Room of White Fire
by T. Jefferson Parker introduces a new protagonist, private
investigator Roland Ford. In some ways it is a departure from
his usual writings in that this is more a conspiracy story
than a crime mystery. At the heart of the plot are the secrets
Roland is a former Marine, who fought in Fallujah, and a former
Sherriff Deputy. He is tall, strong, and a Patriot. Having
made a reputation on being able to find people, he is hired
to locate Air Force veteran Clay Hickman. The mental hospital
where Hickman was staying wants Roland to find him and bring
him back, because he is diagnosed with PTSD and schizophrenia.
In the course of trying to track Hickman down Roland finds
that he was being treated with electroshock and LSD therapy.
He wonders why the patient’s physician, the institution’s
Director, and the very wealthy psychologist who founded and
still owns the institution insist that Hickman be returned
to their care and not to the custody of his parents. To make
matters worse, Roland also discovers that he is being drawn
into something the government does not want to be made public;
something called “White Fire.” Roland now sees
it as his job to find out what is “White Fire”
and what are the connections to those in the highest levels
Parker has his hero a retired military figure “I feel
we owe all those who served a lot. America can be a better
place for our fighting men and women. The characters in the
book are a nod of respect for anyone who had a military background.
I hope readers like Roland and the story. He is very capable,
principled, and clever.”
Although this story was conspiratorial in nature, the next
novel is more of a traditional mystery where Roland must protect
an old friend from a death threat made against her. In the
course of the investigation he uncovers a terrorist plot against
the city of San Diego.
Since the Charlie Hood novels have ended, readers might want
to get to know this new character Roland Ford who will be
featured in a new series. This first book has cover-ups and
greed at its core.