Monday, February 01, 2016

Good Police Gone Bad, Gone Good Again: THE SQUANDERED, David Putman

The third in the Bruno Johnson series from California author David Putnam, THE SQUANDERED, takes a dark view of how law enforcement and prison systems can turn lives upside down in all the wrong ways -- but for Bruno Johnson, on the run from the justice system where he used to work, the old connections still matter. Most importantly, his dad -- terminally ill -- needs him to go back to California and help his estranged brother's grandchildren ... kids Bruno didn't realize existed. His beloved Marie, now his wife, won't let him take his chances alone as a wanted fugitive slipping back into the old neighborhood. And thank goodness, Marie's not the only one who insists on helping: Bruno's former colleagues step forward one more time to help him dodge not just an arrest warrant, but drug dealers and government agents (and some of those are hard to tell apart).

I couldn't put this page turner down. Looks like I wasn't alone in that: The book has blurbs from Michael Connelly, C. J. Box, and T. Jefferson Parker, among others. I loved Connelly's comment about the preceding Putnam title, The Disposables: "Its a gritty street poem recited by a voice unalterably committed to redemption and doing the right thing."

Here's a taste of THE SQUANDERED, as Marie calls in some help before she and Bruno face entering a state prison, risking everything:
"Ah, Marie, I told you not to call him."

"Stop it right now, Mr. Bruno Johnson. He's your friend, and it's ridiculous that you're afraid to see him, let alone talk to the poor man. You owe him a lot, more than you can every repay him. Not after what he's done for us."

"I know, don't you think I don't know? I'm ashamed of what happened-- "

"Ashamed? Thre's no reason at all for being ashamed ... If you stayed, you would have been in prison. He knows that. He knew the rules of the game before he asked to play."
Marie pulls the best out of Bruno, and makes him live up to all of it.

This is a cop tale turned inside out, with the good guys labeled more by what they're willing to sacrifice than by who they're working for. It is indeed gritty and raw in places -- but it's also a ripping good read. Thanks, David Putnam and Oceanview Publishing. And if, like me, you're new to this author, check out his website here: "During his law enforcement career, “Deputy Dave” Putnam worked primarily in California on teams for Patrol, Investigations, SWAT, Narcotics (street level and majors), Violent Crimes, Criminal Intelligence, Internal Affairs and the Detective Bureau." Writing is Putnam's retirement gig. Here's to more of the Bruno Johnson series.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks, Beth, glad you liked it. The next one, The Vanquished, will be our next year.