Lesa's Reviews > Swift Vengeance

Swift Vengeance by T. Jefferson Parker
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really liked it
bookshelves: private-investigators, thriller

I thought T. Jefferson Parker's second novel featuring PI Roland Ford was terrific. Swift Vengeance is a fast-paced story that is all too plausible. This was my first one of Parker's books, so I can't compare them to earlier ones. I found the characters well-developed, a little quirky, and fascinating. It was a page turner.

Ford first met Lindsey Rakes in a casino when the drone operator for the Air Force was a heavy drinker and gambler, trying to escape her day job. Two and a half years later, when she turns to him for help, she's trying to get her life back together again. She lost custody of her son due to her lifestyle, and now she's desperate to regain her ex-husband's trust and share custody. But, that won't happen if she turns a threatening note over to the FBI. Rakes has received a note signed "Caliphornia" that threatens her with death by decapitation. She's a little worried that a man she once dated is behind the threats. Ford offers her one of the casitas on his property that he rents to a small group of friends and family, "the Irregulars". He keeps one for emergencies, and Lindsey's threats from a stalker seems like an emergency.

Even before the first death, Ford contacts an acquaintance, FBI agent Joan Taucher, who is based in San Diego. Taucher was a new agent stationed in San Diego when the 9/11 terrorists were connected to that city. Now, the tough woman spends her time trying to catch other terrorists before they can attack. But, even on the day Lindsey Rakes reaches out to her former crew, it's too late. One of the men she worked with has been gruesomely killed in his own home. Lindsey, Roland Ford, and Taucher all trace Caliphornia's threats back to the crew's remote targeting and killing of terrorists.

Roland Ford had been coasting after his wife's tragic death a couple years earlier. His most recent case involved a lost cat. Now, he has a purpose, a reason to get involved in an important case. He says, "I'd felt needed. Needed to protect. To prevent. To vanquish. Nothing better than being necessary....I'd been called again, and was soon to be deployed. My crusade. Roland Ford, paladin."

There's that white knight riding in to save the day, a common trope in detective novels from Chandler to Robert B. Parker's Spenser. In this case, "Roland" was a military figure, one of Charlemagne's paladins. It's a perfect name for the good man who stands up for threats against people and the country.

Swift Vengeance is a riveting story. Looking for a gripping book? Try this one.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
August 26, 2018 – Shelved
August 26, 2018 – Shelved as: private-investigators
August 26, 2018 – Shelved as: thriller
August 26, 2018 – Finished Reading

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