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Retro Reading: The Famous and the Dead by T. Jefferson Parker


The back cover promises an exciting conclusion to this series, but unfortunately, it doesn't deliver.

As the book starts, Charlie Hood is working his first big undercover assignment with the help of Mary Kate Boyle, a nineteen-year-old fresh from Missouri who has information regarding her much older boyfriend, corrupt cop Lyle "Skull" Scully.

But Hood is also trying to find Mike Finnegan and he gets a tip from Lonnie Rovanna after Mike visits him and manipulates his mind, which causes Lonnie to go further off the deep end. Hood tries to save him from further psychological trauma and urges him to call him whenever he starts to have an episode.

While Hood tries to help Lonnie, Mike starts to work his plan on Bradley Jones, and he starts to fall into Mike's trap. With Bradley questioning his faith he's trying to win back his wife Erin since she's ready to give birth at any time.

Following her kidnapping, Erin left Bradley and moved in with Charlie since she feels safe with him. However, Erin doesn't know the entire story of Bradley's past and he fears that once she knows the truth, she'll leave him for good.

As Mike pushes his plan on Bradley, Bradley turns the tables on Charlie by telling his superiors that Charlie was working with Erin's captor drug lord Benjamin Armenta months earlier. He provides "evidence" to them which he's altered for his protection.

With the help of Mary Kate, Charlie and his Blowdown team are able to Skull into their sting, however, after a shootout, one of Skull's cohorts, Clint Wampler, manages to get away and continues to sell weapons. He's also wanted in the murder of Agent Reggie Cepeda and wants to get revenge on Charlie.

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Clint calls Mary Kate and wants her to come out to Los Angeles (he doesn't know that she's already there) so that he can start dating her. With Skull out of the way, he thinks that he stands a good chance of getting her to be his and he tells her that he has a lot of money and can make more.

Mike takes Bradley to a "convention" and while there, Bradley talks with his daughter Owens about Mike's plan. Owens tells him that physically, Mike can't be harmed but the two come up with a plan in order to destroy him.

With a plan set in motion it's up to everyone to stop Mike and keep Bradley and Erin's baby from harm.

Unfortunately, the series doesn't end in a shocking way and the storyline between Mike and Bradley seems like an updated version of Rosemary's Baby, while the storyline with Lonnie mimics Taxi Driver.

The novel takes place in February, however, due to poor editing, Erin is essentially giving birth at four months. In the fourth installment, she finds out that she's a few weeks pregnant (it's October) and in the fifth installment, it's also October.

For now, I can pat myself on the back since I kept my vow and stayed with the series, no matter how much I wanted to stop.

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