The Jaguar (Charlie Hood Series #5)

The Jaguar (Charlie Hood Series #5)

3.0 26
by T. Jefferson Parker
     
 

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Erin McKenna, a beautiful songwriter married to a crooked Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, is kidnapped by Benjamin Armenta, the ruthless leader of the powerful Gulf Cartel. But his demands are as unusual as the crumbling castle in which Erin is kept. She is ordered to compose a unique narcocorrido, a folk ballad that records the exploits of the drug dealers… See more details below

Overview

Erin McKenna, a beautiful songwriter married to a crooked Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, is kidnapped by Benjamin Armenta, the ruthless leader of the powerful Gulf Cartel. But his demands are as unusual as the crumbling castle in which Erin is kept. She is ordered to compose a unique narcocorrido, a folk ballad that records the exploits of the drug dealers, gunrunners, and outlaws who have populated Mexican history for generations. Under the threat of death, Armenta orders Erin to tell his life story — in music — and write “the greatest narcocorrido of all time.”

As the mesmerizing music and lyrics of Erin’s song cascade from the jungle hideout, they serve as a siren song to the two men who love her: her outlaw husband, Bradley Jones, and the lawman, Charlie Hood — who together have the power to rescue her. Here, amid the ancient beauty of the Yucatecan lowlands, the long-simmering rivalry between these two men will be brought closer to its explosive finale.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Parker’s excellent fifth Charlie Hood novel (after 2011’s The Border Lords), Bradley Jones, a deputy in the L.A. sheriff’s department who’s been transporting drugs for a Mexican cartel since he was 17, turns to fellow deputy Hood for help after henchmen of a rival cartel kidnap Jones’s pregnant wife, Erin. If Jones doesn’t pay the rival cartel’s leader, Benjamin Armenta, million within 10 days as an apology for the trouble he’s caused Armenta, Armenta will have Erin skinned alive. Parker demonstrates remarkable command of his material, from the gruesome realities of the Mexican drug trade to a surprisingly human portrayal of the monstrous Armenta, who keeps a menagerie of animals, including the jaguar of the book’s title, at his compound in Quintana Roo. A somewhat opaque subplot involving the dodgy Mike Finnegan, “a bathroom-products wholesaler,” distracts only slightly from the quest for Erin in a crime thriller notable for its fine, insightful prose. Agent: Trident Media Group. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Chronicling multiple, colorful drug smugglers on both sides of the law and the U.S.-Mexico border, Parker returns with Los Angeles County deputy Charlie Hood in the fifth title (after The Border Lords) in this six-volume series. Crooked, money-laundering deputy Bradley Jones suddenly finds that his wife, the captivating songwriter (and Hood's former love interest) Erin McKenna, has been kidnapped by Benjamin Armenta, the kingpin of the powerful Gulf Cartel. In his Yucatán citadel, where he has banned the use of electronic devices, Armenta demands that McKenna compose evocative Mexican folk ballads romanticizing his daring drug dealings. Through song, gesture, and hidden memos, however, Jones, McKenna, and Hood circumvent Armenta's efforts. VERDICT Although Parker is losing steam with this series, his fans will endure the complex plotline through one more Hood novel—although general readers may find it tedious. Let's hope the author can devise an enticing plot to end his series with a bang. [See Prepub Alert, 7/25/11.]—Jerry P. Miller, Cambridge, MA
Kirkus Reviews
A Mexican drug dealer kidnaps the composer wife of an L.A. cop and holds her for a song. Well, not just an ordinary song, but a narcocorrido, a kind of folk ballad dedicated to making heroes out of villains: drug dealers, gun-runners, kidnappers and the like. True enough, there's ransom money earning a mention somewhere along the line, but nobody really takes that seriously. It's the music that counts. Benjamin Armenta is the leader of Mexico's powerful Gulf Cartel, as ruthless a collection of rascals as ever battened on the border drug trade. But he sees himself as uncelebrated, as an unsung anti-hero, which in his view amounts to a miscarriage of justice, considering the nature and frequency of the crimes for which he's become infamous. The kidnapping of Erin McKenna, songwriter of note, is meant to fix all that. Bradley Jones, Erin's bent cop of a husband, gets 10 days to raise the cash while performing certain auxiliary tasks--no mention of music at this early stage--or Armenta will arrange to have his wife skinned alive, a threat to be taken literally. Erin is whisked away to Armenta's secret castle-fortress, where she will play out an oddball version of Beauty and the Beast. Meanwhile, knowing how much he needs help, Bradley reluctantly appeals to Charlie Hood, series hero (The Border Lords, 2011, etc.) and sometime friend. It's a classic love-hate relationship in the context of Charlie's intense and enduring feeling for Erin. So he signs on, and they mount the quest to locate and rescue Erin, who, deep in the cheerless Yucatan jungle, fraught and beset, composes to save her life.

Despite occasional affecting moments, the plot is essentially thin, unsustained by a cast of larger- than-life, empathy-proof characters. A rare misstep from the accomplished Parker.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780525952572
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/10/2012
Series:
Charlie Hood Series, #5
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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