Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Book Review Club: L.A. Outlaws by T. Jefferson Parker

Suzanne Jones, a history teacher with three young sons, appears to lead a very normal, upstanding life. But as her alter ego, Allison Muretta, she pulls off a series of holdups, primarily at fast food restaurants dotting the Los Angeles landscape.

Tipped off to a cache of diamonds, Suzanne decides to upgrade her thieving habits and snags the gems following a gang-style massacre that leaves ten dead and merciless killer, Lupercio, hot on her trail. Charlie Hood, newly assigned to the Homicide division, begins investigating Suzanne suspecting she knows more than she’s letting on. Disarmed by her captivating charm, he eventually becomes romantically involved with the thief.

Suzanne is presented as a villain and heroine, in a gray area where she's a crook but donates to various charities. And something different for the writers out there, Parker uses first person in chapters from Suzanne's point of view and third person in chapters from other POVs.

The Washington Post said of OUTLAWS, "One of the most enticing heroines in recent American crime fiction," and I definitely agree. This novel is the first by T. Jefferson Parker that I've read but hardly the last.


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@Barrie Summy

21 comments:

Corey Wilde said...

I really enjoyed LA Outlaws. Allison was a terrific character.

Barrie said...

Wow! This sounds really interesting. I love books with both first and third POVs. And, did you know that T. Jefferson Parker lives close to me? Thanks for reviewing!

Randy Johnson said...

Changing points of view seem to be all the rage these days. I'm gradually getting used to them.
This I may need to try. The last Parker book I read was Where Serpents Lie. Creepy thriller. You might try that one if you like serial killer tales.

David Cranmer said...

Corey, She's really tailor movie made.

Barrie, Well heck, tell Jeff I said hello. And a big thanks for the invite today.

Randy, The POV switch is flawless and proves if something is done well there's no reason to stick to creative writing 101. I'm not a big aficionado of serial killer novels but I'm willing to bet I would enjoy SERPENTS.

Dave King said...

Not my usual thing, but congratulations, you've got me interested, I just might buy it.

Diane said...

I haven't read LA Outlaws but Renegades is Parker's finest of the three I have.

Hubby wanted to see Hannie Caulder and if you want I can drop it in the mail for you and little d.

Bee said...

You revealed just enough intriguing details (why fast food restaurants?) to make me really interested.

Reading through your comments on point-of-view, I think that changing it up can be really effective. Point-of-view underscores that every "story" is only that.

David Cranmer said...

Dave, Thanks for reading and just for the record you still got me thinking about fractals.

Diane, I just dropped a letter in your inbox.

Bee, You’re so right by saying it’s effective. Why more writers don’t use this approach I’m not sure except we have been told it’s not cricket for the longest time.

Sarah Laurence said...

Both the character and the POV style sound fun and original. How interesting. I’ve employed both the first person and the 3rd person but not in one book. I’d be curious to read this book just for that even though it is outside my usual taste in literature. Excellent review!

Linda McLaughlin said...

Allison/Suzanne sounds like a fascinating character. I'll have to give Parker a try, esp. since he's a local SoCal author. Like Randy, I'm still getting used to the mix of first and third person, though.

Charles Gramlich said...

Hum, sounds intersting. I've not heard much about this before.

David Cranmer said...

Sarah, I was turned onto this book by a friend who suggested OUTLAWS could be a helpful source for writing in this style. I'm currently working on a novel that could benefit from this approach.

Linda, I’m sure you will enjoy this one and I’m planning on starting at the beginning of Parker's career and working through his catalog.

Charles, Speaking of talented writers, I purchased Swords Of Talera before I take a gander at Return of the Raven.

bethyarnall said...

Wow, LA Outlaws sounds like just my cup of tea... sorry couldn't help it! Thanks for the great review, my TBR stack just got taller.

David Cranmer said...

bethyarnall, Ha! I must pay for that comment I left on your site! Hey, thanks for stopping by and I'm glad OUTLAWS made the TBR heap.

Alyssa Goodnight said...

You mentioned on my blog that romantic suspense wasn't really your genre, and then I hop over here, and you're reviewing what sounds like a book with both romance and suspense, and doing a great job of it too! ;)

You could probably give Mary Stewart a try--she's more suspense than romance--but I understand if you resist.

David Cranmer said...

Alyssa, Oh man I'm in trouble again! I left a similar comment on Beth's blog today. And I will not resist because based on your review I'm betting Mary Stewart has enough Agatha Christie (a favorite of mine) suspense and mystery to hold my interest.

Kathy Holmes said...

This does sound interesting and I agree with Barrie - love books with multiple POVs and alternating between 1st and 3rd really works!

Anonymous said...

You shoot from Jazz to sexy Raquel Welch to L.A. Outlaws. I love stopping by here for whats next. Bryn

David Cranmer said...

Kathy, I just popped over to your blog and I gotta say I love your refreshing motto! And if you enjoy alternating POVs, OUTLAWS is definitely for you.

Bryn, Gracias.

Jenn Jilks said...

Yes, changing view points - I find it unsettling, then began to appreciate getting another POV.

Glad you liked Dr. Bethune. We get hundreds of Chinese tourists to our wee region, just to go to the museum. They adore him! Helluva distance to travel, though, 2 hrs. north of Toronto (nearest airport!).

David Cranmer said...

I find history fascinating and would be one to travel great distances myself.