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Retro Reading: The Renegades by T. Jefferson Parker


After being on the fence with the first installment of this series, I was hoping that this installment would have been better, but there were many times that I wanted to just stop reading and forget about the next four installments.

As this starts, Charlie Hood has left Los Angeles and is now working up north in Antelope Valley where his partner, Terry Laws, is gunned down by a masked gunman wearing a Detroit Tigers hoodie.

Laws was known as Mr. Wonderful and everyone loved him, so the question here was why he was gunned down.

Hood is brought in and begins to work in the Internal Affairs Department where he has to figure out Laws' past and works closely with Los Angeles District Attorney prosecutor, Ariel Reed.

She's working on events with him and also on the prosecution of Shay Eichrodt, who is the prime suspect in the murder of two men in the desert and attacking Laws and reservist Coleman Draper.

Hood is also trying to get his life back together following the death of Suzanne Jones (Allison Murrieta) whom he had an affair with in the first installment. He made a promise to her regarding her son, Bradley, and he keeps it by checking up on him.

Bradley has been keeping out of trouble and still has the need to find/ get revenge on gang member Kick who killed Suzanne during an armed robbery. He also tells Hood that he's been attending school so that he can become a deputy like Hood wants him to become.

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As Hood forges with his investigation, he uncovers The Renegades, an elite group of deputies who take the law into their own hands by doing illegal activities. He learns that his boss, Warren, was once a member but left the group when things were starting to get out of hand. He even removed the tattoo that was around his ankle, which identified members of the group to other members.

When Kick is found dead on the street, Hood is afraid that Bradley is behind it since a witness described him to a tee, but Bradley tells him that he has an alibi and that Hood should look elsewhere.

Laws' suspected assassin, Londell Dwayne, turns himself into Hood with evidence showing that he was with an underage girl, Patrice Kings, on the night in question, and while the evidence is in his favor, he's still arrested on suspicion of murder.

As Hood starts to put a case against Draper, he starts to question Eichrodt, who was beaten at the scene of the double homicide. Eichrodt doesn't remember much of what happened and tells him that sometimes his memory comes back. He's able to put Laws at the scene of the crime.

With so much boredom in this installment, I was glad to see that Jefferson continued the Suzanne Jones story line by bringing Bradley into the story. This story line was probably the best part of the book, but doesn't really begin until somewhere in the middle.

There are too many characters in the story and things really don't get interesting until way past the halfway point.

As Hood starts to dig deeper, that's when the story gets better, along with a new recruitment of renegades. This is what made the story.

Not only is most of it boring, but there's also a lot of car and gun talk which is boring in itself. I think if you are into fast cars and guns, then this would be interesting.

Also, while the story takes place in and around Los Angeles, the casual reader may not know specific locations and this also can be boring since not that many people know their way around the city of Angels.

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