Thursday, February 4, 2010

Review: Iron River Takes Readers to the Border and Beyond...

Iron River

By T. Jefferson Parker
ISBN: 9780525951490
373 Pages

T. Jefferson Parker's latest novel, Iron River: A Charlie Hood Novel is strangely fascinating. Although Charlie Hood is the main character, the strange character to whom I refer is Mike Finnegan...

The book opens with Finnegan being severely hurt in an automobile accident and Hood and others visit him throughout the book, trying to discover who he is and how he knows so much! He seeks a favor from Hood, to find and determine how his daughter is doing; and he then becomes indebted to Hood. Readers may feel that he plays a significant role in what is going on--perhaps he is a representative of the evil that taunts individuals with power and money, or perhaps he is just a well-read old man who has a "ear to the ground." No matter which, it was fascinating to me watch this somewhat minor character interact with Hood.

Charlie Hood is on loan to ATFE. Various groups in Mexico are in need of guns; Americans are providing them. In turn, drugs are provided to those in America who want them for sale or use. Both countries are at fault; neither country can control what is happening. Is a war the only answer? Parker's story brings us close to that when one of the Mexican groups first kidnaps one of the ATFE men, torturing him until a small group get him out. Then, while he is recuperating in the hospital located in the U.S., they swarm into the hospital, killing five and take him again.

Vengeance for the accidental death of the son of the major Mexican drug lord.

A reason for the U.S. President to consider the hospital invasion an attack of America. Already 15,000 individuals have died along the Iron River (border). How many more will die?

Both Mexico and the U.S. work to alleviate the threat of the latest problem and secure a trade for Jimmy Holdstock, the kidnap victim, and it almost fails...

But even while all of this is happening, a young man who has designed a beautiful but very dangerous gun is working diligently to fulfill the bargain to provide 1000 guns... and succeeds! Will it ever stop? Not if Mike Finnegan has anything to do with it, me thinks...

Will the issue Parker is highlighting do any good to decrease the drug/gun trade? I pray that it does. What Parker has done, for sure, is create a thrilling novel of one of the most horrendous issues faced by both the United States and Mexico! Iron River takes you into the middle of this powerful corruption. They win some; they also lose some! Highly recommended for those concerned and watching this situation "in real life."

G. A. Bixler

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