Parker Takes a Bullet
An Evelyn Parker Mystery by Lewis Hall
Review: Lewis Hall introduces Evelyn Parker, a 20ish woman who recently lost both her mother, to suicide, and her father, a cop killed by a suspicious fire in his home, in the first of a proposed series, Parker Takes a Bullet.
Evelyn, who just recently moved out on her own and works in an animal shelter, is devastated by her father's death. She's convinced he was murdered, but his own police department isn't so sure. A large cash deposit recently made into his bank account suggests maybe he was a cop on the take in a deal that went bad. Determined to clear his name, Evelyn starts from some notes written by her father related to his most recent case, and a list he made with seemingly unrelated words: computers, big black car, no license, boxster, dead, bacon, baseball cap, Russian. When her investigation leads her to a Russian native who's a computer expert and the owner a Boxster, she knows she's making progress. But then the FBI step in looking for this very same person but for a different reason. Afraid that she'll never solve her father's murder if the FBI take away her best lead, she convinces him to evade the authorities all the while digging for information about her dad.
Parker Takes a Bullet is a fast-paced thriller with a strong, well-developed plot. Its weakest element, and a debatable one at that, is the character of Evelyn Parker, the series lead. Portrayed as an independent, no-nonsense, and otherwise reasonably intelligent young woman, she nevertheless constantly ignores sound advice, disregards direct orders, breaks laws, commits felonies, and endangers not only herself but everyone around her. She often uses a "the means justifies the end" rationale to support her actions. For example, recalling that her father once said, "A judge should focus on the motivation behind a crime, not on the act itself," she provides herself with comfort that stealing her father's files from police headquarters was the proper thing to do. (The frequent use of quotes by her father is actually one of the more appealing aspects of the book. No doubt intended to keep Evelyn grounded, she sometimes, well, rather frequently, twists them to suit her own, at present, needs.) Some readers might view Evelyn as a good triumphing over evil kind of superhero; others may just roll their eyes at some of her actions, from running (unarmed) after a man (armed) who just tried to kill her, to rather easily breaking out of a secure detention center, to shooting out the tires of a jet while standing in its path on an active runway. That the authorities continue to allow her to get away with all this is part of her charm. Or maybe they're just that inept.
Though Evelyn Parker is clearly the center of attention here, like her or not, it's the plot and, admittedly, the non-stop action that pull readers along. In the end there are a few unresolved plot points, but otherwise Parker Takes a Bullet is an entertaining and unforgettable thriller.
Acknowledgment: Lewis Hall provided a copy of Parker Takes a Bullet for this review.
Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Parker Takes a Bullet:
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Parker Takes a Bullet by Lewis Hall — An Evelyn Parker Mystery
Publisher: Elevated Lab Press
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: May 2009
List Price: $14.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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