Summary and book reviews of The Fallen by T Jefferson Parker

The Fallen

By T Jefferson Parker

The Fallen
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    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: Feb 2006,
    336 pages.
    Paperback: Jan 2007,
    400 pages.

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Book Summary

"My life was ordinary until three years ago when I was thrown out of a downtown hotel window. My name is Robbie Brownlaw, and I am a homicide detective for the city of San Diego. I am twenty-nine years old.

I now have synesthesia, a neurological condition where your senses get mixed up. Sometimes when people talk to me, I see their voices as colored shapes provoked by the emotions of the speakers, not by the words themselves. I have what amounts to a primitive lie detector. After three years, I don't pay a whole lot of attention to the colors and shapes of other people's feelings, unless they don't match up with their words."


When Garrett Asplundh's body is found under a San Diego bridge, Robbie Brownlaw and his partner, McKenzie Cortez, are 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 his death, which takes place on the eve of a reconciliation with his ex, looks like suicide, but the clues Brownlaw and Cortez find just don't add up. 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. Was Garrett's death an "execution" or a crime of passion, a personal vendetta or the final step in an elaborate cover-up? Amid rampant corruption and tightening city purse strings, whatever conclusion Brownlaw comes to, the city of San Diego -- and Brownlaw's life -- hangs in the balance.

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. Hailed by critics as "a powerhouse writer" (New York Times) and "a thinking man's bestseller" (Washington Post), T. Jefferson Parker delivers his most elegantly written, suspenseful, and moving novel yet.

PROLOGUE

When the sixth floor of Las Palmas Hotel caught fire Robbie Brownlaw was in the diner across the street about to have lunch.

It was a cool March afternoon in San Diego and Brownlaw's turkey burger had just arrived when he saw orange flames roiling behind the hotel windows. He took a bite of the sandwich and hustled outside just as the sixth story windows blew and an orange explosion knocked him back against the brick wall of the diner.

Robbie heard screams up there in the fire. He had never heard screams like these. Then he heard all the yelling as people spilled from the restaurants and offices, pointing up at Las Palmas while debris clattered to the asphalt—a splintered chair, a flaming lamp shade, a nightstand with the drawers hanging out.

Fire alarms shrieked competing warnings down the street. Brownlaw heard a guy screaming up on the sixth floor right through the ringing. Such fear. He looked up, still braced against the wall of the ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse

The week in which I read The Fallen I started three thrillers, but The Fallen was the only one that I finished. I felt like Goldilocks - one thriller was too macho, another was too gory - only The Fallen was just right, combining well drawn characters with a solidly told police procedural.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

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Media Reviews
The Washington Post - Patrick Anderson

[Parker] writes with intelligence, style and sensitivity, and belongs with people like Connelly and Pelecanos in the first rank of American crime novelists.

Library Journal

Parker's (Laguna Heat) 13th novel provides a nice blend of hard-boiled police procedures and an intimate look at the lives of the men and women behind the badges, although keeping up with the large cast of characters can be challenging.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Parker creates a world of fully realized characters coping with obsession and loss.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. Deftly plotted, gracefully written and, as usual with this savvy veteran (California Girl, etc.), it's the lead character you pay your money for. Robbie is another in Parker's growing gallery of wonderfully sympathetic heroes.

Booklist - Allison Block

Starred Review. His dialogue crackles and pops in an intricate and well-paced tale set in a city where shadowy characters lurk beneath sunny skies.

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Beyond the Book

The protagonist in Parker's 13th novel has synesthesia, a condition that is believed to effect about 1 in every 200 people with a bias towards left-handed women. Synesthesia comes from the two Greek words syn (together) and aisthesis (perception) - therefore synesthesia literally means "joined perception". A synesthete experiences one sense with another. For example, on hearing a particular piece of music he/she might taste a particular flavor.

The most common form of synesthesia appears to be when someone sees a letter, number or word as a particular color - for example a synesthete might see the word car as sky blue and the number 5 as light green. Almost any combination of the senses is possible - there are synesthetes who...

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