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The Border Lords by T. Jefferson Parker
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Jun 13, 2011

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bookshelves: crime
Read in June, 2011

The Border Lords is the fourth book in a series of novels, by Parker, that looks at the relationship between Mexico and the United States through the circumstances of drugs, guns, & money - throughout history - with the same cast of characters, specifically an odd family of outlaws of mixed racial origins, and a law enforcement officer named Charlie Hood. Hood is a not very charismatic, straight-arrow LA sheriff’s deputy working for the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, & Firearms. [If I were a woman … I would much prefer the other Parker’s (Robert B.) hero, Spenser, as someone I’d like to hang with. Hood is really, really, boring and not very deep. The constructed & contrasting personalities of the two heroes (Hood & Spencer), however, fit their job descriptions - as Hood is law enforcement and Spenser is a private detective.] There is a third recurring character in T. Parker’s series – a mysterious, supernatural sometimes priest, who is at least 180 years old but presents himself as 52 years old. To fully grasp this book, it’s a good idea to read the three previous ones, where the characters are more fully sketched out. The writing here is not elegant or beautiful, or particularly image producing, but it is adequate. It’s good enough. The characters aren’t very engaging nor realistic, either. So why bother? Well, it’s interesting on four levels. There are historical implications about the relationship between Mexico and the U.S. and drugs, guns, & money. And in this novel Parker explores the rabies virus and its relationship in myths and superstition. Then there is the dichotomy of superstition and science, expounded on by a young boy with a pet monkey in Costa Rica (Too cute?) who resolves the apparent contradiction. (Wow!) And finally, there is the whole supernatural twist of the mysterious priest-like guy. Throw in some sex and violence and, voilà – an entertaining, informative, thought-provoking beach read.

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