The Jaguar by T. Jefferson Parker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I've read all of Parker's books and did not expect to like this one, but thought I'd give it a try, being a fan. It was a thrill ride with three parallel stories. Erin McKenna, wife of full-time Orange County Sheriff, and part-time outlaw, Bradley Jones, is kidnapped by Benjamin Armenta of the Gulf Cartel. She is taken to his castle in Mexico and Jones has ten days to deliver a million dollars and stop helping Armenta's opponent in the drug and gun smuggling business. Jones just happens to have the money on hand, and enlists the aid of straight-arrow Charlie Hood to help him in his search for Erin. Charlie takes two fellow officers on his quest, Bradley goes his own way, and Erin is kept a prisoner in luxurious circumstances, as the clock ticks away. The book moves among the three separate stories as Erin grows increasingly frightened, and Hood and Jones each experience numerous challenges through hurricanes, crocodiles, and physical attacks. There are many side characters who figure in the events, including the return of Mike Finnegan, a strange, somewhat supernatural character, who seems to turn up everywhere and know everything. The ending was expected, but the door was left open for a sixth book in the Charlie Hood/Bradley Jones saga. Has any reader noted that Parker seems to be channeling Hemingway in his writing style? Instead of using commas to connect thought, he uses and, and, and. Also, the dialogue format was interesting. Some was enclosed in quotes, other dialogue was set off by dashes. Still, if you like Parker, you should like this one.
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