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Iron River (Charlie Hood #3)

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  905 Ratings  ·  131 Reviews
On a dusty highway just north of the United States/Mexico border, a man named Mike Finnegan is struck by a fast-moving vehicle and flung into the desert. Miraculously, he survives and winds up in a hospital in the tiny border town of Buenavista, seemingly in full possession of his faculties—including the eerie ability to understand events happening well outside the view fr ...more
Audio CD, Abridged, 5 pages
Published January 5th 2010 by Brilliance Audio (first published November 9th 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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James Thane
This is the third installment in T. Jefferson Parker's excellent series featuring Charlie Hood. Hood is an Army vet who has become an L.A. County deputy sheriff. Here he joins a taskforce called Operation Blowdown, which is assigned the virtually impossible task of slowing the flow of guns from the southwestern United States into Mexico along the so-called "Iron River."

Early on, Hood and the other agents assigned to the operation wind up in a firefight with some gun runners and a young bystander
Cathy DuPont
Aug 09, 2013 Cathy DuPont rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who want to read open-ended series not knowing when they will end
Ya know...if I had wanted to read a trilogy or ongoing series which cannot be read as a stand-alone, I would do that.

But reading a book, I think the reader deserves to know whether the book is part of an ongoing series that is open-ended (leaving the reader with numerous loose ends) or not; readers expect a book to be a stand-alone that is unless it says otherwise. A book at the last page reads "The End" for a reason.

I find it important that the Charlie Hood series be read in seq
Mike French
Feb 02, 2015 Mike French rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The third book in the Charlie Hood series is another TREMENDOUS read! I highly recommend this series to my GR friends.
Dana Stabenow
Feb 16, 2010 Dana Stabenow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 02, 2012 David rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: completed
The writing in this novel is as sharp and crisp as ever. Sadly, Parker tries a mystical angle that is really annoying and this novel actually goes nowhere. Parker's characters are their usual mixture of morose and amoral characters with our hero, Charlie Hood, dancing about in the midst of them trying to maintain some semblance of moral balance.

The mystical angle comes from an enigmatic character who is injured and hospitalized and somehow knows things he shouldn't know. The character seems to
Mar 15, 2010 Laurie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Magnificent, with a masterly understanding of the grey areas between the good and the evil. Parker's characters are nailed-down real, their pain breaks your heart, their strengths make you want to sing. This is crime fiction at its very best.
Leon Aldrich
Robert Crais, James Lee Burke and T. Jefferson Parker have to be three of my favorite thriller authors for 2012.
Fredrick Danysh
Charlie Hood is on loan to the ATFE along the Mexican border in Southern California to help stem the flow of guns into Mexico. Mike Finnegan is hit by a speeding car landing him in the hospital where he seems to get information out of the thin air and claims to be hundreds of years old. Ron Pace makes a deal selling a special gun to the drug cartels to revive his gun manufacturing business, A federal agent is kidnapped and tortured. This consistent read is told from the voice of two people, a po ...more
i decided to keep track of all the books in which mentally ill mothers appear. i thought someone had to. the mentally ill mother doesn't have a big part in this book, but she takes enough narrative space to impress upon us that book characters are raised on the knees of mentally ill women. why this trope should be so pervasive and so pervasively ignored, i don't know. i have my suspicions about the former and i plan to do something about the latter. here. done. maybe from now on you, too, will p ...more
Glenda Bixler
Feb 20, 2010 Glenda Bixler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed-books
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Review: Iron River Takes Readers to the Border and Beyond...
Iron River

By T. Jefferson Parker
ISBN: 9780525951490
373 Pages

T. Jefferson Parker's latest novel, Iron River: A Charlie Hood Novel is strangely fascinating. Although Charlie Hood is the main character, the strange character to whom I refer is Mike Finnegan...

The book opens with Finnegan being severely hurt in an automobile accident and Hood and others visit him throughout the book, trying to discover who
Dec 20, 2010 RJ rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
T. Jefferson Parker uses a mixed point of view in his novel Iron River. This means he employs both first person and third person in describing the story. While this is not a common perspective, I usually enjoy the intimacy that it can bring to a novel. Nelson DeMille’s John Corey series is an excellent example of how this device can accentuate tension and help the reader to bond with the protagonist.

