Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Listened to: "L.A. Outlaws" by T. Jefferson Parker

Listened to: L.A. Outlaws by T. Jefferson Parker, downloaded from

I enjoyed this from the start. Take three characters, mix in various family members and other cops, shake, bake for 300 pages. Very well done.

Suzanne Jones is a junior-high history teacher who is living out what she believes is her family history of crime. Claiming ancestry of a famous California crook of the 1800s, Joaquin Murrieta, she has been robbing fast food places and stealing cars for a year or so under the guise of 'Allison Murrieta'. Over the past few months she has developed a massive media following in Los Angeles by leaving business cards at crime scenes, posing for photos during heists, and even sending in a videotape to the news.

Charlie Hood is a Deputy Sheriff for Los Angeles County whose nightly patrol brings him in contact with Suzanne. Suzanne had been after $400,000 of cut diamonds a wholesaler was using to settle a gambling debt. When Suzanne arrives at the auto-shop where the deal was being made she finds the diamonds and ten bodies from a recent gun battle. Suzanne grabs the diamonds, avoids some other guy who shows up at the shop, and gets pulled over by Hood when she is speeding in her (stolen) Z-06 Corvette. They start screwing a couple days later.

The "other guy" is Lupercio. A former MS-13 gang leader who is so deadly and scary that even MS-13 called a truce with him after he broke from the gang. Lupercio is working for the fence who was trying to get the diamonds and tracking Suzanne to get them back.

Suzanne was a semi-likable scumbag. She is living dual lives as the admirable and well-liked teacher and as an amoral crook. I was getting pissed off when it looked like Suzanne was going to get away with everything. Suzanne is committing multiple armed robberies - sticking a gun in peoples faces - and stealing cars but easily rationalizes away her crimes. Suzanne gets indignant and angry when a fence tries to drive a better deal for himself for her stolen diamonds. Bitch. Her getting shot was not a surprise rationally, but Parker did well letting me believe she may live, hook up with Hood, and stay out of jail. She is slutty, too.

Lupercio was a great villain. A seemingly unstoppable dude. He dies, of course.

Hood is in Parker's upcoming novel. I'll have to check it out. He is a good character.

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