Monday, February 11, 2008
A Storm of Pleasure
Some brilliant critic once wrote that T. Jefferson Parker was "the best crime writer working out of Southern California" -- and that was before I read STORM RUNNERS, just out in mass market paperback. It's a literally stunning story about failed friendship, revenge and rainmaking. There are two superb villains: a John Huston-like figure from Chinatown who runs Los Angeles's Department of Water and Power; and a Harvard-educated drug dealer who runs La Eme, a feared branch of the Mexican Mafia, from his cell at Pelican Bay, the toughest prison in America.
These two get together to stop a San Diego TV weather reporter from continuing her research into increasing rainfall. The stalker they send to scare her gets private eye Matt Stromsoe back into action after a car bomb set by the drug lord, meant to kill just him, instead leaves former cop Stromsoe one-eyed and mangled and his wife and young son dead. Hired to protect the rainmaker, Matt finds himself falling in love with her -- and risking his life and sanity once again to protect her.
Parker's new hardcover, L.A. OUTLAWS, has received some excellent reviews -- although it would be nice not to have the rave in the L.A. Times dismiss most other crime fiction as rubbish.