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


    Dutton, February 2009

    When his partner is gunned down by a machinegunner in an apparent gang hit, cop Charlie Hood agrees to a stint with Internal Affairs to get the chance to hunt down Terry Laws's shooter. The more he looks, though, the less he believes the easy answers laid down for him. Where did Laws get the money to buy the really nice L.A. home he lived in? What is the deal with his relationship with a deputy cop who serves for a dollar a day? Maybe, Hood realizes, Terry didn't live up to the "Mr. Wonderful" billing he'd staked out for himself. Still, did he deserve to be shot down in the road?

    Draper escaped a childhood on the border and now runs a high-class car dealership. But he isn't satisfied with that--and his friendship with Terry Laws, along with his dollar-a-year job as an assistant cop, just might be the beginning of something big. Draper is smart enough to know that one man is just a man, but two men might be the beginning of an organization. Years ago, The Renegades had ruled the L.A. police, making up rules as they went, creating an elite brotherhood within the force, and holding themselves accountable only to one another. Draper wants something like that--but with him at the top. He intends to let nothing stand in his way--least of all, a cop like Hood.

    Author T. Jefferson Parker (see more reviews of novels by Parker) writes convincingly of the deserts near Los Angeles, and of the perpetual bloodbath that is the border between the US and Mexico. Psychopathic Draper makes an interesting character--going through the motions of friendship so fully he sometimes persuades himself he really has friends. Hood, too, is fully developed, with a rich backstory and complex goals and needs.

    Parker's writing style is spare enough to be hard, yet rich with description. He has a nice ear for dialogue and for the relationships between cops. I found it easy to lose myself in THE RENEGADES. Although this story didn't have the emotional impact of some of Parker's other works, Parker is a master of the craft.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 5/19/09

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