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The Famous and the Dead (Charlie Hood Novels) Hardcover – April 18, 2013

3.7 out of 5 stars 79 customer reviews

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Pierced by the Sun
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* A steady stream of trouble flows along the Iron River, the gun-trafficking corridor straddling the Mexican-American border from California to Texas. Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy Charlie Hood knows the passageway’s dark history all too well; he helps monitor it for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. In this compelling conclusion to three-time Edgar-winner Parker’s best-selling Charlie Hood series (after The Jaguar, 2012), Deputy Hood once again finds himself in the company of unsavory sorts. Shady Los Angeles cop Bradley Jones, son of late L.A. outlaw Suzanne Jones, is still in tight with the Baja Cartel. (Deputy Hood was deeply in love with Bradley’s mother and feels a certain bond with her son, despite his wayward ways.) Bradley’s wife is pregnant, and Hood hopes the responsibilities of parenthood will force Jones to shape up. Meanwhile, sinister salesman Mike Finnegan continues to snake his way into Hood’s life. (This time, he mysteriously surfaces in a House committee hearing in which Hood is testifying.) The sheriff’s new and equally nefarious nemesis is Lonnie Rovanna, an unhinged soul with an itchy trigger finger and voices in his head. Parker’s knack for intriguing characters and steadily escalating suspense make this a memorable finish to a standout series. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Parker is a three-time Edgar winner—one of only three writers who has won more than one—and this stirring conclusion to a critically acclaimed series will draw his established ­audience. --Allison Block

Review

"Ambitious, daring...brilliant."--The Associated Press

"T. Jefferson Parker has burgled the crumbling palace of Edgar Allan Poe for inspiration."--The Wall Street Journal

“Parker, the winner of three Edgar awards for crime fiction, again delivers a tale that is not only well-plotted and suspenseful, but subtle, surprising and endearingly perverse.” – Washington Post

"T. Jefferson Parker has carved out a niche for himself as the Hemingway of thriller writers...His writing is a wonder to behold." - Providence Sunday Journal

“a spectacular close a crime series that obliterated the boundaries of the genre.” - BookReporter  

Praise for T. Jefferson Parker:

"If you're interested in the best of today's crime fiction, [Parker's] someone you should read."--The Washington Post

"Parker could well be the best crime writer working out of Southern Caifornia."--Chicago Tribune

"The Charlie Hood novels are nothing less than addictive."--Tucson Citizen

"The most groundbreaking crime series in decades."--St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"This is gripping literary entertainment with a point."--Los Angeles Times

"Some of the finest writing you'll ever read."--Chicago Sun-Times

"No writer can match Parker when it comes to characters and mood.  [Parker] is a brilliant craftsman and storyteller."--The Providence Sunday Journal

“Charlie Hood will be sorely missed. That is, until we see what other surprises Parker has planned for us.” - BookGasm 
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Product Details

  • Series: Charlie Hood Novels
  • Hardcover: 371 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton; First Edition edition (April 18, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525953175
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525953173
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,004,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By TMStyles VINE VOICE on April 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read most of Parker's works, including all the Charlie Hood novels, I anxiously awaited this final showdown to see how Parker handled wrapping up myriad storylines that had accumulated somewhat messily at times. Answers to all the mysteries were forthcoming but I was unprepared for the incredible direction the answers took along with the messy conclusion to a long time series that has been mostly hit and miss over the years. At its core, the Charlie Hood novels have been about good versus evil as played out by flawed individuals who themselves blur the dividing line between good and evil behavior.

