Listened: The Jaguar by T. Jeffferson Parker, 2012, Overdrive download.
A book so good I was sad when it ended. At first I did not like the narration by David Colacci but his narration of bad guy Mike is quite good. Colacci's interpretation of Mike as a wheedling but never sniveling guy was true. Spoilers await.
I put off reading this book because I thought the focus was more on the charismatic and two-faced Bradley. Nope, the real focus was on his kidnapped wife, Erin.
Bradley and Erin are at home late at night when he happens to look at one of his security camera monitors and sees a van driving along his property. Bradley sends Erin into a secret safe room and grabs a couple auto-pistols. Body armoed bad guys bust upstairs into his gunfire. Bradley is swarmed and knocked out. Bradley wakes up to Mexican narcos telling him he needs to pay one million bucks cash and betray his own narco allegiance of Erin will be skinned alive. These are narcos. All threats are truth.
Bradley has been hustling and transporting cash into Mexico for a couple years and has the cash on hand in a secret, underground room. Bradley drives to see Charlie Hood to ask for help. Hood will transport the cash into Mexico and Bradley will work with his fellow (corrupt) Deputies and his narco pals to try and free Erin.
Hood is true. Hood is honest. Hood is helpful. Hood is honorable to a fault. Hood is still hunting Mike Finnegan. Hood transports the cash and ends up partnering with a rare honest MX cop. Hood packs a Springfield 1911 packed in a diplomatic pouch courtesy ATF pal. Hood survives a shoot-out. Hood survives a hurricane. Hood never loses the cash.
Erin is transported to the Yucatan. Narco Boss is not that complex a character. He will do as he says - skin her alive- because that is his word and the way of nature. Of his nature and the nature of the drug business. But, Narco Boss loves music. Narco boss has built high end music studio in his massive castle of a house. Narco Boss bootlegs music CDs by the thousands. Narco Boss is wanted worldwide by good and bad but still travels the world incognito to different music venues. Narco Boss has famous acts play at his compound with an audience of all the reporters, cops, and politicians he owns.
Erin is under massive stress. Erin is pregnant and worried for both her and her son's life. Erin has now learned that her Bradley is a liar. A cheat. A selfish sack of shit. (okay, that's me on the last two comments.) Narco Boss gets her to play with an well known band at one of his house concerts. Narco Boss promises to extend her deadly deadline by two days if she will write a narcocorrido about him.
Bradley travels to Yucatan after Mike Finnegan tells him where Erin is held. Where did you learn this Mike? Oh, I have many sources of information Bradley. Bradley travels with south with sinister sicarios. Gun fight ensues. Arrest by MX Army ensues. Bradley released, Hood finds him, Erin rescued, castle burned.
Erin rescued by Bradley and Hood after all three suffer setbacks and sadness. Hood finds Finnegan. Finnegan spills some confusing beans. Finnegan escapes. Erin leaves Bradley.
1. I wondered if Parker would address the Fast and Furious scandal. He does, but only briefly with reference to a senior ATF Agent bitching about the fiasco to Hood.
2. Gratuitous Flaco Jimenez.
3. Gratuitous Ry Cooder.
4. Gratuitous jaguars with both a band and a real one. Real one used by Narco Boss to eat his captured enemies.
5. Gratuitous massive drug war corruption.
6. Accordion love.
7. Much musician love.
8. Bradley is a bald-faced liar. His greed and selfishness run deep.
9. I am familiar with the narco wars. After reading Parker's and Don Winslow's books I have paid attention to news article and searched out information. Sicarios scare me. While listening to this I started to think I should carry at least two guns at all time.