Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Renegades-T. Jefferson Parker

The Renegades
T. Jefferson Parker
Dutton, Feb 2009, $26.95
ISBN: 9780525950950

Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs Charlie Hood and Terry Laws are driving together when the former is executed. The brass insists gang initiation or perhaps getting even with Laws who has been a veteran of the streets. Hood is a bit shook up with his new partner’s death especially since he prefers patrolling by himself with his demon (the spirit of Allison Murrieta – see L.A. OUTLAWS) to accompany him, but understands why he should not investigate it.

However, Hood is a bit surprised when he is assigned to Internal Affairs, but this also gives him an opportunity to look into who murdered his partner starting with inquiries into the life of Terry, dubbed “Mr. Wonderful”. He soon begins to find evidence that alleges Terry that was a crooked cop delivering a personal code of justice. This is something that Hood can understand as a good cop crosses the line to convey justice like in the old west as the system often protects nasty felons not because of fundamental rights that these same hoods tale away from others, but because of those working inside of it are disguised as upright citizens.

Hood is a beacon of morality in a desert of corruption in which drugs seem to own almost everyone's soul from Los Angeles to Mexico. The story line is fast-paced but driven by the throwback hero who obsesses with a need to know whether Mr. Wonderful was a bad or good cop; as defined by Hood and not some artificial law or a pompous judge with Allison inside his head as a reminder of what justice is. Fans will enjoy Hood’s Old West mentality in modern day Southern California.

Harriet Klausner