Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Jaguar (Charlie Hood Series #5)

The Jaguar (Charlie Hood Series #5)

3.0 26
by T. Jefferson Parker

See All Formats & Editions

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


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.

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.

From the Publisher
"Ambitious, daring...brilliant." —The Associated Press

"T. Jefferson Parker has burgled the crumbling palace of Edgar Allan Poe for inspiration." —The Wall Street Journal

“Parker, the winner of three Edgar awards for crime fiction, again delivers a tale that is not only well-plotted and suspenseful, but subtle, surprising and endearingly perverse.” —Washington Post

"T. Jefferson Parker has carved out a niche for himself as the Hemingway of thriller writers...His writing is a wonder to behold." —Providence Sunday Journal

“A spectacular close a crime series that obliterated the boundaries of the genre.” —BookReporter  

"If you're interested in the best of today's crime fiction, [Parker's] someone you should read." —The Washington Post

"Parker could well be the best crime writer working out of Southern Caifornia." —Chicago Tribune

"The Charlie Hood novels are nothing less than addictive." —Tucson Citizen

"The most groundbreaking crime series in decades." —St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"This is gripping literary entertainment with a point." —Los Angeles Times

"Some of the finest writing you'll ever read." —Chicago Sun-Times

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Charlie Hood Series , #5
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

T. Jefferson Parker is the bestselling author of eighteen previous novels and a three-time winner of the Edgar Award. He lives with his family in Southern California.

Brief Biography

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

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

The Jaguar 2.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
dijet More than 1 year ago
Since I had enjoyed the 4 other books in the Charlie Hood series I'd looked forward to this one. However, I felt that the story lacked real credibility by the heroes actions in saving Erin. It just seemed way over the top to survive so many obstacles. Hope the next one stresses more of Charlie and less of Bradley. dijet
tomdeplume More than 1 year ago
I have read all of T. Jefferson Parker's books. Most were good , others very good. This one is neither. The story is contrived, convoluted and unbelievable. Too many unnessary side trips just for filler. The character Mike Finnegan should be carrying a pitchfork The drug dealer wants another million bucks just so he can have a song written about him? This is laughable. And the ending is a ripoff. It's like Parker just stopped in mind thought, and decided he has to set up the next book. Really TJ you should be ashamed, you're better than this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I haven't even finished this book yet but can definitely understand the bad reviews. I honestly didn't believe them so went ahead and bought it and now I actually don't think I can finish reading it, it's so bad. Boring characters, boring and unbelievable story line. Parker's always been one of my favorite writers. Didn't think he was capable of writing such a bad book. Sorry, TJP, but this faithful fan cannot recommend this one.
666mike More than 1 year ago
This has to be one of the worst adventure/mystery novels I've ever read. Well not completely. Got to page 275 and threw the book out. Pointless.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It rambled and at times was disjointed in thought. I judge a book by the fact I don't want it to end. This one, the end didn't come soon enough.
BlueASA More than 1 year ago
Terrible story line, no sense, nothing like previous Hood book.
KenCady More than 1 year ago
The average rating is currently 3.5 for The Jaguar, and that's about right. It doesn't match up to the previous books, in my opinion. Charlie Hood has no real role until the end. What happens with him prior to that does not feel real, especially the crocodile swim. My impression is that that scene, as well as the scene in Reynosa, were contrived just to get him in the action, which really centers around Bradley and Erin. The Mike character is a little off the wall, so it does not help the story that much. Charlie Hood should be the focus as the most dramatic character, and here he is not.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Do not buy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If this is the first T Jefferson Parker book, it will take a bit to get into the story. Plot is complex, writing is ok.
bigdad1 More than 1 year ago
Super read. Best of the series. Hate to say goodbye to Charlie but can only hope he returns someday.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Parker is a master of prose, people, and story telling. Parker has always chosen areas of this part of our world that other popular authors either stay away from or can not really do justice to in their stories. I'm thankful that Parker has provided me with decades of meaningful, rich, quality, and at times gripping reading.
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
While this novel continues the series with Charlie Hood, the Los Angeles deputy sheriff and ATF agent, he plays a relatively minor role in the plot. Here he is more of a messenger carrying $1 million through Mexico to ransom Erin McKenna, wife of LA County sheriff’s deputy Bradley McKenna and a popular singer and songwriter who has been kidnapped by a gang of narcos and brought to the Yucatan castle home of the cartel leader, Benjamin Armenta. The story is, of course, of her experience as a captive, and the attempts to rescue her given the time limit within which Charlie must deliver the ransom. While the descriptions of Erin’s captivity and the surroundings of the “castle” itself are well-drawn, the closing chapters seem almost perfunctory in the writing; Erin’s rescue is almost reduced to an afterthought; and the concluding portions sought presented with little foundation. The novel continues the saga of the cross-border narcotics flow on a much different level. It really is a tale of a diverse set of characters, good or evil. And the reader ends up wondering who, with perhaps the exception of Erin, is which. Nothing and no one is what it seems.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He watched cattle graze
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ijust finished this wonderful bk in 3 days.i have not read a read lately where I actually felt like I was there watching from afar.I have read the first 2 bks & they were amazing.if you truly want to enjoy this book to the fullest..get the first 2 books in the series.I have read the other reviews & frankly I just do not agree with them. I do not feel like I wasted my time,in fact I feel that I just read a great book.honest. actually,I feel a little bit let down..because what book should I read now that will keep me entertained..better than music,better than tv.... what I will admit was ..I did not read the 2 books before this..& I do agree I was just abit disappointed (also shocked) when the wife was actually captured..there should of been a more thorough explanation on how the husband got to the wife. the mike character was just 1 lucky con man.if u r looking for a good series to start & want good reads ahead.. begin the series now.Mr.parker never disappoints.cheers!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The white female jaguar paced around.