When Garrett Asplundh's body is found under a San Diego bridge, Robbie Brownlaw is called on to the case. After the tragic death of his child and the dissolution of his marriage, Garrett—regarded as an honest, straight-arrow officer—left the SDPD to become an ethics investigator, looking into the activities of his former colleagues. At first Asplundh's death, which takes place on the eve of a reconciliation with his ex, looks like suicide, but the clues Brownlaw finds just don't add up. Amid rampant corruption and tightening city purse strings, and with pressure mounting from the police and the city's politicians, Brownlaw fights to find the truth, all the while trying to hold on to his own crumbling marriage.
A carefully woven novel of suspense, The Fallen brings to life a superb cast of characters against the all-too-real backdrop of a city fighting for its survival.
At the dramatic start of Parker's excellent 13th novel (after 2004's California Girl), San Diego homicide detective Robbie Brownlaw suffers a head trauma that causes his senses to get mixed up. The sounds of conversations, for example, are accompanied by colored shapes that reflect the speakers' emotions. But the confusion turns into an asset, as it helps Brownlaw recognize when suspects and witnesses are lying to him-and he encounters lots of falsehoods when he begins investigating the case of Garrett Asplundh, shot dead while waiting for a meeting with his estranged wife. As an investigator for the San Diego Ethics Authority Enforcement Unit, Asplundh had uncovered a widespread corruption scandal-and unleashed plenty of enemies, including city officials, a financier and a purveyor of high-priced call girls. The suspense is palpable as Brownlaw and his partner, McKenzie Cortez, work to identify Asplundh's killer, but the novel probes deeper mysteries, such as the victim's tragic life and Brownlaw's disintegrating marriage. With his trademark psychological acuity and empathy, Parker creates a world of fully realized characters coping with obsession and loss. The winner of two Edgars for best novel, Parker could well earn a third with this compelling effort. 6-city author tour. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.