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    Review of THE FALLEN by T. Jefferson Parker (see his website)

    William Morrow, March 2006

    When a San Diego ethics investigator is found dead in his car, homicide detective Robbie Brownlaw gets the job. It looks like suicide at first, but Robbie doesn't believe it--and a lack of gunshot residue proves him right. As he investigates, he discovers that the victim, Garrett Asplundh had uncovered a web of corruption in the city government. A high-class prostitution ring had developed contact with city government, major developers, and even the police vice squad. Garrett had videotapes of many of the city's most powerful having sex with callgirls--evidence that would offer motive for murder. But which of the many potential killers actually did the job.

    While Brownlaw puts on a strong front, his personal life is falling apart. He's never been the same since surviving a fall from a hotel, and his marriage is at the point of breaking up--just as Garrett's marriage had broken up over the loss of Garrett's young daughter. Brownlaw only throws himself more deeply into the case--pushing ahead despite warnings from his superiors that he may be rocking boats--and that he might actually damage the city of San Diego.

    Author T. Jefferson Parker (see more reviews of novels by Parker) has become one of the hottest mystery authors of the past decade with powerful stories that combine emotional depth with solid mysteries. THE FALLEN is an excellent addition to Parker's output. Brownlaw is an extremely sympathetic character--the breakdown of his personal life, made stronger by his belief that he survived his fall largely due to his wish to remain with wife Gina, adds impact to an intriguing mystery. The issues of police corruption and the collision between ethics and big-city development add to the story's believability and interest.

    Parker provides plenty of red herrings, an interesting sidekick in Brownlaw's partner, McKenzie Cortez, and a really interesting handicapp/different enablement in Brownlaw's synesthesia. THE FALLEN starts out with a bang--describing Brownlaw's fall, but it only gets better from there.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 4/20/06

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