long stay behind bars.

Meanwhile, Bradley Jones—sheriff ’s deputy, employee of the Baja Cartel, and 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 Bradley’s secrets, all of them; the question is what he’ll do with the information. But he still has to contend with the devilish Mike Finnegan, who flits in and out of the lives of his friends, knowing things he shouldn’t, seemingly immortal, delighting in the havoc he wreaks.

All three men are about to meet.  But all will not survive.....

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.)
Library Journal
In the sixth and final volume of Parker's Charlie Hood series his hero is working undercover for the Feds and struggling to stop the flow of guns to Mexico. Undermining his efforts is Mike Finnegan, a former bath-fixture salesman who has turned gunrunner. Although Hood and his staff pose as cartel members during complicated sting operations, Finnegan's mysterious contacts enable him to transport 1,000 illegal guns into Mexico, a few of which are used to slay innocent civilians. The Feds hold Hood and his colleagues responsible. Meanwhile, the young L.A. deputy Bradley Jones must choose between upholding the law and working with the cartel while awaiting the birth of his first child. In the final chapters, Parker brings the series to a somber close. VERDICT Parker pulls it all together in a rather complex plotline that first-time readers might find confusing and slow-paced for a police procedural. But series fans will want this. [See Prepub Alert, 10/28/12.]—Jerry P. Miller, Cambridge, MA
Library Journal - Audio
Los Angeles sheriff’s deputy Charlie Hood works undercover for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to try to slow the flow of guns over the U.S.-Mexico border. The sixth and final volume in the Hood series (after The Jaguar) attempts to resolve issues and character relationships from the earlier books and will almost certainly be puzzling to those unfamiliar with the saga. Despite occasional bursts of violence and intrusions by the supernatural, this thriller runs at a pace that is unusually slow for the genre. David Colacci’s expert handling of voices and accents is more impressive than Parker’s sometimes sluggish tale.

Verdict Recommended only for fans of the series, and they may be disappointed by the conclusion. [“Parker pulls it all together in a rather complex plotline that first-time readers might find confusing and slow-paced for a police procedural. But series fans will want this,” read the review of the New York Times best-selling Dutton hc, LJ 3/1/13.—Ed.]—Michael Adams, CUNY Graduate Ctr., New York
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
Parker reaches once more into the real-life story of Operation Fast & Furious to conclude his sprawling, multivolume saga of Charlie Hood, the seen-it-all deputy of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. Operation Blowdown, which already went south, is now coming back north. Three years after a thousand Love 32s were smuggled into Mexico under the noses of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the weapons have begun to make their way back into the U.S. It's only a matter of time before liberal California congressman Scott Freeman is assassinated by Lonnie Rovanna, a schizophrenic former bodyguard who's been told to kill Freeman by the voices he hears on the radio, helpfully supplied with a Love 32 by Dr. Todd Stren, a psychologist who consults with the San Diego Superior Court. Charlie quickly realizes that Dr. Stren is actually Mike Finnegan, the bathroom-products wholesaler who's also a modern devil (The Border Lords, 2011, etc.). Even before Freeman hits the floor, Charlie's already under fire from his rabid congressional colleague Darren Grossly; once Freeman has been pronounced dead and somebody's got to take the blame, it's clear that Charlie's days with the LASD are numbered. Getting forced into two paid leaves, however, merely sharpens Charlie's appetite and frees his hands to go after his prey: Finnegan, North Baja Cartel head Carlos Herredia, falling LASD star Bradley Jones and a ring of insider thieves, including the extremely well-armed Clint Wampler, who's already cherishing a bitter personal grudge against Charlie for hurting his finger. The ensuing ritualistic showdowns, which seem to owe as much to The Lord of the Rings as to other cop novels, show Parker burrowing deep into his characters, so that both heroes and villains spring to unnervingly complicated life. Part cops-versus–drugs-and-guns procedural, part elemental morality play, part fire-and-brimstone mythmaking, all of it inimitably Parker.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781455818143
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 7/1/2014
  • Series: Charlie Hood Series , #6
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Abridged
  • Sales rank: 1,382,797
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

T. Jefferson Parker
T. Jefferson Parker is the bestselling and award-winning author of nineteen previous novels and a three-time winner of the Edgar Award. Formerly a journalist, Parker lives with his family in Southern California.