What makes Iron River unique is that Parker assigns the first person perspective to someone other
Jan 11, 2011 Debbie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suspense
"Iron River" is a crime suspense novel. I haven't read the previous Charlie Hood novels, but, FYI, this one spoils what happened in previous novels. While most of the characters in this novel were complex and acted realistically, the events weren't realistic. Who would send cops into a foreign country to do the job of a special forces team? If the law enforcement people know that one of their own is extremely likely to be kidnapped, why don't they send him (and family) to, say, Alaska and put hi ...more
T. Jefferson Parker is an accomplished author. Unfortunately, in my opinion, Iron River is not one of his better books. The two previous books in the Charlie Hood series were well written and entertaining. However, I do not feel the same can be said for this book.

Hood has been seconded to ATFE to work on the illegal gun trade with Mexico know as "the iron river." Early in the book an innocent individual is accidentally killed by an ATFE agent. Unfortunately, the dead person is the son of the lea
Jan 06, 2010 Jeffrey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Parker fans who like his ideosyncratic plots
Shelves: mystery, read-in-2010
I was a little disappointed by the latest book by Parker. This is the third book I think that focuses on Charlie Hood, the lawman introduced in LA Outlaws and also again portrays the rise to criminal mastermind of the young Bradley Jones, the son of the Alison Murreitta from LA Outlaws.

This time Hood has joined the ATF to stop gunrunners and Jones is hip deep in the gun running business and the smuggling business among others. Young Bradley is buying guns from Ron Pace, the scion of the Pace Gun
Tim Niland
Jan 14, 2010 Tim Niland rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-reads
Los Angeles Sheriff's Department deputy Charlie Hood is assigned to an ATF unit looking to stem the flow of illegally sold guns (the iron river) crossing the border into Mexico and spurring the drug cartels to spasms of violence. When one of the ATF officers is kidnapped, and Hood finds out that an acquaintance is involved in arms smuggling, things turn personal. This was the third novel starring Charlie Hood and for the first time the series is starting to show some wear. The main plot line abo ...more
Timothy Hallinan
May 07, 2010 Timothy Hallinan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Is that a great title, or what? This picks up the saga that Parker is apparently going to write about for a while longer, the story about cop Charlie hood and the woman he loved, a female descendant of Juaquin Murrieta whom he introduced in LA Outlaws and pursued through THE RENEGADES. She's dead now, and her son is the focus of Hood's concern. For good reason -- the kid is running guns to Mexican drug cartels.

As always, the writing is just completely transparent, a style so accomplished you're
May 03, 2012 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery lovers.
T. Jefferson Parker is one fine writer...Deputy Charlie Hood is back working with the ATF. On a dusty highway just north of the US/Mexico border, a man named Mike Finnegan is struck by a fast moving vehicle and flung into the dessert. That's why I read Parker...
Jun 12, 2017 Kary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book three good looking forward to 4. Lots of questions need answering in next installment
Dec 31, 2009 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mike Finnegan, a strange little man, is hit by a car and flung into the desert. He is found and winds up in the hospital with multiple injuries. He has many stories to tell and seems to have knowledge of happenings and events that occur while he is bedridden and seemingly would have no way of knowing about. This is just one of the many mysteries Charlie Hood faces In the Iron River.

Charlie, regularly with the LA Sheriff’s Department, is currently on temporary assignment to a Bureau of Alcohol, T
Let me say first that I'm a fan of T. Jefferson Parker and like all his books, some more than others. "Iron River" is in the "others" category. This is another Charlie Hood novel, and Charlie and his Blowdown team are working overtime to stem the flow and sale of guns between Mexico and the U.S. There are so many bad guys you need a score card to keep up, especially when some of them use different names, depending on with whom they're dealing. There is extreme violence, a high body count, plots, ...more
Joe Robles
Sep 22, 2011 Joe Robles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So glad I started reading T. Jefferson Parker! I think it's a bit of a misnomer to call this a Charlie Hood novel, this book is more about Bradley, and [spoiler] Bradley is the one who actually wins in the end. [/spoiler]

