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<anon I1="BLANK" I2="BLANK">The Storm Runners LP Chapter One Stromsoe was in high school when he met the boy who would someday murder his wife and son. The boy's name was Mike Tavarez. Tavarez was shy and curly-haired and he stared as Stromsoe lay the mace on the cafeteria table. A mace is a stylized baton brandished by a drum major, which is what Matt Stromsoe had decided to become. Tavarez held his rented clarinet, which he hoped to play in the same marching band that Stromsoe hoped to lead, and which had prompted this conversation. "Sweet," said Tavarez. He had a dimple and fawn eyes. He could play all of the woodwinds, cornet and sax, and pretty much any percussion instrument. He had joined the marching band to meet girls. He was impressed by Stromsoe's bold decision to try out for drum major now, in only his freshman year. But this was 1980 in Southern California, where drum majoring had long ago slipped down the list of high school cool. A little crowd of students had stopped to look at the mace. It was not quite five feet long, black-handled, with a chrome chain winding down its length. At one end was an eagle ornament and at the other a black rubber tip. "How much did it cost?" asked Tavarez. "Ninety-nine dollars," said Stromsoe. "It's the All American model, the best one they had." "Waste of money," said a football player. "May I help you?" asked Stromsoe, regarding him with a level gaze. Though he was only a freshman and a drum major hopeful, Stromsoe was big at fourteen and there was something incontrovertible about him. He had expressive blue eyes and a chubby, rosy-cheeked face that looked as if he would soon outgrow it. "Whatever," said the football player. "Then move along." Tavarez looked from the athlete to the drum-major-in-making. The football player shrugged and shuffled off, a red-and-leather Santa Ana Saints varsity jacket over baggy sweatpants, and outsize athletic shoes with the laces gone. Tavarez thought the guy might take Stromsoe in a fight, but he had also seen Stromsoe's look—what the boys in Delhi F Troop called ojos de piedros —eyes of stone. Delhi F Troop turf included the Tavarez family's small stucco home on Flora Street, and though Tavarez avoided the gangs, he liked their solidarity and colorful language. Tavarez figured that the football player must have seen the look too. That Saturday Matt Stromsoe won the drum major tryouts. He was the only candidate. But his natural sense of rhythm was good and his summer months of solitary practice paid off. He had been accepted for summer clinics at the venerable Smith Walbridge Drum Major Camp in Illinois, but had not been able to come up with the money. His parents had thought it all would pass. On Friday, one day before Stromsoe won the job of drum major, Mike Tavarez nailed the third b-flat clarinet spot, easily outplaying the other chairs and doing his best to seem humble for the band instructor and other musicians. He played his pieces then spent most of the day quietly loitering around the music rooms, smiling at the female musicians but failing to catch an eye. He was slender and angelic but showed no force of personality. Stromsoe watched those Friday tryouts, noting the cool satisfaction on Tavarez's face as he played an animated version of "When the Saints Go Marching In." The song was a Santa Ana High School staple. By the time Stromsoe retired his mace four years later he had heard the song, blaring behind him as he led the march, well over five hundred times. He always liked the reckless joy of it. When his band was playing it aggressively it sounded like the whole happy melody was about to blow into chaos. Marching across the emerald grass of Santa Ana stadium on a warm fall night, his shako hat down low over his eyes and his eagle-headed All American mace flashing in the bright lights, Stromsoe had sometimes imagined the notes of the song bursting like fireworks into the night behind him. The song was running through his mind twenty-one years later when the bomb went off. The Storm Runners LP . Copyright © by T. Parker. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Storm Runners by T. Jefferson Parker All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.</anon>
Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