Biography

One of the best loved crime writers of our time, T. Jefferson Parker was born in Los Angeles and has lived all of his life in Southern California. The poster boy for Orange County, he enjoyed an almost idyllic childhood bodysurfing, playing in Little League, and enjoying family outings with his parents and siblings. He was educated in public schools in Orange County and received his bachelor's degree in English from the University of California, Irvine, in 1976. (He was honored in 1992 as the University's Distinguished Alumnus.)

His writing career began in 1978 as a cub reporter on the weekly newspaper, The Newport Ensign. After covering crime, city hall, and local culture for the Ensign, Parker moved on to the Daily Pilot newspaper, where he won three Orange County Press Club awards for his articles. During this time, he filed away information he would later use to develop characters and plot points for his novels.

Published in 1985, Parker's first book, Laguna Heat, was written in whatever spare time he could find during his stint as a reporter. The book received rave reviews and was made into an HBO movie starring Harry Hamlin, Jason Robards and Rip Torn.

Since that auspicious beginning, Parker has made a name for himself with smart, savvy bestsellers dealing with crime, life, and death in sunny Southern California. In 2001, he hit the jackpot with Silent Joe, a bittersweet thriller that won the Mystery Writers of America's coveted Edgar Award for Best Novel. In 2004, he repeated the feat with Califoria Girl, making him one of only two writers (the other is James Lee Burke) ever to have won two Best Novel Edgars. Among other honors and accolades, Parker has won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Mystery/Thriller and the Southern California Booksellers Award for Best Novel of the Year. His books continue to score big on the national bestseller lists.

Good To Know

The "T" in Parker's name doesn't really stand for anything. His mother once told him she thought it would look good on the presidential letterhead!

In an interview with hardluckstories.com, Parker explained how his definition of noir has altered: "It seems to me that since 9/11 our appetites for darkness have shrunk a little. Mine have. I know that as a writer I've tried to bring more breadth and humanity to my stories. I think when all is said and done, a noir attitude is fine, but it's still just an attitude, a pose.

Parker's first wife, Catherine, died of a brain tumor at a very young age. He has since remarried happily.

In an interview with Harlan Coben, Parker was asked about the state of crime writing, i.e., what's wrong and what's right with it. "I think the Achilles heel of mystery/crime writing is character," he responded. "You have to have good characters—and sometimes I think mystery writers rely to heavily on plot and velocity of plot at the expense of characters."

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    1. Hometown:
      Fallbrook, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 26, 1953
    2. Place of Birth:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, University of California-Irvine, 1976
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

1

Rovanna strode into the convenience store by the dawn’s early light. As usual he carried his Louisville Slugger, the barrel of it cupped in his right palm and the handle resting on his shoulder like a rifle. His back was straight and his gait purposeful. He wore cargo shorts, a black T-shirt, slip-on sneakers in a red-and-black-checked pattern. His hair was a white thatch and he could have easily been mistaken for a surfer, though he had never learned to swim. He bought his coffee and the Iraqi clerk handed him his change with a soft thank-you, “Shukran.”

Shukran jazeelan,” Rovanna said.

He walked a different route home, noting the Granite Hills emerging into the morning around him and the light poles of the high school stadium growing staunch against the sky. More closely he watched the windows and doors around him because Anbar teaches you to watch windows and doors. It was a weekday in El Cajon, east of bustling San Diego, and the neighborhood had that just-getting started hum.

He came to his street, a narrow avenue of older homes, spiked fences, and grated windows. Some of the trees had grown large. The pit bull that lived in the yellow ranch house growled murderously at him and Rovanna took a dog biscuit from his pocket. He cocked his elbow and flicked it as he might a dart, the biscuit arching over the wrought-iron lances of the fence. The dog fell heavily upon it.

Rovanna lived in a small guesthouse behind a sagging larger home. He walked along the gravel driveway that led to his house, passing his small blue Ford, which was dirty and plastered with large sycamore leaves. He stopped and studied the front door and the windows on either side of it, their plastic blinds drawn. At the porch he turned left as always, rounded the side yard, passed the bedroom and the water meter and the sun-hungry hydrangeas, then went right along the padlocked toolshed and the sliding glass door with the flannel bedsheet nailed inside. He turned the corner and stepped back onto the porch.

