A legendary outlaw’s DNA plays an unlikely role in Parker’s latest winner (Storm Runners, 2007, etc.).
“Here’s the deal,” proclaims our heroine at the opening of the novel. “I am the direct descendent of the outlaw Joaquin Murrieta,” whose questionable virtues she goes on to extol. Apparently, he could charm, chill and kill with equal facility. But in 1853, Joaquin’s larcenous career was ended the hard way by a contingent of Texas Rangers: They shot him dead, then cut his head off. Some say the year was 1878. Some say he didn’t die or live at all, that he was a romantic myth, an amalgam of at least three Joaquin-like desperadoes. Numbered among the skeptical you would never find Suzanne Elizabeth Jones. She’s the beautiful mother of three and currently employed by the Los Angeles Unified School District as a history teacher. She is also self-employed, involved in work that has been giving Southern California law enforcement fits for some little time. Masked, bewigged and packing her palm-sized Cañonita (.40 caliber, ivory-handled derringer), she steals from the rich and, on occasion, shares a portion of the plunder with the poor and/or deserving. As a memento after each victimization, she leaves behind her card: “You have been robbed by Allison Murrieta. Have a nice day.” Life changes abruptly for Suzanne (aka Allison) when she stumbles upon the aftermath of a fire fight that has left ten gangsters dead, and she discovers diamonds worth some $400,000. She takes the gems, setting off a chain of events that leads to violence and death, passion and love. In this latter regard, enter Charlie Hood, a good cop and good man who understands the ferocity inherent in Suzanne/Allison’s nature—a side of her as wild as it is deterministic.
All the requisite action-suspense: No one does thriller-with-heart better than Parker.