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.
Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided a copy of The Renegades for this review.
Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Renegades: Los Angeles, California
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The Renegades by T. Jefferson Parker — A Charlie Hood Mystery
Publication Date: February 2009
List Price: $26.95