Inside he patiently checked each room, then sat on the Salvation Army couch with the Louisville Slugger propped handle-up beside him. The bat was wooden, clean, and waxed, and it shone slightly in the poor light. His front door was half open and he drank his coffee while he watched the light grow through the screen door. It was winter and the towering sycamore in the yard between the two houses was nearly naked, only a few big leaves still hanging on to the branches on this cool morning. The space heater glowed in its corner. There were paperback thrillers in shelves along the walls and newspapers and magazines piled on the floor, all paled by dust.

Rovanna watched the man come around the side of the main house out front and start up the gravel drive toward him. He carried what looked like a medical kit and he moved as if he was familiar with the property. He wore a gray fedora and a navy suit buttoned over a white shirt and a light blue tie. Rovanna heard the gravel crunching, then the thud of shoes on his front porch. The man stood framed by the screen door and raised his fist to knock.

“That’s exactly far enough,” said Rovanna.

“I’m Stren, consulting physician for the Superior Court in San Diego. I hope you have a minute.”

“For what?”

“I’m reviewing your Firearms Rights Restoration application and I have some questions.”

“You shouldn’t have taken away my guns to begin with.”

“I didn’t take away your guns. The court did.”

“I didn’t hurt anybody.”

“Not seriously. Though quite frankly, the court was also concerned with you hurting yourself. The psychiatric hold was for your protection, as well as the safety of others.”

“So do I get them back or not?”

“You need to answer some questions. May I come in?”

Rovanna took the bat by its handle and moved across the small room. He unlatched the screen door and backed away. The doctor stepped inside and removed his hat. Stren was a small man with a ruddy complexion, short black hair, and eyes the same blue as his as his necktie and pocket square. His eyeglass frames were black and oversize and from certain angles the lenses magnified his eyes, such as now when he looked at the bat. He was familiar but Rovanna couldn’t place him. Stren sat on the plaid, misshapen couch and set his medical bag beside him, then his hat atop the bag. He crossed his legs and looked around the room as if he were confirming, not discovering. From a breast pocket of his suit coat Stren brought a trim black notebook and a shiny black pen, which he uncapped and readied. Rovanna sat across from the sofa in a white resin lawn chair. There was an oddly low coffee table between the two men, littered with fast-food wrappers and a half-full plastic gallon bottle of vodka.

“How have you been?” The doctor’s voice was resonant in the small room. He offered a compulsory smile and studied Rovanna with lively blue eyes.

“I’m taking the meds. I’m on full disability. I eat well enough. I stay home mostly. I walk around the neighborhood for exercise.”

“With the bat?”

“I always have the bat. It’s not as good as a gun but it’s something for protection.”

Stren nodded and wrote something down. “Tramadol and Zoloft?”

“They’re in the bathroom if you want to see.”

“Please do bring them out.”

In the bathroom Rovanna grabbed the two bottles in one hand and brought them back to the doctor and dropped them with a rattle onto the doctor’s lap. Stren lifted them one at a time, positioned the labels, and wrote in his notebook. “How much alcohol do you drink?”

“Two vodkas per day. Maximum. It’s not a problem.”

“What size?”

“The medium-size cups with superheroes they give out at Mr. Burger. Lots of grapefruit juice and ice.”

Stren looked intently at the vodka then at Rovanna. “Voices?” he asked.

Rovanna suddenly felt angry and ashamed. These emotions could hit fast and they almost always arrived together. The anger felt like a mug of scalding black ink upended inside his brainpan. The shame just made him want to become very small. “No.”

“Dr. Webb at Naval said you were hearing voices from radios, addressing you and you only. When the radios were turned off.”

“I don’t have radios anymore.”

“Dr. Webb said you considered these voices to be your friends. So, that is what I am asking about. Voices speaking only to you. ‘Friends,’ as you called them.”

Rovanna took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “I got rid of them. I took the radios to the Salvation Army. All of them. Look around.”

But Stren only let his gaze wander Rovanna’s face. “Or did you put them somewhere you could easily get to—say, in the garage, or in the toolshed out back?”

“I did not.”

“May I look?”

“Fuck yourself. Okay. So they’re in the shed. I locked them in there so I wouldn’t have to hear them. Maybe you should take them away, too.”