This book is again told in the same way as the others in this series, with the first person narrative being that of one of the main, I won't say villains, but antagonists. This is a story that really hits home for me, since I originally come from the Texas/Mexico border and stil
Kent McDaniel
Just finished Iron River, a crime story about the flow of guns into Mexico from the U.S. and the flow of drugs back across the border. The nominal protagonist is Charlie Hood an L.A. deputy on loan to ATF, but the viewpoint jumps around a lot between many characters, as Parker weaves various plot threads, which interact. The characters and setting are well-drawn, and for most of the novel the separate plot threads are nicely balanced (it actually felt jarring when one of the threads took exclusi ...more
Rachel Brady
Apr 24, 2010 Rachel Brady rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first T. Jefferson Parker novel and my introduction to his series character, Charlie Hood, an ATF agent who patrols the "iron river" where illegal guns move from the United States over the Mexican border to the drug cartels. Much of the story's backdrop was new to me, and I appreciated the unique setting and inherent element of danger in Hood's life and in those of his colleagues. What really set Iron River apart for me were its characters. The story is narrated partially from Hood's ...more
Rob Wood

I wanted to give this book three stars. However because I listened to the audio book I gave it the benefit of the doubt.

This is the first book that I have read from Parker. My understanding is that his protagonist Charlie Hood is in many of his books. I enjoyed the story line looking into the operations of the AFT keeping guns from being sold into Mexico.

Parker switches between 1st and 3rd person narration which I am not really a fan of. However I found it interesting that the 1st person wa
Suspense Magazine
“Iron River”, Parker’s latest action packed addition to his Charlie Hood series plunges readers into the dangerous world of illegal gunrunners, drug dealers and the Mexican Cartel. Without pause, Hood finds himself thrust into the action within hours of his arrival to the small border town of Buenavista and his new assignment with Operation Blowdown run by the ATFE. This life or death game intensifies when a young man—the son of the head of the Gulf Cartel—is accidently killed during an operatio ...more
Apr 11, 2010 Lois rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Liked the snapshot of gun-running along the Mexico-U.S. border. I didn't realize this was a continuation of a story (I missed a book in the sequence) that I'd felt ambiguous about. Many threads left dangling, which I didn't like because I have no intention of following this saga involving a family of outlaws, told from the point of view of a lawman.

Also the addition of a paranormal character, and a loosely linked sidekick, didn't do anything for the book.

The paranormal romance is firmly establ
Anne Meehan-Dunham
This took me a few chapters before I was hooked. I like the story and while I really enjoy a narrative told from a variety of view points, some of the chapters threw me. Charlie is always in third-person close and a new character is told through first person. I would expect that to be reversed. That threw me a bit as Charlie is more distant than a character that probably won't be showing up in future novels.
The story is interesting. The plot centers around the Mexico drug cartel and the need fo
Iron River refers to the river of iron or guns headed south to Mexico. It's particulary relevant given the flawed ATF Operation Fast and Furious in the news this past week. I'd read the other three books in this series, this being number three, I'd known some of the events in this book. A good but unbelievable read. Found it a little far fetched with Hood going into Mexico twice to get a fellow agent. The agent is kidnapped from the US because a drug kingpin's son is accidently killed in a shoot ...more
I find the way that Charlie and Bradly circle each other to be very interesting. It is like they are the same, yet different. Each of them can easily see themselves in the other's spot, if only they were wired just a bit different. I think that is why they seem to screw with each other. It is going to come to a head one day and it can only end badly.

For most of the book I wasn't too sure what to make of Finn and his place in the story. Part of me wants to buy what he was selling, but the other p
Deborah Gray
Jun 24, 2013 Deborah Gray rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
T. Jefferson Parker never disappoints and this strangely different mystery is no exception.

Charlie Hood, flawed, damaged loner is assigned to ATFs task force in the desolate and remote US/Mexico border town of Buenavista. Drug cartels operate on both sides of the border with seeming impunity, but things really heat up when the son of the head of one of the cartels is gunned down by an ATF agent, an innocent bystander in a shootout with gun runners.

Mike Finnegan, a badly injured victim of a hit
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T. Jefferson Parker is the bestselling author of 20 crime novels, including Edgar Award-winners Silent Joe and California Girl. Parker's next work is a literary novel, Full Measure, to be published in October. He lives with his family in Southern California
More about T. Jefferson Parker...

Other Books in the Series

Charlie Hood (6 books)
  • L.A. Outlaws (Charlie Hood, #1)
  • The Renegades (Charlie Hood, #2)
  • The Border Lords (Charlie Hood # 4)
  • The Jaguar (Charlie Hood, #5)
  • The Famous and the Dead (Charlie Hood, #6)

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