Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mystery Book Review: The Renegades by T. Jefferson Parker

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of The Renegades by T. Jefferson Parker. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

The Renegades by T. Jefferson Parker

A Charlie Hood Mystery

Dutton (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-525-95095-8 (0525950958)
ISBN-13: 978-0-525-95095-0 (9780525950950)
Publication Date: February 2009
List Price: $26.95

Review: Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff Charlie Hood searches for those responsible for killing his partner in The Renegades, a sequel to L. A. Outlaws by T. Jefferson Parker.

For six months now, Hood has been working the swing shift in Antelope Valley, the Siberia of the Sheriff’s Department authority, but that's just fine with him. There's nothing but trouble for him downtown. He prefers driving alone through the valley and the desert. But not tonight. Tonight he's been assigned a partner, one Terry Laws, a well-liked, much-admired veteran of the department known by everyone as "Mr. Wonderful". Assisting two men on a routine call for the Housing Authority, Laws is gunned down in their car with a shot through the passenger side window. Hood is able to slide out of the driver’s side, but held down by gun fire. He, too, could have been killed but wasn’t. Was it fate that saved him? Or did the shooter, someone wearing sunglasses, a baseball cap with a "D" on it, and a red, Western-style bandana folded into a triangle over his face, intentionally miss him? Maybe Mr. Wonderful wasn't so wonderful after all and had something to hide. Hood is summoned to Internal Affairs and finds himself looking into the shooting.

Just who was Terry Laws? Know the target, and you'll know the shooter, or so he is told. And the target, as Hood soon finds out, was hardly a model cop. Hood learns that Laws' previous partner, Coleman Draper, is involved in the importation of drugs from Mexico, and suspects Mr. Wonderful was as well. Since he cannot enter Mexico to hunt down the lawbreakers, he must be patient until he can apprehend them in California. And he doesn't have long to wait.

The Renegades is a beautifully crafted thriller. Parker infuses his story with rich details of the setting, visions of the barren desert and the lofty mountains, which add depth and intensity to the plot. The superbly drawn characters are intriguing, especially Charlie Hood who, just 29 years old, is far more complex than his young age would indicate. And the suspenseful plot, what drives the story forward with its unfolding sequence of revelations, will capture the reader's imagination and not let go.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Renegades and to Penguin Group for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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Synopsis (from the publisher): Some say that outlaws no longer exist, that the true spirit of the American West died with the legendary bandits of pulp novels and bedtime stories. Charlie Hood knows that nothing could be further from the truth. These days he patrols vast stretches of the new American West, not on horseback but in his cruiser. The outlaws may not carry six-shooters, but they’re strapped all the same.

Along the desolate and dusty roads of this new frontier, Hood prefers to ride alone, and he prefers to ride at night. At night, his headlights illuminate only the patch of pavement ahead of him: all the better to hide from the demons -- and the dead outlaws -- receding in his rearview mirror.

But he doesn’t always get what he wants -- certainly not when he’s assigned a partner named Terry Laws, a county veteran who everyone calls “Mr. Wonderful.” And not when Laws is shot dead in the passenger seat and Hood is left to bear witness by someone who knew that Mr. Wonderful didn’t always live up to his nickname. As he sets out to find the gunman, Hood knows one thing for sure: The West is a state of mind, one where the bad guys sometimes wear white hats -- and the good guys seek justice in whatever shade of gray they can find it.

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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