“Let’s move on.”

Rovanna felt his anger steal away, then circle back. “You say you work for the court? Where’s your ID?”

Stren reached into his jacket pocket and removed an envelope with a county seal on it. Rovanna took and opened it. Inside was a sheet of San Diego Superior Court letterhead stating that the undersigned was in the employ of the court and as such would be granted all rights and courtesies due an officer of said court. The seal on the sheet was embossed. At the bottom were the scrawled signature of Hon. Betsy Lambeth and the neatly composed signature of Dr. Todd Stren.

“You can’t be a real doctor with a signature like that,” said Rovanna. His anger was abandoning him. He handed the envelope and letter to Stren, who slipped them back into his pocket. “Why would Dr. Webb tell you those personal things about me?”

“It’s my job to recommend whether you get your guns back or not. I’m the consulting psychiatrist. Dr. Webb and I work together and share medical information. He’s a big fan of yours, Lonnie. He believes in you.”

At the sound of his name, Lonnie Rovanna felt the familiar knot form deep down in his throat. It was painful and he knew it well. It was the aggregate of all his sorrows and regrets, a lifetime of bad actions and misdeeds large and small— everything he wanted to be rid of, or at least forgiven for. All of these, compounded into a hard sedimentary lump. Shame. Even something so minor could summon these things out and bring them together: a kind word, a smile, a small gesture. He had no idea Dr. Webb was a big fan of his. He sat forward and rested his elbows on his knees and looked down at the beaten braided rug.

“Do you still hear demons in the walls?”

“Occasionally.”

“Have you ever seen one?”

“No, sir.”

“Do the men with similar faces still follow you when you walk your neighborhood?”

The knot in his throat was painful now so Rovanna raised his head and took another deep breath. Why had Webb revealed these things about him? Why had the good doctor sold him out to this soulless judicial bureaucrat? The Identical Men all had the same face and the same clothes and the only reason he knew that there were five of them was because he’d actually seen them together, trailing him down the streets and sidewalks, in the park, and even, occasionally, waiting for him right here in the living room of his own home. Five men. Identical clothing. Same face. The quints from Washington, D.C. Maybe Langley. Or maybe hell itself. “Yes,” he said softly.

“Do you consider yourself dangerous to yourself or others?”

“Absolutely not.”

“Do you consider yourself sane?”

“Pretty much so, yes.”

“I see that your larynx has constricted. I know this can be painful. And there are tears ready to come out. Are you ashamed?”

“Yes.” Rovanna lowered his head and dropped his gaze to the floor again. His tears came faster than he could wipe them away, hot drops born of the aching knot in his throat, tapping on the old rug and his canvas sneakers.

“Now, this is important, Lon. I need to ask you about the body-guarding. I understand that early last year you were hired to protect Congressman Scott Freeman.”

At the word Freeman, Rovanna shivered. After a long minute his tears finally stopped and the clench in his neck relaxed a little. Now his shame was beginning to leave him, too. Without anger and shame he felt abandoned and uncontrollable, like a boat without crew or rudder. “He hired me. I protected him a few times. I’m not licensed but I’m good at it because of my military training and experience. When my firearms were taken away I couldn’t get more jobs with him. That’s one of the main reasons I need to get my guns back.”

“How many were confiscated?”

“Twelve.”

“Of what type?”

“Handguns and legal assault-style semiautomatic rifles.”

“For work as a bodyguard?”

“To protect Representative Freeman.”

Stren sat forward. “When was the last time you saw him in person?”

“After the last big rain.”

“Three weeks ago, then. Late January.”

“He was at a rally in El Centro,” said Rovanna.

“And you had no gun?”

“No. They’d been taken. But I wasn’t hired to protect in El Centro.”

“Yet you were present. Do you have a personal relationship with Representative Freeman?”

“No, only as a politician. I never talk to him except about security. His staff, I mean. Obviously. I talk to his staff.”

The doctor was quiet for a while. When Rovanna looked at him Stren was neither writing nor looking at anything determinate, just gazing out through the screen door, his magnified pupils large and black, gorging on the new morning light.

“Then why did you go to the rally, if not to protect him?” asked Stren.

