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Reading

The Renegades

Don't saddle T. Jefferson Parker with the stigma of genre writing.

Book Digest I haven’t read T. Jefferson Parker’s books for a while, though when I spoke with him in the mid-’90s I was favorably impressed with his writing. Along with Michael Connelly, Thomas Perry, Don Winslow, and Robert Ferrigno, Parker is one of a handful of crime writers who either live or formerly resided in Southern California and who deserve not to be saddled with the stigma of genre writing—a stigma that happily for them does not attach to their revenue streams.

Anyway, last year I reacquainted myself with Parker in L.A. Outlaws, which boasted a mildly improbable heroine, Allison Murietta, who follows in the footsteps of her legendary Mexican Robin Hood/outlaw ancestor. Parker claims that novel was inspired by Joaquin Murrieta, a famous bandit who terrorized California until he was shot and beheaded in 1853. In The Renegades (Dutton), Allison’s one-time lover, L.A. Deputy Sheriff Charlie Hood, is drawn into a web of intrigue that features a really creepy sociopath deputy and the best description of narcotrafficante characters and the wild and wooly Mexican-American border since Winslow’s great novel, The Power of the Dog.

With quiet precision, this narrative unfolds into a riveting tale of greed, arrogance, and dogged investigative persistence. Unfortunately, Parker will not resist the call for serializing Hood—a burden not many characters can carry (excepting Philip Marlowe and Harry Bosch).
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