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The Renegades    by T. Jefferson Parker order for
by T. Jefferson Parker
Order:  USA  Can
Dutton, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, CD
* *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff Charlie Hood, first encountered in T. Jefferson Parker's L.A. Outlaws, returns in The Renegades, the second police-procedural thriller to feature the intriguing cop and Iraq war veteran who is affected by more than a few ghosts and shadows in his life.

With Allison Murietta (from L.A. Outlaws) now gone (more or less) from his life, Hood finds himself inducted again into Internal Affairs with another challenging goal: find out what really happened to Deputy Sheriff Terry Laws when he was gunned down by an unidentified thug wielding an M-249 squad assault weapon; the squeaky clean Laws (a.k.a. Mr. Wonderful) and his ride-along reservist partner Draper Coleman had been wrapping up a routine stop during their shift in the Antelope Valley region - the sheriff's department's Siberian outpost - when Laws was killed and his relatively unscathed but deeply shaken partner Draper escaped.

Hood begins by finding out as much as he can about Laws, and what he discovers soon sends up some troublesome warning flags. The key to Laws' death, it seems, involves what Hood recognizes as another time worn story of 'chaos and opportunity.' Putting the pieces of the sordid puzzle together - hundreds of thousands of dollars in suitcases, the brutal arrest of a presumed drug runner and presumed murderer, and some mysteriously affluent lifestyles - Hood doesn't take long to zero in on the solution to the mystery. However, the biggest problem remains: how to bring the responsible people to justice. Along the way to solving that problem, Hood - in allowing time for his personal life - must also deal with the persistent residue of his past and with the hopeful opportunities for his future. As for those professional and personal challenges, they will not be easy. And they will be dangerous.

Gritty, complicated, and compelling, The Renegades - as a typical T. Jefferson Parker outing but, in this case, building rather heavily upon the characterizations and events portrayed in its prequel (which should be read before taking on The Renegades) - succeeds as a methodically plotted and powerful tale of greed, revenge, corruption, loyalties, redemption, and the frequently murky meaning of the word justice.

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