Now Rovanna was silent for a long moment. “I . . . I thought it would be good to be seen.”

“By him?”

“Yes. As a future potential bodyguard. A bodyguard again, I mean.”

Stren sat back. “I’m confused about something here, Lonnie. Scott Freeman does indeed represent your district, the fifty-fourth, which is the southeasternmost district in the state. He’s a proponent of immigration reform, tougher gun-control laws, and decriminalizing marijuana. He’s considered very liberal. Some say radical. His recent book has raised the ire of the right-wing, Tea Party types.”

“So?”

“So, Dr. Webb tells me that you are precisely that type. You are vehemently against everything Scott Freeman stands for. Yet Mr. Freeman hires you to carry a gun, and stand close by and protect him.”

Rovanna rubbed his hands together then set each one palm down on a knee. “I don’t mix politics and business.”

“Everyone does. Tell me, have you been hired to guard other politicians, or perhaps celebrities of another kind? Actors? Athletes?”

“No. Scott Freeman was my first job. But I know there are other people who need me. That’s why I need my guns back. Personal security is a growing business. I want it to be my career. I want to get a letter of recommendation from him someday. So I can protect other people.”

Stren looked at Rovanna, then wrote something down and underlined it. “Have you ever dreamed of using one of your guns to save the life of Representative Freeman?”

A ripple of embarrassment went through Rovanna, then indignation. He looked through the screen door to the sycamore tree. A big leaf fell. It came down faster than Rovanna expected it would, an old leaf, folded in, hugging itself on the way down. “No one can control their dreams.”

“Have you ever imagined using a gun on him?”

“I’ve imagined worse things than that. But you can’t control your imagination either.”

“Have you ever just wanted to shoot him, Lon?”

“I really don’t like you using my first name. It’s for friends and you’re no friend of mine.”

“Isn’t Representative Freeman due to make a public appearance in the near future?”

“Later this month. A Sunday. He’s signing autographs at the Alternative Book Fair in San Diego.”

Stren pursed his lips and nodded curtly, then he flipped his notebook shut and capped the pen and returned them both to his coat pocket. He leaned elbows to knees and looked at Rovanna. “Thank you for your time and honesty. I’ll be writing my letter of recommendation later today. Of course, the final decision will be left to one of the judges and this could take some time. The courts are terribly backed up at the superior level.”

“What are you going to say?”

“I haven’t decided. But, in the meantime . . .”

The doctor straightened, set his hat on his head, tilted it back at a casual angle, then brought his black leather medical bag to his lap and opened it. He held out the sides with both hands and stared down into it for a long moment, then reached in. Rovanna expected a syringe and vial, or maybe a sample packet for a new prescription drug, or maybe a form to sign. Or one of the dread orbitoclasts used in lobotomies. He even imagined a cobra, because, just as he had said, he could not control his imagination, and a cobra had just crawled into his mind.

Instead Stren pulled a firearm from the bag, then set the bag aside. He balanced the gun in his small hands, framing it like a salesman for Rovanna to behold. It looked like a common, medium-size, semiautomatic handgun, although Rovanna had never seen one exactly like it. The finish was stainless and the grips were checked black polymer, and it had a slightly plump and heavy look.

“What is it?”

“The Love Thirty-two.”

“Love?”

“The manufacturer was the old Orange County outfit, Pace Arms.”

“I never heard of them.”

“Saturday night specials. Pace Arms was run out of business not long ago.”

“Why call it Love?”

“Something to do with history.” Stren reached into the bag and pulled out a sound suppressor, which he screwed onto the end of the barrel. Then he pointed the barrel down and with his left thumb and forefinger depressed two buttons on either side of the frame, near the back end of the weapon. Out popped two short rods connected by an end piece. The doctor then extended the assembly, like the telescoping handle on a piece of luggage. Rovanna heard it lock into place. A skeleton butt, he thought, to brace in the crook of your elbow when firing. Truthfully, it seemed more like a gimmick than something you’d need.

“It’s fully automatic,” said Stren.

Not a gimmick at all then, thought Rovanna. The doctor pulled a very long magazine from his bag, and Rovanna could see the glimmer of the brass and copper within until Stren pushed it up into the handle of the gun. It snapped into place with a sharp click. The bottom half of the magazine protruded from the handle in a gently lethal curve.