Charlie Hood is a Los Angeles Sheriff's deputy who has been on long term loan to the ATF working as an undercover officer trying to stem the flow of guns, drugs, and money across the US/Mexican border. Bradley Jones, son of Hood's deceased former lover, is also a sheriff's deputy who happens to work both sides of the law as a secret courier for a Mexican drug cartel. And Mike Finnegan is a mysterious figure who periodically appears at opportune times to help or hinder both Hood and Jones but primarily seeks to drive a wedge between them. Who is this mysterious Finnegan who can manipulate and destroy lives and whom Charlie Hood has been seeking for years? These three characters form the core of "The Famous And The Dead" leaving the supporting characters (Beth, Erin, etc.) with small bit roles. There is also a new evil character, Clint Wampler, part of a gang of bad guys selling weapons and missiles, who decides to make the destruction of Charlie Hood his life goal.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have been a huge fan of T. Jefferson Parker for many years, and have read every one of his books. I am not a fan of occult fiction, but I have enjoyed the Charlie Hood series from the beginning. The key for me was that the true nature of character of Mike was always just a little bit ambiguous; yes there were some apparently reality-defying occurrences, but Parker deftly maintained the possibility that there was really a non-otherworldly explanation, even as it became more unlikely in each subsequent book. For example, the unbelievable behavior of Osbourne in The Border Lords, seemingly paranormal, turns out to be a scientifically accurate account of the final stages of untreated rabies.
I have two problems with this book. First, Parker has completely abandoned any pretense of a non-occult explanation: these are angels and devils, without question or doubt. I thought it was just too far out there for me in that respect. Second, and even more troubling, is that the overall ending, supposedly wrapping up all of the many story lines in this series, does nothing of the sort. Most importantly, there is no resolution to what happens to Mike. The way this ending is structured feels to me like Parker has left the door ajar for this to in fact not be the final book in the series. Fortunately, the tepid reception this novel is receiving will probably (and hopefully) disabuse him of that notion.
This would have been a two-star review but for Parker's typically beautiful, evocative writing.
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Format: Hardcover
Spooky-wooky, mythy-wythy nonsense. Jeez. Parker has been a terrific crime and cop writer, but when he hooked Charlie up with the the magical lady bandida Allison - heiress to some bag of bones who inspired silly stories in old Mexico and mother of Bradley Jones, teenage bandido romantico absurdo, who mumbles over said bag of bones and inspires Parker to more silly stories - he began to drop the ball.

Mike Finnegan, indestructible little demon, gave the ball a hard slap down and now in this novel the ball has fallen and lands with a thud.

It's such a shame. Even amid the nonsense you can see how good a writer Parker is and wish he could suppress the hallucinations induced, no doubt, by a pestilential fog from pesticides simmering in the SoCal sun.

And worst disappointment of all: ++++SPOILER ALERT++++

Parker, inconceivably, does not, NOT, kill off Mike and Bradley, thus threatening us in perpetuity with: The Return of the Ridiculous!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With The Famous and the Dead T. Jefferson Parker brings the Charlie Hood saga to a close. Probably. (Small Spoiler) Charlie's alive at the end, so anything is possible.

The series has received mixed responses. His publisher says that Parker has `obliterated the boundaries of the genre' with the six Charlie Hood novels. Perhaps. Or perhaps he has returned to the genre's roots.

The issues for many readers have included a wide swath of interesting, but very different characters, a set of numerous but frequently-converging plot lines, and something quite unexpected. Is it spiritualism? Is it magic realism? Or does the Charlie Hood saga involve a living, breathing, real-world devil? His name is Mike Finnegan and his devil status is sometimes vague, sometimes more explicit. Perhaps it is simply the result of human perception. Perhaps Mike does not contain super-human power but is simply very, very good at what he does.

In The Famous and the Dead Mike is identified as an actual devil. When we talk about the `iron river' and the flow of guns between the U.S. and the Mexican drug cartels, we might be tempted to talk about `evil' and Satanic monstrousness, but those are often purely metaphoric. Mike is the real deal. And he has imprisoned a sweet angel named Beatrice for 100 years (the maximum period allowed him, a period that is about to expire). Devils like Mike are ten times stronger than humans and while they can feel pain and be physically constrained, they cannot be killed.

Hence Charlie Hood's problems. He is still being betrayed by Bradley Jones; he is still trying to protect Bradley's beloved Erin from Bradley's machinations.
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