Bookreview: The Fallen by T. Jefferson Parker

Not to be confused with Thomas JeffersonI wearied of the adventures of Spenser, the hero of many many many many detective stories by Robert B. Parker, so I switched to another mystery adventure and another Parker. This one is named T. Jefferson [pictured in inset above] and the book I selected pretty much at random from the author’s large ouvre was The Fallen. The title refers to the protagonist who fell out of a window. I suppose it carries some psychological weight, too, since everyone in the book leads crumby lives — fallen creatures all, you see — but mostly the hero, whose name is Robbie, gets to be the Fallen because when he was a young cop some nutcase threw him out of a sixth floor hotel window.

Now Robbie is a homicide detective in San Diego. The fall onto the sidewalk from 72 feet didn’t hurt him much — he popped through an awning; it even gave him a minor super power. He can “see” people’s emotions. Aggression looks like little black ovals, deviousness like red squares, and so on. The imaginary shapes seem to bob around in the air when people talk to him. Robbie uses his “synesthetic” mental mix-up, along with more traditional detective techniques, to figure out who killed some guy. His wife, a hairstylist who once cut Mick Jagger’s hair, runs away to Las Vegas. He meets another synesthete (she hears faces as music) at a Synesthesia Society meeting and life goes on.

There were lots of names to remember, but I never much did get them straight. I kept forgetting who Arliss Buntz was and you sort of need to remember her. If you care about following the mystery part of the novel — not just about poor Robbie’s moping about his failed marriage — I recommend dog-earring pages or marking first appearances of characters with a highlighter.

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