Parker reaches once more into the real-life story of Operation Fast & Furious to conclude his sprawling, multivolume saga of Charlie Hood, the seen-it-all deputy of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.
Operation Blowdown, which already went south, is now coming back north. Three years after a thousand Love 32s were smuggled into Mexico under the noses of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the weapons have begun to make their way back into the U.S. It’s only a matter of time before liberal California congressman Scott Freeman is assassinated by Lonnie Rovanna, a schizophrenic former bodyguard who’s been told to kill Freeman by the voices he hears on the radio, helpfully supplied with a Love 32 by Dr. Todd Stren, a psychologist who consults with the San Diego Superior Court. Charlie quickly realizes that Dr. Stren is actually Mike Finnegan, the bathroom-products wholesaler who’s also a modern devil (The Border Lords, 2011, etc.). Even before Freeman hits the floor, Charlie’s already under fire from his rabid congressional colleague Darren Grossly; once Freeman has been pronounced dead and somebody’s got to take the blame, it’s clear that Charlie’s days with the LASD are numbered. Getting forced into two paid leaves, however, merely sharpens Charlie’s appetite and frees his hands to go after his prey: Finnegan, North Baja Cartel head Carlos Herredia, falling LASD star Bradley Jones and a ring of insider thieves, including the extremely well-armed Clint Wampler, who’s already cherishing a bitter personal grudge against Charlie for hurting his finger. The ensuing ritualistic showdowns, which seem to owe as much to The Lord of the Rings as to other cop novels, show Parker burrowing deep into his characters, so that both heroes and villains spring to unnervingly complicated life.
Part cops-versus–drugs-and-guns procedural, part elemental morality play, part fire-and-brimstone mythmaking, all of it inimitably Parker.