In Southern California, as San Diego weather lady Frankie Hatfield puts it, "Rain is life!" Rain is also raw power in the land of avocadoes and sod farms. When Hatfield stumbles upon a family secret that allows her to control the rain, that discovery brings her unfathomable power with potentially deadly consequences. P.I. Matt Stromsoe is battling with his own demons-his wife and child have been murdered, and he's seeking redemption-and he willingly accepts an assignment to protect Hatfield. The case takes him from fragrant orange groves in the San Diego hills to the cold cement of Pelican Bay State Prison. Parker's trademark is the ability to create real characters-tangible, flawed, and heroic-and Stromsoe follows the tradition. Parker's latest success (following The Fallen) is an absorbing thriller that continues to nudge him nearer to the top of the genre. Recommended for all fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/06.]-Ken Bolton, Cornell Univ. Lib., Ithaca, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Matt Stromsoe is a walking-wounded former cop whose wife and son were killed in a car explosion meant for him. His last chance for salvation is being bodyguard for beautiful TV weatherwoman Frankie Hatfield, who possesses a secret formula for making rain that a sociopathic exec at the L.A. Power & Water wants destroyed. The exec has enlisted the aid of the same vengeful gang leader responsible for the murder of Matt's family. Pretty melodramatic stuff. But just as Parker's storytelling skill transforms it into a credible, character-rich novel, Lane's clean, unruffled narration deepens the drama and sharpens its suspenseful edges. The author provides even the least of the participants with rich backstories that Lane smoothly delivers, often employing accents and attitudes that add a needed patina of realism to the scenes. The author and narrator stumble only on a few passages of "cute" dialogue between Matt and Frankie. But, happily, that is kept to a minimum. Simultaneous release with the Morrow hardcover (Reviews, Dec. 18). (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Most good crime novels have memorable bad guys, but in the works of two-time Edgar winner Parker, the hero's greatest enemy often resides within himself. That's the case with Parker's latest creation, Matt Stromsoe, a former San Diego police detective whose wife, Hallie, and son were killed by a bomb intended for him. Scarred inside and out, Matt must cope with survivor's guilt and the formidable task of rebuilding his life. His rehabilitation includes a job as bodyguard for beautiful television weather woman Frankie Hatfield, who is being stalked. (Frankie has taken up the research of her great-great grandfather Charles Hatfield, a real-life San Diego scientist who discovered the formula for making rain). The seemingly simple assignment ultimately leads Stromsoe back to old foes, namely former high-school friend Mike Tavarez, who attended Harvard, only to return to his native San Diego and become one of the most powerful members of the Mexican Mafia. The two men have been at war since Matt rescued Hallie from an abusive relationship with Mike. Of the young gangster, Parker writes: "He looked like an angel about to change sides." This is the fourteenth novel for Southern California native Parker, who again displays an uncanny ability to render a swift plot, pitch-perfect dialogue, and deeply troubled characters who are impossible to forget. AllisonBlock.
Kirkus Book Review
Friendship betrayed, love lost and found and, of course, murder, in Parker's superbly wrought tenth (following The Fallen, 2006, etc.). Plus one of those wonderful opening sentences that can stand the hair up on the back of the neck: "Stromsoe was in high school when he met the boy who would someday murder his wife and son." The boy's name is Michael Tavarez--smart, talented, handsome and profoundly amoral, though that facet of his character is late-blooming. On the day they meet, they are both innocent, relatively uncomplicated freshmen--young Stromsoe eager to be the drum major of the Santa Ana High marching band, young Tavarez a would-be clarinetist. The two are drawn to each other. And then there's Hallie, the pretty, vibrant, restless girl. Maybe it's she who's the primary cause of the hostility that grows between them, but probably not. Probably, it was there from the beginning, a combustible waiting to be set off. But they follow separate paths--Stromsoe into the San Diego Sheriff's Department, where he becomes a clever, effective deputy; Tavarez into the Mexican Mafia, of which he becomes a powerful and ruthless chieftain. They keep careful track of each other, however, and as the years pass, what was once friendship transmogrifies into the kind of implacable enmity that must always be, in a certain sense, defining. Tavarez's lover is killed during a manhunt spearheaded by Stromsoe, who accepts the blame for that unintended consequence. When Tavarez extracts a brutal revenge, Stromsoe wants an eye for an eye. And so it goes between them--death the only conceivable separator. Parker shares with F. Scott Fitzgerald the viewpoint that "character is action," which is what makes this author's fiction so intensely readable. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.