Reviewed in the United States on February 19, 2020
T. Jefferson Parker’s THE LAST GOOD GUY was a bit disappointing. Part of that is I read two excellent novels (“The Beekeeper of Aleppo” and “One of Us Has to Go”) before reading it, and The Last Good Guy doesn’t measure up to them.
Another and bigger problem is the characters for the most part were two-dimensional, well-trodden stereotypes. We need a hero. How about a former marine who became a police officer and left that after he testified against his partner to become a private investigator. Hmm. Needs more - How about he pines after his wife who died four years earlier in a plane accident? Go with it. Now the bad guys - a rich white racist guy who wants to get rid of Blacks, Hispanics and Muslims, and sponsors a terrorist group to carry it out. Oh, and a charismatic preacher who is a little too slick and who helps fund the organization. Some other bad guys had names but were functionally interchangeable. And there are some law enforcement and journalist types around to help when needed.
I had to focus on something to keep me reading. I picked Liar Liar Who is the Liar. That was between two characters: The hero’s client, who shall we say has played loose with some important facts early on (like . . . oops better not say), and the aforementioned slick preacher. They told conflicting stories about their relationship; and I read to see which one was telling the truth and which one was lying.
Despite what I’ve said so far, it’s not a bad book. On the positive side, the book is easy to read. T. Jefferson Parker writes clearly and the plot is easy to follow. If you don’t mind two-dimensional characters and more importantly if you like-and I quote the cover–“the classical hard-boiled detective story out of its mythic past and into our contemporary landscape,” The Last Good Guy can let you escape your worldly concerns for a few hours. But after my reading two very good books before it, it suffered in comparison.
Three stars (I note many reviewers give it 4 and 5 stars)