four-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
34-May-June-2008
user_rating: 
0

A-LA OutlawsSuzanne Jones, an eighth-grade teacher and mother of three, transforms into Allison Murrieta at night. At dark, the masked Allison, who claims to be a descendant of California bandit Joaquin Murrieta, clamors for media attention as she steals from the rich to give to the poor. Her outlaw life progresses smoothly until she witnesses the bloody aftermath of a half-million-dollar diamond heist from a criminal named Bull, which leaves 10 gangsters dead. When L.A. Deputy Charlie Hood stops Suzanne/Allison as a key witness, sparks fly. Shortly into their affair, however, Hood starts to suspect that Suzanne and Allison may be one and the same. Besides, Bull wants his goods back—and his sidekick Lupercio is soon on her trail.
Dutton. 372 pages. $25.95. ISBN: 0525950559

Los Angeles Times 4 of 5 Stars
"Parker writes with an understanding of the West’s essential character: In Outlaws, he casts Los Angeles as an eternally sprawling, brawling camp town, populated by bandits and bigots, the quick and the dead, where the poor who once rendered tallow now work the deep fryer at KFC. … His concise prose, at once low-key and lyrical, plays almost like cowboy poetry." Will Beall

Orlando Sentinel 4 of 5 Stars
"[A] novel filled with energy, adventure, corruption and suspense. … Parker, who is never sparing when it comes to violence, packs L.A. Outlaws with excitement and flashes of sexual tension as Hood becomes caught up in Suzanne’s life, fighting the urge to fall in love with her while suspecting that she might be the armed robber all L.A. is talking about." Ann Hellmuth

Seattle Times 4 of 5 Stars
"L.A. Outlaws may be my favorite of T. Jefferson Parker’s thrillers, and that’s saying something about this gifted writer. … The result—think of Elmore Leonard’s Out of Sight with a gender twist—is totally compulsive reading." Adam Woog

Wall Street Journal 4 of 5 Stars
"While Suzanne drives the action, Officer Hood is the novel’s moral center. … There is more to L.A. Outlaws than thrills." Tom Nolan

Washington Post 4 of 5 Stars
"[L.A. Outlaws] could be his breakthrough. All his skills are on display here: vivid writing, strong characters, clockwork plotting, agonizing suspense and, finally, an ending that manages to be just right." Patrick Anderson

Critical Summary

With his 15th novel (after California Girl 3.5 of 5 Stars Jan/Feb 2005, and The Fallen 3.5 of 5 Stars May/June 2006), critics agree that Edgar winner T. Jefferson Parker has written his best book yet. A noir thriller, L.A. Outlaws delighted critics with its fast-placed, suspenseful plot and compelling characters—a powerful heroine mirrored after Robin Hood, Zorro, and Joaquin Murrieta; a policeman haunted by his ethics and his Iraq tour of duty; and a killer scarred by his past in El Salvador. The plot is anything but hackneyed; the romance never dull. Not only a great choice for crime fans, L.A. Outlaws, with its deep, intelligent characterization, "is popular entertainment at its most delicious" (Washington Post).