- Hardcover: 603 pages
- Publisher: Thorndike Press; Lrg edition (May 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1410457001
- ISBN-13: 978-1410457004
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,614,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Famous and the Dead (Charlie Hood Novel) Hardcover – Large Print, 1 May 2013
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
'Nothing less than addictive.' Tucson Citizen 'The most ground-breaking crime series in decades.' St Louis Post-Dispatch 'Some of the finest writing you'll ever read.' --Chicago Sun-Times
'T. Jefferson Parker has carved out a niche for himself as the Hemingway of thriller writers.' --Providence 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.' --Patrick Anderson, Washington Post
'Strong literary craftsmanship and unmatched characterization --- Mike Finnegan may be my favorite literary adversary of all time.' --Joe Hartlaub, The Book Reporter --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
About the Author
T. Jefferson Parker is the author of more than twenty successful crime novels in the US. He is a New York Times Best Selling Author and the recipient of two Edgar Awards. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Author Parker has some fine stories to tell, and doesn't need the sci/fi approach to bring them home.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
But the focus on this culminating story of the Charlie Hood series is the interplay among Charlie, Brad, and Mike in a manner that is calculated to bring closure to all the loose threads and unanswered storylines. As hinted in past Hood novels, the supernatural explodes shockingly into the series and the good v. evil storyline gets even murkier as people change sides as easily as they change their clothing. Charlie is truly up against a seemingly insurmountable foe and is also forced to scramble for his career as damaging evidence is leaked to the authorities. Aside from the sudden revelation of supernatural characters in "The Famous And The Dead", I found most of the narrative to be predictable and sometimes seemingly "forced" to hurry things along. Even the "surprise" ending was easy enough to predict from the clues.
I stayed with Parker and his Charlie Hood series more out of loyalty than out of compelling characters and storylines. Occasionally, there were real nuggets in some of the efforts. However, to end a seven novel series in the manner that Parker did in "The Famous And The Dead" was a disappointment. For loyal readers of the series, there are answers and there are some entertaining and suspenseful moments scattered throughout the novel. Parker is too good to totally disappoint. For this reader, more was expected.
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.
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. Bradley toys with the idea of partnering with Mike and Mike is helping him to bring Charlie to justice, shame and failure. Bradley is still in cahoots with a drug cartel but he wishes to make Erin proud, particularly when she is pregnant with their son, to be called Thomas. Charlie is trying to sustain his relationship with his doctor/lover Beth, but Beth is tiring of his obsessions. The congress is still smarting over the loss of the 1000 Love-32 machine pistols and is looking for a scapegoat (in Charlie's direction). And Joaquin Murrieta's head is still floating in its jar of preservative, though the hair has floated to the bottom and the skull is bare. And people are still doubting that Bradley's mother Suzanne could have been related to Joaquin. That would be the Suzanne who was the love of Charlie's life.
Plus, we've got a psychologically-challenged individual who Mike is grooming to kill a public official and three thugs from Missouri who have a contact at Ft. Pendleton who is stealing Stinger missiles for them to sell to one of the Mexican cartels. Plus a brutalized former girlfriend of their leader, another person needing Charlie's protection.
Thus, we have the normal doings along the iron river, with both public and private plots/subplots and a now very active devil named Mike.
Having said that, let me quickly add that the novel is very easy to follow and that the characters are engaging, their plights very important to the reader. The novel achieves a succession of very satisfying conclusions and resolves all of its central issues. I liked it very much.
But what of the devil (and the angel, Beatrice, and her likely fellow angel, Joan)? In some ways this really does blur the lines of genre. When was the last time an actual devil or angel made an appearance in a crime novel?
On the other hand, this is utterly faithful to genre, in that crime fiction emerges from chivalric romance (as Chandler was at pains to demonstrate) and in chivalric romance there are all manner of supernatural characters--crones, necromancers, wizards, dragons, et al. (T. Jefferson) Parker very shrewdly humanizes them. As in Spenser (Edmund, not Bob Parker's Spenser) where we are putatively in the world of allegory, with hyper-stylized landscape, etc., the characters are presented in very human terms. Here, poor Beatrice has been imprisoned in a mine shaft for 90+ years. The world has passed her by. The fastest she's ever traveled in a car is 27 mph. And when she is released she has a tremendous appetite. She wants to drive fast and she wants to go to the grocery store. At one wonderful moment she asks one of the human characters, "Can I ride up front?"
And so, the bottom line for me is that the novel worked. It worked very nicely and I'm anxious to see where Jeff Parker goes next.
There are smuggled guns, a psychotic killer, brutal gangsters, and a Mexican drug cartel that operates through a Ford dealer. It's mostly set in and around San Diego with a lot of action in Imperial Beach near the Tijuana River Estuary, right on the Mexican border. Parker clearly is fond of this area, which he artfully depicts.
One flaw for me is Parker's inclusion of fantasy. There's an "angel" who was imprisoned in a mine shaft for ninety-four years. She has super-strong hair (that's been growing for ninety-four years) from which a rope is made to bind another fantasy figure who plays a key role in the novel. And there's that head in a jar... I prefer reality-based fiction and feel it's something of a cop out to let supernatural elements fill plot gaps.
he could have gone more rounds with Bradley Jones and Mike Finnegan and I'd be happy to tag along.
If you like John Connolly, imagine a setting on the other end of the country and a tougher hero
who is free of sidekicks.
The writing is sharp, the characters vivid. The book goes deeper into the supernatural,
Mike Finnegan explains his mission on earth and the more on the war between angels and demons
for the souls of specific people, including Bradley and his unborn son.
It's a bit frustrating that so much of the book opens up future avenues to explore...
Charlie's got a new job, Bradley has a son, we're just starting to catch on to how
some of the immortal agents of "the Prince" and "the King" operate.
It doesn't feel very final which I suppose was the author's intent.
New readers better catch up on the series rather than try to read it as a standalone.
I missed the previous book and wasn't too lost, but without the others you'd be scratching your head a lot.