Archive for category Police Procedural

Review: IRON RIVER by T. Jefferson Parker

Dutton, January 5, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-525-95149-0
Hardcover, 384 pages
$26.95 U.S./ $33.50, Canada

Reviewed by Larry W. Chavis

In L. A. Outlaws Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Charlie Hood met Suzanne Jones, a.k.a. Allison Murrieta, a lineal descendant of the legendary California outlaw. Meeting her, suspecting her, seeing her violent end changed Hood in ways he is still discovering. Not the least of these is the relationship and responsibility - and fear - he feels for for Bradley, Allison’s oldest son, a responsibility that drives him in  The Renegades to try to steer Bradley away from the road his mother followed to her grave.

Now, in Iron River, Charlie Hood is on special assignment with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, ATFE to the press, but still ATF to its operatives. The river of the title is the torrential stream of guns headed across the southern California and Arizona borders to Mexico, part of the fuel, along with drugs and money, that powers the vicious cartel wars, and makes the border country a no-man’s-land of blood and death. Charlie Hood has been assigned to a special task force to do the impossible - stem the flow of guns and jail the illegal purveyors. The first operation of which he is part goes bad, and the son of the man who leads the most vicious Zeta band on the border is killed, bringing the paramilitary killers across the border to kidnap and torture the ATFE agent responsible. What follows is intrigue, danger, and violence, as Hood and the members of Operation Blowdown seek to rescue their comrade.

In the course of all this, Bradley Jones pops up, still trying to straddle the gulf between lawlessness and law enforcement, leaving Charlie Hood in deeper doubt of being able to save him.

Of the three books, this may be the best in terms of character development and insight, and in story impact. The horrendous events happening daily in Mexico, tied to the insatiable American appetite for drugs and money, are shown starkly, with no attempt to soften them. Charlie begins to understand that he, like most, has never understood the forces involved, and perhaps even glimpses larger Forces behind the events, in the enigmatic Mike Finnegan, a man who should have died in an accident but didn’t, and who knows more than he should about events he hasn’t seen - leaving Charlie Hood deeply puzzled.

While, perhaps, not the best book to be released in the new year, this one is worth your while.

Copyright ©2009 Larry W. Chavis

I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

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