“Thirty-two caliber ACP,” said the doctor. “Fifty rounds in one five-second burst. Or, several shorter bursts. Or, you can choose semi and just squeeze them off one at a time. Subsonic, of course, and practically silent. The casings hitting the floor make as much noise as the gun.”

Stren took his sky blue pocket square and wiped down the weapon. He ejected the magazine and wiped this also. When the Love 32 was whole again, he dabbed away once more with the silk square then set the gun on the couch. From his bag he took a box of ammunition and a spare magazine and put them beside the gun. He pushed the square back into his coat pocket, zipped shut the doctor’s bag and stood.

“I’ll recommend that your constitutional rights be restored,” he said. “Though quite honestly I don’t think your chances are good. It will take time for the court to decide. There is nothing wrong with you, Lonnie. Sometimes friends are all we have. And voices speak to all of us at different times. Listen to them and do what you think is right. As a human being you are free to decide. Anyone who tells you differently is trying to enslave you. In the meantime use this gift to protect yourself and those around you and to advance the ideals you believe in. I cannot force you to accept this gift. You are free to reject it at any time.”

Rovanna watched Stren walk back down the gravel drive. The doctor turned and tipped his hat, then disappeared around the main house. The lump in Rovanna’s throat had returned, and he realized how badly he had misjudged this man. He sat on the plaid couch and looked down at the Love 32 for a long while before picking it up.

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  • Posted April 24, 2013

    The Famous and the Dead, a new novel by T.Jefferson Parker, I've

    The Famous and the Dead, a new novel by T.Jefferson Parker, I've  is easily the most disappointing book of Parker's
     books I've ever read.....and I've read them all upon first release.  I attended several book signings over the years and have read all of his books.

    When I buy a book of the crime/cop/thriller variety, I don't expect to read one in which the plot hinges on the fantasy/sci fi genres.  I prefer plausibility and some semblance of reality to mythology  That's why I stopped reading James Patterson about four years and fifty books ago...The inside dust jacket teaser provides a working
     hypothesis for you to work on and revises as necessary as you read merrily along on the veranda and I, of course, expect the ending with a clever/creative/original/ surprise.  As expected, there is an ending and ther is a twist, but veteran   readers of this qenre  will  immediately recognize  the mundane, tired, trite old ending that's been done many, many
    times before.  the bright spot in the book is Mary Kate Boyle.  Mr. Parker does a masterful portrait if Ms Boyle the snappy, quick-minded, unexpected dialogue.  I'd be very favorably disposed to see her as a main character 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2013

    Really....I just don't understand why TJP changed his writing

    Really....I just don't understand why TJP changed his writing format and went

    supernatural. As stand alone reading, the series is an unfilled mess. The plot would have been fine without the devils and angels, but stringing it out alas, Twilight and Harry Potter was nothing but an attempt to sell more books and string the unsuspecting read along.

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  • Posted April 30, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This sixth novel in the Charlie Hood series brings it to a concl

    This sixth novel in the Charlie Hood series brings it to a conclusion, sort of. A lot of loose ends are wrapped up as the story meanders back and forth, recounting various topics from the illegal flow of guns and drugs along the U.S.-Mexican border to the accompanying cartel violence. And, of course, there is a final confrontation between and among Charlie, Bradley Jones and Mike Finnegan.

    The plot, such as it is, follows Charlie’s work as an ATF agent working undercover to nab the men who buy and sell the illegal firearms which enable the escalating violence on both sides of the border. Meanwhile, Jones awaits the birth of his son and hopes to recapture the affection of his wife Erin. And Charlie, who knows all of Bradley’s secrets, has to decide what to do with this information. And his obsession with Mike Finnegan consumes him and can cost him his love, Beth.

    Written with the author’s straightforward, but somewhat dry, style, this concluding novel in the series is not a particularly easy or enjoyable read. It is slow, often repetitious, especially when past events are recounted. The characters, of course, have been and continue to be memorable. However, this reader, at least, had to struggle through the 371 pages and was not particularly enthralled by the conclusion. Probably the only reason to recommend the novel would because it brings a noteworthy series to a final end, by an author who is a craftsman.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2013

    I am in school and do not have time to read this book.

    I am in school and do not have time to read this book.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

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