T. Jefferson Parker
Dutton, Jan 5 2010, $26.95
Los Angeles sheriff's deputy Charlie Hood is assigned to the Operation Blowdown taskforce trying to end the tidal wave of guns and money flowing down the “Iron River” from the States to Mexico. Charlie understands the irony that the Second Amendment crowd who many demand tighter border patrol sells arms to the cartels who sell back drugs and people.
During a shootout between Charlie and his Blowdown unit against a cartel buying weapons leaves the son of the cartel leader dead. Now the border war is personal with Charlie and his team being targeted one at a time through loved ones if necessary. At the same time bankrupt weapons manufacturer Pace Arms has brokered a deal with a cartel through a middle man Bradley Smith, making life for law enforcement more dangerous.
The third Hood police procedural (see L.A. Outlaws and The Renegades) is a terrific tale that spotlights how large, complex and dangerous the gun trafficking sold south is. Ironically during the recession this segment of free enterprise drugs for guns and cash remains profitable. The story line is fast-paced but the scope is so massive that gunrunning removes the faces of the victims and the survivors as characters including Charlie become almost irrelevant. As Stalin said: “The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of a million is statistic”, which in this case overwhelms the cast and plot.