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The Fallen    by T. Jefferson Parker order for
by T. Jefferson Parker
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

Meet Robbie Brownlaw, a twenty-nine year old homicide detective with the San Diego Police Department. He has always known exactly what he would do for a career; in fact, he remembers the precise moment when he decided to become a policeman: As a six year old growing up in Normal Heights, he was rescued from an attacking dog by a San Diego policeman. He knew then that he wanted to make a positive contribution to people's lives. And even after a near-death experience three years ago, Brownlaw remains dedicated to the job in spite of the ways in which his health and his family have been affected.

Now he is suddenly confronted by what may become two life-changing challenges: his most difficult case, and the most difficult phrase of his marriage.

Garrett Asplundh, a former Internal Affairs cop, had most recently been working with the city's Ethics Authority, a watchdog organization overseeing government officials, but now Asplundh is dead. Found in his Ford Explorer beneath a bridge in San Diego's Balboa Park, Asplundh died of a single gunshot to the head. What first appears to be a suicide quickly becomes a homicide investigation with very few clues, and considering Asplundh's long list of enemies - an impressive number of the city’s most prominent politicians, business leaders, and police officials - Brownlaw knows that a quick solution will not be easy. But he does not yet realize the kinds of corruption, deceit, and danger involved.

Meanwhile, when Brownlaw's wife Gina becomes increasingly restless and confused, and when Brownlaw reflects on his marriage and the disturbing effects of the harrowing incident from three years earlier, he gradually realizes the truth of what someone has recently told him: 'A person’s life can change so fast. A pivot. A moment. An event that takes a fraction of a second but lasts as lifetime.'

T. Jefferson Parker - masterful storyteller with a dozen previous blockbuster novels already to his credit - has done it again in this electrifying new novel! The Fallen is a first-rate mystery-thriller featuring a charismatic protagonist, a fascinating cast of characters, and a carefully constructed plot. Able to adroitly navigate the heights and depths of the human condition, the admirable Robbie Brownlaw is the kind of character readers will want to see again and again. So, Mr. Parker, bring him back for his much deserved encore, and let's see how he handles future cases in San Diego - America's Finest City!

2nd Review by Mary Ann Smyth:

Robbie Brownlaw is a homicide detective for the city of San Diego. He's an average, everyday kind of man. Hardworking, he believes in what he does and tries to do it well. He's deeply in love with his wife. Everything is copacetic until he is thrown from a window on the sixth floor of a hotel, where he was trying to subdue a man enraged by alcohol and the world.

The strange thing is that he survives the fall. Stranger still, he can now see the words people are saying as blobs and blips of color. He has synesthesia – a neurological condition where the senses get mixed up. He is now a living, breathing, walking lie detector as he see different colored shapes when people get emotional.

Garret Asplunth is an employee of the City Ethics Department. He is also good at his job and finds many unethical and downright corrupt people doing their own thing as they conduct city business.

This makes for another of T. Jefferson Parker's highly readable and truly enjoyable offerings. Parker, award-winning author of California Girl, has created strong characters – both good and bad – and placed them in unusual and dangerous situations. The plot of The Fallen, his thirteenth novel, never falters. The suspense grabs the reader early on and the climax warrants reading with breath held.

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