T. Jefferson Parker returns with the follow up to L.A. Outlaws. This time out, L.A. County Deputy Charlie Hood patrols the high desert north of Los Angeles in a self-imposed exile. On a routine call to a Section 8 housing project, Hood's partner, Terry "Mr. Wonderful" Laws is shot point blank with a machine gun. Internal Affairs wants to know why. And they tap Hood to find out.
Meanwhile, a reservist for the Sheriff's Department, Coleman Draper, tells a young recruit the other side of the story: how he and Laws made seven grand a week running drug money to Baja for a cartel leader named Herredia.
Hood is a decent cop, a homicide detective wannabe who ends up in IA. Draper, however, is simply evil, and he knows it. He keeps two women and he frames Herredia's California lieutenant for skimming, then performs the execution himself. He even knows why Terry Laws was killed and Hood was left alive. What he doesn't expect is Hood being assigned to investigate the case or to trail him throughout Southern California.
Parker goes younger in this one. Hood and Draper are both just shy of 30, whereas his protagonists in Stormrunners and California Girl are a bit older, at least in the present day. While Parker drifts toward Lee Child territory with Herredia's almost god-like control of his cartel, The Renegades still carries much of the literary ambition of California Girls. It's a very satisfying mix of high-stakes action and serious crime fiction.